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José Luis Ovalle González was born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas Mexico on September 23, 1959 and came to Chicago in 1973. He graduated from Harrison High School and took his first dance classes at 14 years of age as part of an extra-curricular program with Ms. Balbina Solano, an experienced dancer of the legendary Ballet Folklórico Azteca directed by the late Federico Rodríguez. José received his formal dance education at the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango (UJED) under the direction of Mr. Santos Salas Mata. José was awarded a scholarship in 1976 and another in 1977 to Mexico city's School of Folk Dance at the National Institue of Fine Arts. With the support of other grants and scholarships, he took classes with Rafael Zamarripa, Miguel Vélez and Daniel Andrade as well as in the "Escuela Superior de Danza" in Chihuahua, Mexico. In Chicago, José took ballet at Boitsov Classical Ballet; modern dance at the DanceSpace; and Spanish dance with Ensemble Español's Dame Libby Komaiko and her prestigious guest dance instructors. José began to teach dance in 1978 with the Ballet Folklórico of the Mexican Cultural Center.

Matiana Medrano Jiménez was born in Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, Mexico on May 14, 1960 and moved to Chicago in 1970. She returned to Mexico to complete her education. In Matehuala she studied dance with Manuel Hernandez and Jose (Pepe) Fuentes at the Institute of Fine Arts' school of dance in San Luis Potosí. Matie returned to Chicago in 1979, taught at the Ballet Folklórico of San Roman's youth group and later joined Ballet Folklórico Alma de Mexico where José Luis taught. Matie has taken numerous dance workshops in Mexico and the United States, which have allowed a considerable expansion of the company's repertoire. Since 1987 Matie has directed the second company and in 1993, she was the proud recipient of the Viva Latina Award granted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.




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