Ballet Folklorico de Durango

Ballet Folklorico de Durango dancers near clocktower

Ballet Folklorico De Durango at Clocktower

A K-20 cultural arts dance program

Ballet Folklorico de Durango is a cultural arts program promoting Hispanic culture and welcoming students of all ages and backgrounds to learn and perform traditional Mexican Folklore dances.

El Centro de Muchos Colores Hispano Resource Center provides the dance space and offers free classes for FLC students. Opportunities for mentorship and leadership include travel and attendance at a professional Folklorico dance conference.

Request a performance Support us

Join Us!

The Ballet Folklorico de Durango program welcomes students ages 5 and up to join in weekly dance practices and occasional performances. Any student or community member can join regardless of ethnicity, language, or dance abilities.

Ballet Folklorico de Durango dancers at amphitheaterWe operate on the same schedule as FLC, with two semesters per academic year.

The first begins in August with performances for Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

The second semester begins in January, with performances for Cinco de Mayo.

Practice is held at El Centro every Tuesday from 5:30-6:30pm for beginners, and Thursday from 5:30-7:30pm for more advanced dancers.

Register to join


Who can participate?

Anyone! Ballet Folklorico de Durango serves students ages 5 and up with two tracks for participants based on age and ability. The youth track is for primarily ages 5-17 with the FLC/adult ages 18 & above.

Where do we practice?

We practice at Fort Lewis College’s El Centro de Muchos Colores Latinx Resource Center located on the ground floor of the student union. Take 8th Street up the windy hill to campus, drive through the light, turn left into first parking lot with metered lots. You do not have to pay for meters after 5 p.m. or on weekends.

When do we practice?

Practice is held at El Centro every Tuesday from 5:30-6:30pm for beginners, and Thursday from 5:30-7:30pm for more advanced dancers.

Additional practices for special performances are optional.

How much does it cost?

Classes are free for FLC students/staff/faculty. Youth track students pay the dance class tuition of $60 per 10-week session.

We provide all items necessary with shoes being optional to purchase and financial assistance available if needed.

Community/Adult members are asked to provide a suggested donation of $60 per term for professional dance instruction, or assist with fundraising and performances as needed for sustainability.

Is there financial Assistance?

Yes, based on need and availability and on a first-come, first-served basis, and you just need to check the box on the registration form for a scholarship.

Do dancers have to perform?

No, not all students are required or expected to perform. If you do want to perform, you are required to attend regular practices and the practice before the performance date for choreographic needs. Students not planning on performing will be encouraged to observe the choreography at practice.

Do we have to buy our own costumes?

No. All costumes, including dresses, men’s wear, hairpieces, shawls, and some shoes are the property of Ballet Folklorico de Durango dance group which is coordinated by FLC’s El Centro and the Durango Education Center.

All items will be stored, cleaned and will the inventory will be verified each semester by El Centro costumes are not allowed to be kept in private homes.

Dancers always have the option to purchase their own dresses, hair pieces, shoes, and accessories if desired.

Can students dance in both youth and adult tracks?

Yes, any student in the youth track who is age 15 or older can also practice with the College/Adult dance group with instructor permission.

DANCE INSTRUCTOR: Melisa Smith (she/her/ella)

Melisa Smith (she/her/ella)Melisa Smith is local to Durango, graduating from Durango High School in 2007 and Fort Lewis College in 2012. She lives and works in Durango, applying her Bachelor’s degrees in International Business and Spanish.

She has been involved with Ballet Folklorico from a young age, getting her start under DLEC-later Del Alma and studying under instructor Jennifer Cossey.

Melisa brought the dance group to Fort Lewis College in 2007, flourishing under the leadership of her younger sister, Kathy Smith, and instructor Jennifer Cossey.

Melisa’s teaching style is hands-on; she believes it is necessary to know the background and culture of the dances while maintaining a high level of fun.

"Dance shouldn’t feel like just any other class. It should lift the spirits and be enjoyable not only for the audience but for the dancers as well. I believe that when the dancers are having fun, it shows!"

OUR FOUNDING INSTRUCTOR 2008-2014: Jennifer Cossey (she/her/ella)

Jennifer Cossey (she/her/ella)Starting at age four, Jennifer Cossey began learning Mexican Folklorico dance. She now has more than 15 years of experience as a dance instructor and choreographer, and has been teaching Durango students the art of Mexican Folkloric dance since 2004.

Originally from Houston, TX, Jennifer moved to Durango in October 2003. Being so far from home at first was difficult because she missed family and friends, but she started teaching Ballet Folklorico de Durango the next year, and has been actively involved in the Latino community since then.

"The dance group, along with El Centro Hispano Center, has introduced me to some really amazing people and most importantly has given me strong ties within the Hispanic community here in Durango, feels like family. In 2005, I started attending Fort Lewis College. Being a new mom, a wife, and student was at times very challenging, but very rewarding".

Graduating with a degree in Communications in December 2008, Jennifer worked in Durango before joining the FLC radio station as KDUR Office manager, and is now the Office coordinator of the President Office at FLC, having these great opportunities to give students another way to see Mexico and the rich culture that it offers.

Sharing her experience for Mexican Folkloric dance is what she does best as she helps others explore Mexican folkloric dance and its heritage through lectures, music, dance demonstrations and lessons.