Teaching Artists

Cecilia Ortega

Cecilia Ortega | Mexican Folk Dance

Artist’s Statement:

My name is Cecilia Ortega and I come from Veracruz, Mexico.  My road to becoming a teaching artist began when I came to live with my family in the United States.  I remember feeling confused, overwhelmed, unhappy and afraid. My father, concerned, had found a traditional Mexican dance company in the city for me to try, and when we arrived it felt like I belonged there. A new world had opened up before my eyes. 

Through this dance company I discovered how to communicate through movement.

I began to notice that dance and music fit together in perfect harmony and in order to understand this more fully, I started to play a string instrument called jarana from my native land, Veracruz. Artists never stop learning, and in order to be good at anything you have to practice and work hard. I’ve been teaching, performing and learning Mexican traditional music and dance for more than a decade.  Becoming an artist changed my world and everything around it! Dance helped me to bloom. It gave me courage. It healed me and made it me who I am today… Dancing is the motor that keeps me going in life.

More About Cecilia:

In addition to her work as a teaching artists, Cecilia is a co-founder and Water Woman of Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli, a community organization committed to preserving Mexican indigenous ways of life.

Sample Residencies:


What students and teachers say about Cecilia:

“Thank you Ms. Ortega for teaching us how to dance like in Mexican culture.  We look pretty good when you helped us.”

— Anika in class 4-505, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens

“Dear Ms. Ortega, behind every dancer who believes in themselves is a teacher who believed in them first.  Thank you, Ms. Ortega.”

— Love, Afreen in class 4-505 P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens

“Dear Ms. Ortega, thank you so much for the lovely City Lore experience! I looked forward to Wednesdays and truly enjoyed being a part of this wonderful dance!  You are a great teacher. Thank you.”

— Ms. Papazoros and class 4-505, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens


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