Founder and Director of El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil
Maestra Susana Quintanilla is classically trained in Mexican folkloric dance who began her study at the Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. She has studied under such accomplished as Amalia Hernández (Ballet Folklórico de México), Rafael Zamarripa (Universidad de Colima), Francisco Bravo (Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes), Graciela Tapia (in Los Angeles), Luz María Gallego (in Pánuco, Veracruz) and Miguel Vélez (Universidad de Veracruz).
Over the course of her carreer, Maestra Quintanilla has organized and produced the Midwest Folkloric Dance Workshops (Flint, Lansing, and Holland, MI), Folkloric Dance Seminars for EBFE students (Mexico, D.F and San Juan del Río, Querétaro) and the Huapango Dance Workshop (Houston, TX). She has brought about youth performances with Mono Blanco, Sones de México, Los Folkloristas, Zazhil, Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández and Mariachi Guadalajara. She has danced competitively in Concurso de Huapango, San Joaquín (Querétaro) and International Folkloric Dance Competition (Chicago) where EBFE was awarded the only group to placeing, placing second in the competition.
Maestra Quintanilla and the dancers she has trained have performed in concert with such internationally reknown as Angeles Ochoa, Linda Rondstadt, Lola Beltrán, Lucero, Guadalupe Pineda, Lila Downs, Pepe Aguilar, Pablo Montero, Pedro Fernández, Vikki Carr, Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlán, Mariachi Cobre and Mariachi Los Camperos.
In effort to preserve the Hispanic culture within her community, Maestra Quintanilla has seen that EBFE has received continuous funding. She has helped the organization receive grant funding from Ruth Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Flint, Bank One, Citizens Bank, Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Dept of Education Teacher and the Texas Humanities Council.
Always seeking cultural preservation and continuous improvement, Maestra Quintanilla’s teaching focus for EBFE is to develop dancers as instructors with professional performance experience and academic knowledge in culture and literacy as well as to effectively empower all students with pride in themselves and respect for all ethnic groups.