Folklorico Dance Shoes - Mexican Dancing goes back to the days when the Mayans and Aztecs performed ritual and religious dances that were designed to entertain and appease the gods. Today, traditional Mexican dancing is performed by folkloricos ("folk dance" in Spanish), the dancers paying homage to the history of Mexico and its people.
But it wasn’t until 1952 that a choreographer, trained in Classical Ballet, named Amalia Hernandez, brought the beauty and history of the dance to center stage when she founded the first school dedicated to the art in Mexico City. The popularity of Baile Folklorico soon danced its way into the United States where it helped spread pride in Mexican culture. How could you not fall in love with the colorful twirling dresses and rhythmic baile?
One person who was inspired by the gorgeous art form was Gonzalo Duran. In 1967 Duran opened his custom dance shoe business. He knew that a dancer’s shoes were as important as their feet. He was passionate about making the best shoe possible and lived by his motto “Your performance is our priority”
When he was first asked if he knew how to make Folklorico dance shoes, his immediate response was “of course!” After work, he would go to his garage and start designing, cutting, and arranging leather pieces on his Singer sewing machines. Then came the heels. Gonzalo knew how important the “sonido” or sound was to dancers. It had to be perfect. He began by mounting extra nails by hand across the soles of the shoes in tight rows. Word spread quickly through the Boyle Heights neighborhood and the dance community about these high quality shoes. To this day, Duran Custom Dance Shoes employees still nail shoes by hand. In fact, it takes one hour and twenty minutes to nail just one shoe, so we ask your patience with delivery time, but it’s worth the wait when you hear the “sonido.” Customers who come to pick up their shoes have been known to break into a spontaneous dance. Come try a pair. We’re sure they’ll make you do a happy zapateado !