Baile folklórico, literally “folkloric dance” in Spanish, also known as ballet folklórico, is a collective term for traditional Mexican in dances that emphasize local folk culture with ballet characteristics – pointed toes, exaggerated movements, highly choreographed. As mentioned below, baile folklórico owes its inception to Amalia Hernández Navarro. Baile folklórico differs from Danzas and regional Bailes. “Folk dances”, that is, “dances that you will find in the villages, not on stage” were researched and disseminated by Alura Angeles de Flores. A good rule of thumb is if the woman raises her hands about her head (thus showing her legs), it is folklórico. Each region in Mexico, the Southwestern United States and Central American countries is known for a handful of locally characteristic dances.
Amalia Hernandez pioneered baile Folklorico in the 1950s with her establishment and leadership of the Ballet Folklorico Mexico. Additionally, she founded a school in Mexico City for the study and practice of classical and folkloric dance techniques.
Prior to its rise in popularity among student and community groups, Bailes folklóricos were (and currently are) performed as a part of large parties or community events. The mariachi musicians generally stand in a line at the back of the performance space and perform without written musical notation, while the dancers perform in couples in front of the mariachis. Nowadays there are both private and public Folklorico groups that get together and compete, for example, the USA Ballet Folklorico Nationals.