Founded by Celia F. Martinez (current resident of East Chicago, Indiana) in the 1970’s as the Escaramuza Charra Las Villistas (Female horseback riding group), Celia had a vision and the charisma most women at this time did not have in order to begin such a prestigious and determined group of young women willing to show their pride through their cultural and civic ways.
After starting the Escaramuza, Celia began thinking about how to keep the same young girls interested in their Mexican Heritage and keep them off the streets during the summer months. In the winter of 1970, one of her members of the Escaramuza Charra Rebeca Covarrubias started teaching Mexican folklore dancing. This would strike an idea to Celia as a way to keep the girls occupied for those winters when horseback riding was not available. It was all coming to Celia at this point and all she needed was for someone to show more girls the way. Of course, already having her daughter involved in horseback riding, she would then encourage her to take up Mexican Folklore Dancing.
Debra Bolaños (Celia’s daughter) would accept the challenge and begin training and rehearsing for the preparation of becoming one of the elite dancers in Mexico and then bringing it back to Northwest Indiana. In 1976 her daughter Debra Rose Martinez/Bolaños graduated from Bishop Noll Institute and enrolled with the Ballet Folklorico School of Dance in Mexico City. After finishing her summer courses she was selected by the Ballet Folklorico De Mexico’s scouts to join them and to start preparing for her professional career and performing at the Palace of Fine Arts (Belles Artes) in Mexico City.After returning, Debra took over as artistic director and choreographer.
By 1994 Xel-HA Escuela De Danza dance studio was opened so that the Ballet folklorico would have their own place to rehearse and feel comfortable while practicing.Debra studied under Dame Libby Komaiko-Founder Ensemble Spanish Dance Theatre at Northeastern University. Over the years she has given flamenco dance instruction to her students and allowing them to get the feel of a Live Professional level instructor at a reasonable cost.