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Amalia Hernandez’s iconic and beautiful imagery is perfect for the Google era

Folk Ballet of Mexico Amalia Hernández
EPA/Leonardo Munoz
Amalia Hernández’s revolutionary moves.
  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Google users searching the web Tuesday (Sept. 19) will come across a festive doodle honoring Mexican choreographer Amalia Hernández.

Hernández, who would have been 100 today, is an icon in Mexico. As the director of Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet, which she founded in 1952, she extolled and celebrated her country’s culture in her dances for decades. She mostly worked in the pre-web era—she died in 2000—but the imagery she created, as Google’s doodle demonstrates, shines online.

Here are some of the elements in Hernández’s life’s work that still make it resonate on stage and elsewhere:

Master aggregator

Hernández scoured Mexico’s towns for popular dances and cobbled them into performances fit for the world’s most important stages.

EPA/Leonardo Munoz
The Dance of the Deer, based on traditional rituals of Sonora’s Yaquis and Mayos, is one of the Folkloric Ballet’s most famous choreographies.

Skillful communicator

She used elements from the more universal languages of classical and contemporary dance (link in Spanish) to make Mexico’s traditional forms more easily understandable to broader audiences.

EPA/Sashenka Gutierrez
Dancers at the ballet Hernández founded are trained in classical and modern dance.

She distilled Mexicans’ tendency for the baroque into crisp, iconic forms that look great in a darkened theatre, and as stylized doodles.

EPA/Sashenka Gutierrez
Costumes are a key element in the ballet’s performances.

Mexican symbols

Hernández’s ballet helped construct a version of Mexican identity around bright colors that appealed to both Mexicans and foreigners.

EPA/Christian Escobar Mora
The stories of Mexico, danced.

Hernández’s vision of Mexico is idealized, and not immune to accusations of cultural appropriation. But as design, it’s proved to be timeless.

Read more:  A Marshall McLuhan expert annotates the Google Doodle honoring the internet visionary

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