Born in Santa Paula, California Juanita Lopez is one of Southern California's finest folklorico instructors and co-director /costume designer of Folklor Pasión Mexicana. She is currently the lead instructor of the folklorico dance department at the Plaza de La Raza school of performing and visual arts for more than 30 years, and is one of the original founders of Danza Floricanto USA.
Juanita Lopez began her studies in folklorico in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mex. as a foreign student in the late 1960’s; who in her quest to learn spanish instead found a pasion in folklorico dance. Upon her return to the U.S. she attended Ventura College and began instructing folklorico classes. Soon after Ms. Lopez made a move to the city of Los Angeles and began to dance for Mexicapan dance company as a professional dancer under the direction of Benjamin C Hernandez. It was in late 1970’s when Ms. Lopez alongside Gema and Frank Sandoval founded Danza Floricanto USA which quickly became the elite dance company of California in the 80’s. During her dance career Ms. Lopez has studied with various renown dance instructors and choreographers and learned a variety of dance styles; and has studied closely with renown choreographer Rafel Zamarripa Castañeda from the University of Colima.
Ms. Lopez is specially known for revolutionizing the female styling in folklorico dance; mastering body control and arm coordination of the female dancer to create magical skirting movements. Her exquisite taste in costume design has also gained her the respect of the folklorico industry. Executing some of the finest costumes in folklorico with an eye for attention to color, fit, and structure like no other. She has received several awards for her work in costume design; her work can be seen in print, TV, and film. She was recently honored when she was selected to design the wardrobe for the “Sueños de California” float for the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade which was winner of the coveted Governors Trophy Award.
Antonio Ramirez was born and raised in North East Los Angeles, California and has sustained a career as a professional dancer for more than 15 years. Currently he serves as the General Director and primary founder of Folklor Pasión Mexicana, leading the company to become one of the premier traditional folklorico dance ensembles in the nation.
He began learning folklorico in Junior High School in 1995 and participated during his K-12 years in various community and semi-professional dance companies throughout Los Angeles. Through those years he studied variety of repertoire and techniques to improve his dance capabilities. In 1999, he was invited by Miguel Angel Diaz to join Danza Teocalt, which was, at the time, the exclusive dance company for La Fonda de Los Camperos. For the next 8 years he established a career as one of the primary dancers for the original La Fonda de Los Camperos in Los Angeles. Mr. Ramirez traveled extensively throughout the country with the dance troupe and Nati Cano and Mariachi Los Camperos as well as with other renown Mariachi ensembles, presenting prominent performances of song and dance.
Over the years Mr. Ramirez has participated in numerous Mariachi conferences throughout the county, primarily following the teachings of Rafael Zamarripa-Casteneda of the Universidad de Colima. He has also participated in many multi-cultural events and has produced student-based productions of Mariachi and Folkorico.