Keeping tradition alive: Meet the Glenwood Dancers

Hispanic Heritage Month

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Glenwood Dancers are back again for yet another great year.

For anyone who has not been lucky enough to catch a performance by the Glenwood Dancers, this is a special group of elementary school students at Glenwood Elementary School that celebrates Hispanic Heritage and tradition.

Typically, the Glenwood Dancers have a total of 40-50 dancers that range from 2nd to 5th grade. The group has a volunteer dance teacher, Benicia Ramirez.

This special group has been around for generations. Assistant Principal at Glenwood Elementary School, Alicia Gurney, said “We have about 80% Hispanic students here. So we do celebrate our culture here. We have a lot of parents that attended school here, and we have a lot of grandparents that attended school here. So now the grandkids are attending school here, and maybe perhaps even the parents were dancers at one time.” She continued to say that this just shows the tradition of being a Glenwood Dancer.

The group performs multiple styles of dance, including folkloric dancing. “There’s different types of dances. Our dance teacher is from Mexico, so she’s the one that I think used to be a dancer at one time. So she’s just bringing the same dances, as she did at one time, over here to our school.”

The Glenwood Dancers have numerous performance every year. Gurney shared that in the past, that has included performances at “Westgate Mall, several nursing homes, AISD Education Support Center, WTAMU – Half -Time basketball games, Bivens Elementary, Region 16 on Cleveland Street, Civic Center (Soccer games), Dia de los Muertos Fun Run at Wonderland sponsored by BSA, Wesley Community Center, and Leadership Day at Glenwood.” Additionally, a couple of years ago the dancers were invited to perform at a Texas Tech half-time basketball game, but the group declined. However, they were still honored to receive the invitation.

Due to COVID-19, the school did not have dancers.

Every year, the school hosts auditions for the dance group. Gurney shared that one year, they had about 125 kids come out to audition, which is about 1/4 of the school.

Our team was able to speak with two of the Glenwood Dancers about what made them want to join the group. “I chose it, because in 3rd grade, I got to dance with my friends and I didn’t get to do that last year. So I wanted to do it this year,” said Ryan Collum. As for Raul Cardoza, his reasoning included, “My favorite part is we get to hang out and do something that’s part of our culture.”

Additionally, the elementary school is also celebrating the milestone of 100 years. “And once again, of course, the tradition continues,” said Gurney.

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