Born on Sept. 19, 1917, Hernandez’s early passion for dance ultimately led her to establish the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. She first joined the Fine Arts National Institute as a choreographer and taught modern dance. But her focus would shift to traditional Mexican folk dances.
By combining folk dances with the choreographed movements she acquired from her formal training, Hernandez created a new dance style, the baile folklorico.
Since its inception in 1952, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico has been seen by more than 22 million people and still performs to this day. It has more than 300 members, significantly more than the eight it began with.
The dance troupe gained prominence after it first performed on TV in 1954, leading to a weekly broadcast. The successes that followed included Hernandez’s group representing Mexico in the 1959 Pan American Games.
Hernandez remained deeply involved in the dance company all her life, until her death in 2000 at age 83.