"It gives students a chance to see another side of a culture," dance instructor Chrissy Padilla said. "Dancing is a universal culture."
Padilla started the group as a community service project 11 years ago and began teaching dance to students who expressed interest in learning Mexico's traditional dances. Padilla collaborates with her mother and teacher specialist Chris Burt. Burt is the coordinator of the dance group.
"You typically think of Ballet Folklorico as a Hispanic group, but we have [students] from all cultures," Burt said.
Catherine Jimenez wore a cotton dress and held a bowl of flowers as a prop for her dance routine.
"I like dancing because it gives you exercise," the 8-year-old said.
Catherine was getting ready to join her classmates in dancing the "Bolonchon," the regional dance of Veracruz in Mexico.
Although she's only been dancing a few months, Brianna Jenks, 6, has learned the basic steps of a traditional Mexican dance.
"The costumes are really pretty," Brianna said.
Encouraging students to partake in the performing arts is just one of the challenges Padilla and Burt face. Since funding for the purchase of dresses is limited, not all the students get dresses to wear during the group's performances.
"My group has become smaller because we don't have the funding for dresses," Burt said. "I can only have certain girls performing; we are not able to get outfits for every single student."
The dresses cost about $350, Burt said.
But despite their limitations with dresses and costumes, students continue to rehearse their dances as they prepare to participate in an upcoming event for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.