|Laura Ortiz with son Frank, in ‘Arpas de America Festival’, Arlington, VA, September 2009.
Executive and Artistic Director
In early 1997, Ortiz’s love and desire to preserve Mexico’s culturally rich traditions brought forth the founding of Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble, Northern Virginia’s premiere folkloric performing dance company—based in Arlington, Virginia. Ms. Ortiz serves as the Executive & Artistic Director of Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble.
Laura Ortiz was born in the state of Zacatecas and raised in the Capital of Mexico, Mexico City. She studied and danced Mexican Folklore and Spanish Flamenco since childhood. In 1973, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she became an active participant of her High School Ballet, “Roosevelt-High Ballet Folklórico.” In 1975, she joined the most prestigious folklorico company in the United States, “Ballet Folklórico Mexicapan,” founded and directed by Benjamín Hernández, a pioneer of Mexican Folklore in Southern CA. She toured extensively throughout Mexico, the United States, and Puerto Rico as a member of several professional ensembles, like Ballet Folklórico Mexicapan, CA; East Los Folklóricos, CA; International Folk Ballet, NY; MM Dance Company, DC; Ana Martínez Flamenco Dance Company, Arlington, VA, and her own company, Los Quetzales-Mexican Dance Ensemble, Arlington, VA.
Ortiz received her professional training under masters of Mexican Folklore and professional venues, such as the ‘Universidad de Guadalajara’ and ‘Universidad Veracruzana, East Los Angeles College.’ Among her principal mentors and instructors are Directors/ Maestros: Benjamin Hernandez, Rafael Zamarripa, Miguel Velez Arceo and Ernesto Luna Ramirez. Ortiz also attended master dance workshops, for more than 20 years, with ANGF. She also attended periodically, Flamenco Master Dance workshops in the United States and Spain.
Ortiz’s extensive dance expertise lead to her appointment in 1994 – 2008, as a Region Representative, Board Member, Organizer and Contributor of the internationally acclaimed ‘Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos’ (National Association of Folkloric Groups - ANGF), a bi-national organization dedicated to the research and preservation of Mexican folkloric culture and traditions. She received extensive awards from ANGF for her contributions to the work and mission of the organization.
Ms. Ortiz has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards in the past 25 years, including her recognition by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities-Folklife Program, as a ‘Master Folk Artist,’ in 2005-2006, under the “Master-Apprenticeship Program.”
In October of 2007, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities published the book “In Good Keeping,” authored by Jon Lohman, documenting the participants of the Master Folk Artists–Apprenticeship Program. Ms. Ortiz’s work, as a Master Folk Artist of Mexican Folkloric traditions and culture, in the State of Virginia, was documented and published in this work by Jon Lohman, and her artistry was also showcased at the ‘2007- VIRGINIA FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL’, attended by thousands of people.
Other local accomplishments include her ten (10) years of dedicated volunteer work at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC, for Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Georgetown (BFMG), serving as the Artistic Director and Advisor of BFMG, from 1997 – 2007. In 2004, Ms. Ortiz was instrumental in the planning, development and full implementation of the ‘Mexican Folklorico’ class, at Georgetown University, where she worked as an Adjunct Professor of Dance, from 2005 – 2007.