Hilda Torres’ passion for Mexican folklore dances grew from a childhood dream, nurtured by her grandparents.
“They instilled in me the love of that genre — the mariachi, the kind of old Mexico, the classical music that I just fell in love with,” Torres said.
Today, she nurtures the dream in children, teaching the dance and the culture of the Ballet Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana of Texas City.
“It’s bringing together the community, bringing that part of a genre, the Ballet Folklorico to an area, to people who wouldn’t have it otherwise,” said Torres, a Texas City High School counselor.
She is known for her work with high school students, counseling them on careers and helping coordinate tutoring.
The Galveston County Daily News has named Torres a 2013 Everyday Hero for her work helping found the Mexican folklore dance troupe and helping high school students. She joins others selected from across the county who were recently honored at a reception.
Torres and her husband, Gilbert, moved to Texas City in 1977. He practices law there; they have two children and eight grandchildren.
She has been involved in many areas of the community, mostly focused on children. Then, 11 years ago, she started to pursue a childhood dream, forming a Mexican folklore dance troupe. Working through the College of the Mainland, Torres coordinated a continuing education class that would evolve into a nonprofit group, the Ballet Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana of Texas City.
Students start the class at age 6 and continue into their teens. They perform at different events, particularly the Cinco de Mayo celebration.
“People, especially the parents, come up and say, ‘Oh, my goodness, my child can do this, can dance so well and entertain this crowd,’” Torres said. “It’s all good.”
But she teaches more than cadence and steps.
“This is an example to my children that things happen because you make them happen,” she said.
“You persevere; you share what you believe in and you’ll get rewarded — maybe it’s just knowing that you are doing something for somebody else.”