From an after-school activity stemming out of her ESL classroom in South Medford High School, Victoria Snow Mountain developed an enduring and successful multicultural performance group. I met Snow at El Tapatio Restaurant here in Ashland. As we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast with her three delightful granddaughters, Snow described the evolution of her remarkable dance troupe, Ballet Folklórico.
EH: How does participating in Ballet Folklórico affect the character of its performers?
VSM: We’ve always seen that performing makes people feel poised and proud of themselves and have more self-assurance. Our vision is a community where the kids are poised and confident. Our mission is to empower kids to dance, and to feel comfortable with their cultural heritage, whatever their cultural heritage may be. We are preserving some of the cultural traditions of Mexico in particular, in the costumes and performances that we do. The majority of our dancers are Latino kids, yet our group is open to all people. Many of our dancers aren’t Latino. We are preserving and transmitting the traditional cultural values of respect, responsibility, and collaboration that are found not only in the Latino culture. Most cultures have that same basis, so it’s for everybody.