Rosemarie Olais Pantoja is a Fresno native who first began to learn Folklorico through a City of Fresno Parks and Recreation class offered to the public. That class awakened a love for Folklorico that now manifests in her thirty-seven years practicing this cultural and traditional art. At the end of that first class, try-outs were held for a local performing children’s group, Marisela’s Dancers & Marimba taught by Marisela Saavedra. Not only was it a performing folklorico group, but members were also taught to play the marimba. Two years later, Maestra Rosemarie became a founding member of the Ballet Folklorico y Marimba de Fresno. In that group, she credits Ron Cavasos as the person who taught her how to teach Folklorico to beginning dancers, to break down steps so that more children could participate and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
As a teenager, she participated in the group Folklorico Musical, and for the next five years, stepped in as Dance Instructor. At age 19, she joined El Sol Dance Company under the direction of Irene Gonzales. After being a performing member, as well as one of the teachers of El Sol Jr. Dance Company during the 25 years that she was an active member of El Sol, Maestra Olais helped create the first folklorico dance class at McLane High School and became the first folklorico dance teacher from 1995-1999. She is currently the instructor of Los Guerreros de Fresno High School who will be participating in the workshops and performances at DUF 2016.
At DUF 2016
Maestra Rosemarie will be teaching Folklorico 101 for 9th-12th grade students.
“This class can potentially help students to break down steps that they might be struggling with in their personal performing groups or high school groups. Also teachers of beginning level adults may find this class helpful in their quest to teach and reach as many potential students for their groups as they can. It is my personal opinion that dancing is for everyone and that they can learn to keep up with more advanced and accomplished dancers and dance groups through a little extra time dedicated to helping them understand the parts of steps and how they can used or applied to various regions and music.”–Rosemarie Olais Pantoja