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Latin Ballet: This isn't your abuela's ballet.


One of the new things we are doing through the Latin Ballet of Virginia website is providing resources and knowledge of Latin American and Spanish traditions/customs/cultures. It is important as ambassadors of dance and culture to not only show you dance, but also to teach others where it all comes from and who we are as a community. As we progress through 2017, Latin Ballet of Virginia will showcase our dancers, our heritage, our students, our interests, and our community through dance and as a way for you all to get to know us a little better. We embrace the opportunity to share stories about who we are and educate others on where we come from. 

A New Start with an Old Friend

by: Jo Ann Breaux

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street...

That song was embedded in my little brain for my entire childhood. I hadn't revisited Sesame Street until a child came into my life. I remembered all the characters including the actual people on the show---Maria, Luis, Mr. Gordon, and Mr. Hooper. I also recall watching it every day in the lunch room in Kindergarten and it was on the day Heather Hayes decided to slap me across my 5 year old face. Shocked and confused, I just kept watching the Count and went about my business. At that time I had Sesame Street, Electric Company, 321 Contact and Zoom to keep me company when my parents were at work. 

The wonderful thing about Sesame Street was not only was it teaching me pre-school skills, but it was teaching me about culture and language without me even knowing it. Growing up in a partially Latin family, it was comforting to hear these characters I grew to love, speaking and teaching the language of my heritage. I learned many Spanish words watching Sesame Street and the way the format was created, I effectively learned it. I grew up in a tri-lingual home, where I was not taught uno, deux, or any of the three languages my parents could speak. That's anotehr story for another time, which brings me to today.

Recently, I've been teaching Spanish vocabulary to my boyfriend's daughter. She is absorbing the language quite well at 3 years old and loves to ask me in Spanish, "Jo Ann, yo quiero jugo de manzana, por favor!" I was actually surprised at how well she asked for apple juice, but I'm more surprised she does it without thinking now. This weekend, I was playing some games on PBS Kids with my her and I mistakenly hit "Videos" while playing a Sesame Street game and was brought to an amazing discovery...Sesame Street is still teaching Spanish and it's also teaching the culture of Latin America and Spain. I'm sure this isn't news to all of you who have children, but for me, who hadn't watched the show since I was a little one, it was fantastic to see!

Sure, we have Dora, Manny, and Elena now, but Sesame Street has been around for ages and to me has been such a huge foundation in implementing not only a bi-lingual education, but a preservation of Latin and Spanish culture through educational television and now the internet. What's prize-winning about Sesame Street after all these years is that it holds the attention of children, and let's face it, kids are hard to keep focused. Not unlike, Latin Ballet, Sesame Street also caters to diversity, children's self-esteem and competency, as well as teaching them how to deal with real-life situations. I also have to say, it's still appealing to watch as an adult!

So, this is just a big shout out to PBS for staying consistent over all these years and really implementing different cultural experiences to children through language and education and because it so closely relates to what LBV strives to achieve. So, MUY BUENA, Sesame Street!

Here's what I'm referring to:

Source: PBS and You Tube

And for those of you who want a little blast from the past...

After 44 years on Sesame Street, veteran, Sonia Manzano's character, Maria was one of my favorites!

Hey you guys!!! Rita Moreno and her famous shout for Electric Company

From the second season, the opening credits of "The Bloodhound Gang" which were a series of short mysteries that aired as part of "3-2-1 Contact" on PBS.