Teacher Presents Culture Through Dance


Spanish I teacher Sibul Rodriguez (second from left) and some other members of La Raíces pose for a picture after a presentation. The group was started last May by Rodriguez and her friend.

Andrew Velarde and Marlee Sorrells

She sets her alarm reluctantly as she settles down after a two hour dance practice at her friend’s house. Her feet ache. She wants to call in sick, but she reminds herself of the discipline the women around her have and how they’re doing the same thing she is, just not exactly as she does.

Spanish I teacher Sibul Rodriguez and her dance group, Raíces, perform at various events. They will be performing different styles of folklórico dances from different parts of Mexico.

“Mexico has 32 states and every state has their own original type of dance,” Rodriguez said. “Right now we are dancing music from Veracruz, from Chihuahua, from Jalisco, from Sinaloa, and we are trying to master in the other styles.”

Last May, Rodriguez mentioned to her friend Sonia Gonzales how she would enjoy it if Tyler had a folklórico dance group that she could join. Later, Gonzales helped make that a reality for her by teaching her how to dance, and they started Raíces from her home. The group practices dances from all over Mexico.

“I have always been interested in dance,” Rodriguez said. “When I was in high school I tried it, but my mother could not take me to the lessons and could not pay for them because they were kind of expensive. I had to wait until I became an adult.”

Rodriguez has also had to find a way to balance work and dance. 

“Sometimes I’m tired, and I don’t want to go and dance,” Rodriguez said. “If I know that I’m going to be practicing two hours straight, I know I need to go and sleep early. Every time that I don’t want to practice, I remember that my team is made up of mothers who work and take care of their families. If they can make the time, I can.”

With hard work and dedication, Rodriguez works on her presentations with her dance group. Even though she only started dancing when she became an adult, she’s able to keep up with the rest of her team.

“I believe that everybody can dance these kinds of dances,” Rodriguez said. “You don’t have to be Mexican. You don’t have to be Latino or Hispanic. If you are interested in doing it, go ahead. You don’t have to be in a specific nationality to dance a type of dance.”