Folklorico group blazes trail from Tucson to London Olympics
Ballet Folklorico La Paloma's heel tapping dances united the world while giving hope to future generations
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You wouldn't know it by watching the Olympics that a ballet folklorico group from Tucson performed their heel tapping dances in front of thousands of people from all over the world. 9 On Your Side introduced you to ballet La Paloma, or white dove, just before they left for London. Thanks to your donations, one dancer says through folklorico she was able to break down barriers, unite the world and give hope to future generations.
Sylvia Lopez has been dancing folklorico for more than 40-years. Now, you can call her an Olympian performer.
"It was just the greatest adventure," said Lopez. "A trip of a lifetime."
Olympic officials, who saw the group perform at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, invited the group to perform throughout London in front of the world's spectators.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez asked: "What do you hope tucson gains from your experience?"
"That you're able to take a dream that you want to do and be able to see it through," said Lopez.
Achieving that dream has done more than just expose her Mexican-American culture, it's also changed the way she views the rest of the world.
"They're the nicest people and very helpful," said Lopez. "They have Indian, they have Muslim."
And now her Olympic experience has blazed a path for other kids, born and raised in little downtown Tucson, to also dream big.
"It's something that I won't forget," said Lopez. "It's something that I am able to show my grandkids and ensure that if there's a will there's a way and hopefully that they'll be able to go one day to the Olympics."
Nuñez asked: "As a native-Tucsonan what do you think you left the rest of the world there in London?"
"Different cultures have so much to give the entire world that it's out there to be seen and to practice and to learn," said Lopez.
La Paloma is listed as a non-profit organization. The dance group hopes Olympic officials will invite them to perform at the 2016 games that'll be held in Brazil.