ballet folklorico de colores


If you've been around this blog enough to see my personal work, you know that being in tune with your heritage and culture is a big part of my life. It is an intangible heirloom of sorts, a legacy, that I learned from my grandparents, Humberto + Sara Flores, parents, and my tías and tíos. While it has morphed into our family's own sort of awesome Mexican American micro-culture centered around Corpus Christi, Texas, I'm always up to experiencing it wherever I can find it.

Early this year, my mom started a traditional Mexican dance group with at-risk Hispanic youth in Goldsboro, Ballet Folklorico De Colores. These awesome kids, aged from preschool to high school, get the opportunity to embrace their heritage like my mom and I did. She passes along the lessons from her parents about being proud of who you are + where you came from, about having confidence about your abilities, and being able to tell the story of your people to others through dance. In Goldsboro, the Hispanic population has boomed, so it's great to see what I know as "everyday life" in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and other parts of South Texas and the Southwest, making its way to North Carolina. De Colores is installing the confidence in these kids and allowing them to realize that they are strong, Hispanic youth with bright futures.

How do you connect with your culture when you're not actively living it?


Hearts for Dance

_blogphotoLast summer, my awesome sister-in-law held her 2nd Hearts for Dance workshop. This dance camp invited disadvantaged hispanic girls from around Wayne County to come and finally learn how to be a ballerina. These girls are the most grateful and excited dancers ever. They sleep in their tutus, they've mastered the perfect ballet bun, and dance truly encompasses their hearts. As Tess and her crew at Dance for Christ live by, let us "praise His name through dance!" (Psalm 149:3). [vimeo w=500&h=281]

I took this on as a personal project after graduation. And a year later, due to (thankfully!) getting a job & a crazy first-year of marriage (loved it!), I finally have it finished! Personal projects are something that feeds your soul, and this project definitely brought me back to my photojournalism roots. I've dabbled quite a bit in fine art photography & design this past year, but it's good to know that my lovely professors pounded photojournalism, multimedia, and all the ethics to boot into my noggin! I'm so blessed to have been given a great education & even more blessed to get to use it on a daily basis at my job and as my stress reliever!

Finishing this project has been amazing. I find video to be a challenge, a puzzle, if you must. The tedious editing, the countless command+z's, and the final product are so very rewarding. I suppose it's because it's not as instant as digital photography, despite the fact that it's digital video. It's something you must work for and something you will cherish, more like film photography when you do it all yourself in the darkroom. It has to have an idea that is deeply conceived, than overly brainstormed, then creatively shot, then painstakingly edited & lastly, eagerly awaited to be uploaded to the internet. What a world we live in these days. This project has taught me to breathe. To take time for myself, and to remember my roots. It's something that I'm going to work more towards this year, becoming an all-around healthier person. I'm going to take the time to edit those old photos on my hard drive, I'm going to search for some new story to work on, and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it because it's something I love to do! If you have thoughts on personal projects, or would like to continue the personal project conversation, leave me a comment & we'll talk!

tess is graduating!

lvallen_tessSR_3 HOLY COW! You know you're old when you lovely little sister (still weird to say that!) is graduating high school & becoming a Tar Heel! I definitely cannot be more proud of her accomplishments. She is a strong, confident, & beautiful young lady who has the whole world in her fingertips right now. She is a talented dancer, a brainiac, and an aunt to the most spoiled dog in the world. Congrats for just being awesome, Tess!