Ex-Teacher Uses Dance to Bridge Cultural Differences

Delivering a message of cultural diversity, Rosa R. Guerrero this week performed for local high school and college audiences with bilingual presentations punctuated by music, dance and lively lectures.

The 63-year-old retired public school teacher from El Paso is the first living Latina in that city's history to have a school named in her honor. She travels throughout the country delivering this message:

"Focus yourself," she told students during one of her performances at Santa Ana High School and Santa Ana College this week. "Determine what you want to do and go for it. Be persistent."

In an interview, Guerrero said that what she delivers is "an affirmation that you can do anything."

"I tell students to believe in themselves, learn about their different cultural roots, develop a strong character, have ganas [desire] to succeed and then put it in first gear and don't let anyone stop you," Guerrero said.

As part of her one-woman show, Guerrero, dressed in colorful Mexican folk garb, tells how different dances have evolved over the centuries. "Dance is the oldest of the arts. From the beginning of life, people danced--for life, for their culture, for the crops, for their survival."

Her audiences laughed at her jokes and gave her standing ovations as she concluded with these words: "We all borrow from each other. That's how we survive. Let us respect our ancestors, love each other, develop a strong mind and backbone and remember every one of us is different and beautiful."

Teresa Flores was mesmerized. "She is wonderful. I'm very lucky to have seen her perform. It's so nice to know that someone cares about our cultures."

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