FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Colorful skirts swirl and swish. Loud heel stomps and toe taps reverberate off the floor to the walls. Bright flowers tucked in ponytails whisk around as the dancers spin. The small room is full of music and joy.

Amaneceres de Mexico Dance practices at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA every Monday night and some Saturdays. Little girls, some as young as two, are eager to learn the footwork and skirt skills of Mexican Folkloric Dance.

Margarita Walley leads an Amaneceres de Mexico dance practice.

In the front of the room, leading the way and calling out the steps, is Margarita Walley.

“I came to Fort Wayne 25 years ago and there was a dance group, but it was only older girls. The lady who was running it left five years after I started,” Walley said. “I really, really love it. I’ve been dancing it since I was a young age, so I took it over.”

Three boys, the youngest is eight and the oldest is 16, are in the dance group right now too. With every move the girls and boys learn, they’re also celebrating the Mexican culture.

From left: Front Row: Josselyn Pacheco, 16, attends Homestead High School; Gisele Gutierrez, 18, attends University of Saint Francis; Stephanie Mondragon, 15, attends Northrop High School; Back Row: Angie Romero, 13, attends Memorial Park Middle School (left); Gabrielle Snyder, 12, attends Canterbury School (right)

“It’s nice because you don’t see representation of this culture a lot so it’s nice to have it in this generation,” Stephanie Mondragon, a 15-year-old dancer who attends Northrop High School said.

Mondragon’s been dancing with Amaneceres de Mexico for a few years. She’s in the older, more advanced groups now.

Watch an entire performance in the video below.

While the dances look complicated, Walley said it’s easy to pick up.

“It’s not that hard. It looks hard, but it’s not. When you have the rhythm, everything comes together,” she said.

The skirts with yards of fabric to get the big swirls are heavy and it IS a good workout. But, it’s also a lot of fun. Walley makes up the routines herself.

“I listen to a lot of music and then I just make the steps. Sometimes the older girls will help too,” she said.

Gabrielle Snyder, 12 (left) and Gisele Guiterrez, 18 (right)

She encourages everyone to give it a try.

“I provide skirts until you get one. We teach the basics, but usually people just jump in and it’s not that hard to learn. Once you get the basics, you take off,” Walley said.

The group performs all over the area throughout the year. Festivals include FIESTA Fort Wayne, Three Rivers Festival, and Taste of the Arts. They also perform for the Manzanas Luchadores TinCaps games.

They’ll be performing with the Philharmonic for a Day of the Dead showcase in October. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the group will also be doing some school presentations and performing at restaurants and businesses with Hispanic employees.

Anyone is welcome to come to an Amaneceres de Mexico class. The current session runs until October 23 at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA on Bowser Ave. All ages are welcome. The full session of classes is $25 for YMCA members and $35 for non-members. People can also drop in to just a class here or there. The drop-in fee is $4 for members and $5 for non-members.