Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México. Published in time for the 100th anniversary of Hernández’s birth, Danza! is the first picture book about the famous dancer and choreographer.Danza! is a celebration of Hernández’s life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As/>Danza!...

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Title:Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México
Author:Duncan Tonatiuh
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México Reviews

  • Laura Harrison

    Stunning. Duncan Tonatiuh is so uniquely creative. Great story, fantastic illustrations. Is it award worthy? You bet it is.

  • Edward Sullivan

    A wonderfully written and illustrated admiring picture book biography with great attention to detail.

  • Donalyn

    Gorgeous book that celebrates Amalia Hernandez, the genius who founded El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Don't miss the back matter.

  • Jimmy

    I’m not usually inclined to read children’s books, but I read this one because it won the Américas Award this year for children’s literature. It is a beautiful, simple telling of the story of Amalia Hernández and her dedication to the folkloric dance traditions of México and her creation of the Ballet Folklórico de México.

    Tonatiuh writes and illustrates his own books, and his artistic style is perhaps the most beautiful I’ve seen in a while. He intentionally creates two-dimensional characters w

    I’m not usually inclined to read children’s books, but I read this one because it won the Américas Award this year for children’s literature. It is a beautiful, simple telling of the story of Amalia Hernández and her dedication to the folkloric dance traditions of México and her creation of the Ballet Folklórico de México.

    Tonatiuh writes and illustrates his own books, and his artistic style is perhaps the most beautiful I’ve seen in a while. He intentionally creates two-dimensional characters with features and characteristics that are reminiscent of and draw from pre-Columbian indigenous pictorial and glyphic traditions.

    I had the pleasure to hear Tonatiuh speak about his work and his background. He has a kindness and humility about him that is powerfully magnetic and which enhances the beauty of his art. He also speaks of his own personal experiences as someone with cross-national sympathies, and it shows in his work. The story takes only 10 minutes to read, but one could spend hours and hours just looking at his illustrations. There is also a helpful glossary, index, author’s note, and bibliography at the end of the book for those less familiar with Mexican history and cultural traditions. If you have young ones in your house who are curious about world cultures, dance, and graphic illustration, this is a fantastic and highly recommended selection for your next book purchase.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    Who doesn't love a book by Duncan Tonatiuh? I just love the way he draws people's faces. In this book he recounts the life of Amalia Hernandez, a dancer who studied ballet and modern dance before discovering traditional folklore danzas. She incorporated them into the ballet and modern dances she choreographed to form new dances and folkloric ballets. She also borrowed the traditional costumes worn by the traditional dancers to make her danzas more authentic. In 1952 she founded the Ballet Folklo

    Who doesn't love a book by Duncan Tonatiuh? I just love the way he draws people's faces. In this book he recounts the life of Amalia Hernandez, a dancer who studied ballet and modern dance before discovering traditional folklore danzas. She incorporated them into the ballet and modern dances she choreographed to form new dances and folkloric ballets. She also borrowed the traditional costumes worn by the traditional dancers to make her danzas more authentic. In 1952 she founded the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, which is still performing today. I would absolutely love to see some of these danzas!

    An author's note at the back of the book provides more information about Hernandez, as well as a glossary and list of books and other sources to consult. This picture book even has an index. Even if you're not particularly into dance, this is a book to read if not for the interesting biography, but also for the gorgeous illustrations. Recommended!

  • Stephanie

    Danza! Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a biography about the life of Mexican dancer Amalia Hernandez. This book tells the story of Amalia, Ami’s, life and how she was first inspired to start dancing when she was on vacation in Mexico and saw dancers dancing in the town square. After that she decided she was going to become a dancer and began studying ballet and then modern dance. Ami became a dance teacher and a choreographer and created ballets based on the folkloric danc

    Danza! Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a biography about the life of Mexican dancer Amalia Hernandez. This book tells the story of Amalia, Ami’s, life and how she was first inspired to start dancing when she was on vacation in Mexico and saw dancers dancing in the town square. After that she decided she was going to become a dancer and began studying ballet and then modern dance. Ami became a dance teacher and a choreographer and created ballets based on the folkloric dances from the different regions of Mexico. Ami’s dance company performed folkloric ballet around the world and although she passed away in 2000 her dance company continues to perform.

    This book is an Orbis Pictus Award recommended book. I listened to this book as an audiobook through Hoopla. The audiobook was narrated by Adriana Sananes. The audiobook features music in the background to go with what Ami is dancing to in the book. I did not find that the audiobook added much to the text, however students may enjoy listening to the book. If the audiobook is used, the book should be used in addition so that students are able to see Duncan Tonatiuh’s beautiful illustrations. There is some vocabulary in this book that may be unfamiliar to students because it makes cultural references to Mexico as well as referencing specific dances. Duncan Tonatiuh supports the reader by explaining the new vocabulary in the text, using pictures as support, as well as adding a glossary to the back to define the important terms. There is an author’s note in the back that tells more about Amalia’s life as well as some of the hardships that she faced in her journey.

