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Valley dance teacher bounces back after COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 15:39:22-04

PHOENIX — Maria Leon is back in her element. She was a teacher in the Valley for decades.

On this night, she’s back in front of the class but the lessons aren't coming from a book.

“Okay, you guys ready to start your warmups?” she yells to a room of a few kids at a home near the Arcadia neighborhood in Phoenix.

‘Miss Maria’ is what they call her. She’s been dancing Ballet Folklorico since the 1970s.

Last year when we spoke with her the pandemic had forced everyone home.

ABC15's Allison Rodriguez caught up with her and the smallest members of the Primavera Folklorico dance group to see them back in action.

Miss Maria says, “After about eight months of not dancing, we decided to at least meet in the park.” And that worked until the brutal summer heat forced them indoors.

Leon has been teaching for generations, not just dance but also the history of Mexico through dance.And that's important to parents like Lisette Flores whose daughter is a dancer. “I'm glad she has the opportunity to explore the entire parts of the country through dance,” Flores comments.

They have had to make some adjustments Flores acknowledged, “Locations have changed, they have to wear masks, because we want to make sure that everyone's protected.”

Their only performance this year was at the Desert Botanical Garden.

With ‘Miss Maria’ by their side, they hope more are still ahead.