Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.
As a child, Amalia Hernández saw a pair of dancers in the town square. The way they stomped and swayed to the rhythm of the beat inspired her. She knew one day she would become a dancer.
Amalia studied ballet and modern dance under the direction of skilled teachers who had performed in world-renowned dance companies. But she never forgot the folk dance she had seen years earlier. She began traveling through the Mexican countryside, witnessing the dances of many regions, and she used her knowledge of ballet and modern dance to adapt the traditional dances to the stage. She founded her own dance company, a group that became known as el Ballet Folklórico de México.
Using his signature illustration style, inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández and the formation of the Folkloric Ballet, one of the most famous and successful dance companies in the world.
About the Author
Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator whose numerous accolades include the Sibert Medal and the Pura Belpré Award. Duncan is both Mexican and American. His artwork is inspired by Mesoamerican art. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but are relevant to today’s people, especially children. He grew up in and currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he celebrates Día de Muertos with his wife and children every year. Learn more at duncantonatiuh.com.
"Tonatiuh tells Hernández's story with careful attention to detail and with obvious admiration for the subject... His digitized, hand-drawn illustrations are striking. They showcase, in his signature style based on Mixtec art, the beauty and grace of many different dance styles."
"This beautifully designed, large-format picture book is a showcase for Tonatiuh’s distinctive illustrations, drawings with digital collage elements that add colors, patterns, and textures to strong, well-delineated forms."
"Tonatiuh’s Mixtec-inspired illustrations capture the movement and vibrancy of El Ballet Folklórico and pay homage to the artistic vision of one of the world’s most beloved dancers."
— School Library Journal
"Employing his his customary brand of Mixtec-inspired collage, Tonatiuh makes expert use of photographic bits of lace, cloth, and hair to bring warmth to the dancers, who dip and turn on each spread."
— Publishers Weekly
"The book does an excellent job of chronicling Hernández’s work as cultural explorer and celebrator of both pre-Columbian past and Mexican present...Tonatiuh’s signature stylized figures in side view and flattened perspective are surprisingly well suited to dancing."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Tonatiuh’s recognizable illustration style, inspired by Mixtec art and with well-chosen photo-collage elements on costumes and accessories, is particularly resonant with a subject whose own desire was to preserve and celebrate Mexican arts and culture. A beautiful look at one of Mexico’s most cherished institutions."
— The Horn Book
"Danza! is a beautifully illustrated picture book celebration of Hernandez's life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. Danza! will enthrall and inspire young readers . . ."
— Midwest Book Review
"Tonatiuh’s signature Mixtec-inspired illustrations depict graceful, energetic, and colorful folklórico performances, representing traditions of celebration and community."
— International Literacy Association