Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ph.D. is a Folklorist, Artist, and Scholar. As a young adult, Dr. Mendoza-Garcia performed in the Laredo Ballet Folklórico, El Grupo de Danza y Arte Folklórico de la Universidad de Tejas (UT Ballet Folklórico), and Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklórico de Tejas. She earned a Bachelor and Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Upon graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, she returned to Laredo, Texas. Dr. Mendoza-Garcia and six university students founded the Texas A&M International University Ballet Folklórico (TAMIU) in 1996. She served as the Director of the Texas A&M International University Ballet Folklórico from 1996 to 2007. She also directed a folkloric dance group for children in Laredo, Texas, known as the TAMIU Ballet Folklórico Juvenil from 1997 to 2007. Dr. Mendoza-Garcia is a member of the Asociacion Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos and has served on the Executive board of this organization as Membership Chair and Vice-President.
In 2013, she earned a doctoral degree in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Mendoza-Garcia began her own folkloric dance company in Laredo, Texas in 2013 after finishing her doctoral studies. She has presented her scholarly research at the Congress on Research in Dance, National Association for Chicana/o Studies, National Dance Studies Conference, Sal Castro Memorial Conference on the Emerging Historiography of the Chicano Movement, the Global Reach of the Fandango , and more. These conferences were located in Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; City University of New York; at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Toledo, Ohio; in Claremont, California, and more. She is currently a member of the Dance Studies Association.
In 2016, Dr. Mendoza-Garcia was inducted to the City of Laredo, Commission for Women Hall of Fame representing Arts/Media/Communication for all her contributions in promoting Mexican folkloric dance to the community of Laredo, Texas. In 2018, Dr. Mendoza-Garcia was a recipient of the Preservation of Folklore Customs and Traditions Award by the Webb County Heritage Foundation for her efforts in promoting the history of Mexico through Dance.
In July 2019 Dr. Mendoza-Garcia presented her choreography called “Chicano Power” (Copyright) before members of the Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos conference in McAllen, Texas. This choreography is based upon her research with folkloristas during the Chicano Movement of the 1970s. Their performance before a crowd of esteemed colleagues and maestros from Mexico was highly acclaimed.
In September of 2019, Dr. Mendoza-Garcia was recognized as an Outstanding Women in Business representing Arts and Culture by the Laredo Morning Times. This is the inaugural issue whereby the Laredo Morning Times celebrating Laredo women in business.
In 2022, Dr. Mendoza-Garcia and the Webb County Heritage Foundation won the Dance Studies Association’s Dance in the Public Sphere award for their documentary entitled “History and Folklore.” During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Webb County Heritage Foundation and the Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ballet Folklorico collaborated to produce a digital series in which dancers of the Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ballet Folklórico performed outside six different historic landmarks in Laredo, Texas. Each episode of this series begins with a brief introduction, a description of the historic significance behind a local landmark, an explanation of the history of the dances, and a performance. This six part series premiered on Facebook during Laredo’s founders’ week in May of 2021. The Dance Studies Awards committee explains,
“The committee was impressed with how this project illuminates the possibilities of collaboration among dancers and institutions, as Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia and her group Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ballet Folklórico worked with the Webb Historical society to tell a story of the music, movements, and histories that bring people and families across Mexico and the US together. The History and Folklore series educates audiences about the history and diversity of Mexican dance and unifies communities by encouraging pride in their cultural heritage while, through the wonders of the internet, also introduces new audiences to dance forms in specific historical, cultural, and geographic contexts.”