Roanoke dance teacher shows young girls the importance of Hispanic heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– In Pachuca, Mexico, Marina Trejo grew up with the knowledge of “cultura,” or culture. The biggest part of growing up in the capital of the Mexican state of Hidalgo was knowing that when it comes to dancing, you have no choice but to learn how to do it.

“Back in Mexico, every single state is represented with a traditional dance,” said Trejo. “Every state needs to be represented with that traditional dance, so in school, we are to learn that traditional dance.”

Growing up, Trejo says she had a hard life, saying both parents were absent for a part of that life. She migrated to the United States at the age of 12, eventually ending up in Roanoke.

Years later, when COVID-19 hit the height of the pandemic, Trejo decided to start a small workout class to teach people cultural dances.

“Even though I left my country when I was little, for me, being able to share what I already know, it is a way for me to keep my roots together,” Trejo explained.

One of her dance classmates, Cassandra Taylor, has been taking classes with Trejo for months and says Trejo’s energy has her coming back for more.

“Marina is such a great instructor,” Taylor said. “The passion she has for dance comes through in every class.”

Trejo holds her classes in a small local gym on Centre Avenue in Roanoke so people young and old can dance to Latin music. She typically stands in the front of her class, but because of her energy, she moves around giving her clients the energy to make it through a full hour of Zumba.

However, this super mom continues to grow stronger because she is doing what she loves, including choreographing traditional quinceañera dances for the Roanoke community.

“Me being able to combine my dance skills, choreographing, and continuing a dance tradition that has been out for years and years. It’s more than a tradition, it’s my passion,” said Trejo.

So much of Trejo’s passion is being translated to her daughter because, according to Trejo, she wants to give her daughter the experience she never had.

“What I teach my daughter is ‘look, you are about to be 15. Some of those things that should go with the quinceañera tradition is learning your values, learning how to respect yourself, learning how to be a strong independent woman or young woman. Basically, try to prepare yourself for the life out there,'” said Trejo.

Trejo says she is the only quinceañera choreographer in the Roanoke community and wants to make sure that she brings her Mexican tradition to many young Hispanic girls.

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