Elaina Hernandez

Body

“It’s a weird fit, to kinda feel that feeling of being Mexican-American because you want to be proud of being American, but also be proud of being Mexican. Especially when you’re second, third generation, you’ve lost a lot of the closeness, you’ve lost the language, you’ve lost some of the traditions that belong to the culture-- and there are so many traditions. So being part of a group let’s them feel that connection, but not feel awkward or weird because they’re with other kids who are just like them-- who they haven’t been to Mexico, they don’t speak Spanish either, but then they’re also with kids whose parents are from Mexico and they’re first generation. And so, they’re getting to experience that all together so that they can feel normal, they don’t have to feel like they don’t really fit in. They’re part of a community when they’re here.” (Excerpt transcribed by the artist from the Traditions video)

Elaina Hernandez has performed Mexican folkloric dance for over 30 years. She started dancing at the age of six and was inspired by a Mexican folkloric dance group. She founded El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico ("The Heart of Mexico") in 1996. Since then, she has shared traditional Mexican dancing with people throughout Ohio. An inspirational teacher, Hernandez teaches young dancers about the diversity of performance art in Mexico. Every Mexican state (31 total) has its own dance style and attire, so Hernandez takes care to perform with traditional music, costume, and dance. With her mother, Christine, Hernandez constructs many of the costumes worn by her dance group. Since dances are passed down from one director to the next, Hernandez believes that changes to traditional forms contain their own story. She sees herself as a storyteller, telling new tales with every alteration to dress and dance. Through her dance lessons, Hernandez shares these traditional dances with new generations, keeping people in touch with their Mexican heritage while showing the value of this tradition.

El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico, Hernandez's dance company.

Elaina Hernandez's Traditions episode.

Contents of the Collection

  • Newspaper clippings related to the dance group Folklorico Estampes des Mexico
  • Photos of Hernandez and other dancers in traditional costume