Vida En El Valle: 2016 Latino Spirit Awards: Esteban Hernández

May 02, 2016

By: María G. Ortiz-Briones

SACRAMENTO -- Mexican ballet dancer Esteban Hernández received the Achievement in Performing Arts award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus on May 2 during the 15th annual Latino Spirit Awards at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

“The career of a dancer, an artist in general, takes you to live in different places and it helps you to grow as an artist as well as a person,” Hernández said. “I’ve been lucky to travel and live and study in different cultures and that is reflected in my way of dancing.”

Hernández, 21, was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and is currently dancing professionally with the San Francisco Ballet, the oldest ballet company in the United States.

“I’ve been dancing since I was 8 years old,” said Hernández, who began his dance training in his home’s backyard in Guadalajara with his father and teacher Héctor Hernández, who was a professional dancer.

“Both of my parents were professional dancers,” Hernández said, adding that with 10 children in his family, his parents first started using dancing as a hobby to keep him and his other siblings entertained.

Hernández, who is No. 8 of the 10 children, developed the love for dancing and wanted to become a professional like his parents.

“My dad told me that if I was serious about becoming a dancer, it was a difficult profession, and I would need to make many sacrifices to make it,” Hernández said.

He studied with his father for four years before he received a scholarship to study dancing in Philadelphia at age 13. He studied in Philadelphia for three years before he received another scholarship at age 16 to study dance in London.

“It’s an opportunity you can’t pass. I move to London by myself,” he said, adding he graduated in 2013 top of his class with honors. “It’s a life changing experience to study there.”

Hernández is renowned for being the first Mexican to graduate with honors from the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, in addition to his many achievements in some of the most prestigious international ballet competitions.

After graduating he was offered to join the San Francisco Ballet.

He has earned nine gold medals in various countries of the world, one silver medal and three international Grand Prix.

Some of the prestigious competitions Hernández has won are the “Youth American Grand Prix” in the United States, the tenth international competition in Havana, Cuba; the International Dance Competition in Berlin; and, the Youth Ballet Prix of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Hernández was also awarded the National Youth Award in 2007 by the then President of México Felipe Calderón.

Along with his brother Isaac Hernández, they founded the production company ‘Soul Arts Productions’ two years ago and the nonprofit organization ‘Relevé,’ which promotes and produces cultural and artistic projects with the goal to generate a positive impact on society through the arts.

For Hernández receiving the Latino Spirit Awards was something “very unexpected. I never thought that anybody knew I was here.”

Hernández said he was pleasantly surprise to receive the recognition.

“It’s an honor to share this award with this amazing people. It’s really humbling to be in this group of amazing individuals,” Hernández said. “It allows me to share my story with a different group of people.”

Hernández said his success has “been a huge family effort.”

He was to be an inspiration for the youth and show them that if “if you are dedicated and work hard for what you want everything is possible.”

As a dancer, one of the rewards in his profession is to give his all in his performance and take his audience to a difference place for a short period of time.


Contact the Reporter: María G. Ortiz-Briones / (559) 441-6782 /