    This book would be appropriate for students in grades 3-5. This book would be good to use if students were reading or writing biographies. Danza! showcases the life and accomplishments of a person that students may not be familiar with. It would be important for students to read the author’s notes in the end of the book to understand that Amalia’s life was not always easy and that she faced challenges in her journey.

  • Jessica Santana

    This picture book biography provides detailed information about the upbringing of Amalia Hernandez and her ties to the Ballet Folklorico dance culture. Amalia, who grew up thinking she was going to be teacher, was inspired by dancers in her town square one day and knew that someday she would be a dancer too. She began studying about different types of dance and even traveled throughout Mexico, learning about regional dances. She eventually founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklorico de M

    This picture book biography provides detailed information about the upbringing of Amalia Hernandez and her ties to the Ballet Folklorico dance culture. Amalia, who grew up thinking she was going to be teacher, was inspired by dancers in her town square one day and knew that someday she would be a dancer too. She began studying about different types of dance and even traveled throughout Mexico, learning about regional dances. She eventually founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, where she integrated her knowledge of ballet with folkloric dances. Her company became an international sensation that still performs today. The author does a great job at celebrating the life and success of Amalia Hernandez. The Mexican culture is woven into the book through the illustrations and some Spanish words that are used in the story. I liked how the author incorporated a glossary at the end of the book, defining the Spanish words that were used. This would be a great book to have in a classroom library because it offers great insight and history on a common tradition within the Mexican/Hispanic culture. This would be especially useful in a classroom with Hispanic ELLs, because their culture is being welcomed into the classroom literature.

  • Barbara

    I knew absolutely nothing about Amalia Hernandez, who founded El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, before reading this book. As a young girl, Ami had become fascinated with dance and studied ballet. She trained hard, and eventually became a choreographer fascinated with modern and traditional dance forms. After traveling the country and making note of traditional dances and costumes, she created her own dance performances and hired her own performers. Eventually, the dancers traveled across the globe

    I knew absolutely nothing about Amalia Hernandez, who founded El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, before reading this book. As a young girl, Ami had become fascinated with dance and studied ballet. She trained hard, and eventually became a choreographer fascinated with modern and traditional dance forms. After traveling the country and making note of traditional dances and costumes, she created her own dance performances and hired her own performers. Eventually, the dancers traveled across the globe, and Ami started her own dance school. Even after her death in 2000, her troupe continues to perform and has done so for more than five decades. The text and illustrations, hand drawn and then digitally collaged, capture the flavor of Mexico and these unique dances, instilling a strong sense of cultural pride and awareness, just as the dances themselves did. Readers will want to check out the back matter, which includes an Author's Note, a Glossary, an Index, and a Bibliography, all useful for learning even more about this fascinating woman. Arguably, without her focus on the folk dances of Mexico, many of them might have been lost. This is a culturally-rich book, ideal for sharing with young audiences.

  • Kathryn

    I was looking forward to

    given all the buzz about it and my own personal love of dance. I have even seen the Ballet Folklorico perform in person (they were wonderful, of course!) However, I was underwhelmed by the book. I felt it lacked pizazz. It didn't really give me a feel for Amalia's personality. I also wondered about her family background and how she was able to get the famous dancers as instructors at such a young age. I'm sorry to say

    I was looking forward to

    given all the buzz about it and my own personal love of dance. I have even seen the Ballet Folklorico perform in person (they were wonderful, of course!) However, I was underwhelmed by the book. I felt it lacked pizazz. It didn't really give me a feel for Amalia's personality. I also wondered about her family background and how she was able to get the famous dancers as instructors at such a young age. I'm sorry to say that the illustrations frustrated me. I appreciate that they meant to convey a sense of culture but for me, personally, they were so stylized that it was hard to see dance form or technique very clearly. I would also have liked to see more detail in some of the illustrations--for example, the text mentions that Amalia ensured there were "spectacular backdrops" yet all we see is some rather dull greeny-brown background. I also must argue with Tonatiuh's definition of choreographer, which he says is "a person who creates dance steps and arranges them together to create new dance pieces." In most cases, choreographers do not "create" new steps. They use existing steps to create new dances. Certainly choreographers may lend their own personal style to existing steps, and in certain forms of dance, such as modern dance, they may create new dance steps. But, in many forms of dance (tap, jazz, ballet, ballroom) choreographers draw from an existing set of steps and use them to create an overall dance that is new. Just as authors use existing words to create new stories. So, overall, this was just not a winner for me.

  • Cheryl

    This bored me. There's probably nothing wrong with it, and it's likely to be popular in libraries trying to 'diversify,' but I didn't find it engaging, nor do I personally care for the pictures or feel educated or enriched by them. I tried. Sorry.

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