Kickin’ up their heels for Cinco de Mayo |

Kickin’ up their heels for Cinco de Mayo

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Kindergartner Ellen Bayliss, 6, dances La Tapatia with Griffin Wilcher, 13, Friday at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School. The students performed the hat dance as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

The teachers at St. Teresa of Avila School were looking for a way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo on Friday but weren’t sure how.

Then Principal Chris Perdomo decided that if they were going to hold a celebration, why not do it with dancing and hats. That evolved into having the students do La Tapatia, the Mexican Hat Dance.

“We thought, let’s do the dance for the students and expose them to other cultures,” Perdomo said. “It took us two days, the first day we figured out the kindergarten students already know the steps. We asked who they should dance with and we voted for the eighth-graders because they weren’t there, so the vote was unanimous,” Perdomo said.

Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, a city located 100 miles east of Mexico City. During the battle, 4,500 Mexican soldiers commanded by General Zaragosa, defeated a French force nearly double in size in the town on the morning of May 5, 1862.

The students at St. Teresa where told the story, then each of the eighth-grade students danced with one or two kindergarten students wearing Mexican hats. The older students were encouraged to dress up as well, with several of the girls wearing traditional dresses.

Ellen Bayliss, 6, said she enjoyed dancing with her eighth-grade partner Griffin Wilcher but said she already knew about Mexico.

“They have quesadillas there,” she said.

As for the reason she was celebrating Cinco De Mayo, Ellen was a little less sure.

“(Cinco de Mayo) is about Mexico. They speak Spanish there, and they wanted to keep doing it,” Ellen said.

Perdomo said, “We put it together really fast. We’d like to do a longer celebration, but it turned out really well.”

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or at 881-1217.


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