The dance troupe needed to raise $41,000 in all to make the
trip. A portion of that total came from the families of the
dancers themselves of offset the cost. Fundraisers and dance
performances over the past year covered more than half of the
total cost. During Hispanic Heritage Month alone, the
group gave 18 performances while organizing three fundraisers.
The group was “really hustling to get that money together,”
according to El Corazón’s director.
“The community was really great to us,” said Ms. Hernández. “Historic
South and Latins United were big contributors. We
also did fundraisers at the Believe Center. Lourdes
University helped us out. Adelante helped us out.
There were so many contributors who helped us I can’t even name
all of them. Some of the fundraisers we did we may want to now
make an annual thing.”
One in particular that may become a yearly event was a street
festival El Corazón sponsored in partnership with Latins
United. But the idea would be to create a neighborhood festival,
not simply motivated by raising money for the dance troupe. Ms.
Hernández noted the street festival was originally set up with
Latino bands and family-friendly fun, so any future event would
follow that same formula.
While Ms. Hernández is proud of each edition of El Corazón
dancers, she is particularly fond of the 2007 and 2018 versions
of the troupe that she has been able to take to Florida to
“I was really just waiting for that type of group again--
dancers who are really committed and families who are really
committed,” said Ms. Hernández. “There are a few of the dancers
who are seniors in high school and are going to be moving on, so
we wanted to make sure we did something special. It was just the
right group, because the groups are always changing. We have a
really great group this year and I knew they were going to work
really hard for it.”
That hard work involved twice-weekly evening practices at the
Believe Center alongside a busy performance schedule and
periodic fundraisers, such as working the concession stands at a
Mud Hens game. The students and their supporters really met the
challenge, stated Ms. Hernández.
“These kids are so excited. A lot of them, if they weren’t in
the group, would never get to go to Disney,” she said. “Having
that (chance) and being able to represent Toledo when they go
down there is exciting. Maybe some as adults would get this
experience, get to go down there. But they wouldn’t be able to
go as performers or see it as kids. It’s a very different
experience as a kid. It’s amazing to me and I’m really
appreciative to the community and everyone who helped us.”
The dancers who performed ranged in age from 10 to 18 and had to
have at least one year of experience performing with the troupe.
Ms. Hernández had to set some stipulations, because Disney
doesn’t allow parents backstage with the young performers.
The Friday before the troupe departed for Florida, they
performed for the Toledo Museum of Art as part of TMA’s
“Great Art Escape” at the Peristyle, as illustrated in
La Prensa photos online at laprensa1.com and facebook.