The members of the Hughes Schools Performing Arts Bolivian Folk Dance Company are students between the ages of 15 and 18 years old selected from the Hughes School of Performing Arts, which is located in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. All students in the Performing Arts Program have taken at least eight years of introductory and preparatory classes in classical ballet, jazz dance, Bolivian folk dance, choir and music theory. In addition, dance students take courses in dance history, nutrition for dancers and choreography. Music students also study a principal instrument, music history, harmony, composition and chamber music.
Many graduates go on to continue their dance and music studies at conservatories such as Manhattan School of Music, Harrt School of the Performing Arts, Eastman School of Music, Frost School of Music, the University of Oklahoma Dance Program, the Atlanta Ballet and the Washington Ballet.
From 2002 to 2017, the Hughes School of the Performing Arts Bolivian Folk Dance Company has given more than 220 folk dance presentations in support of local orphanages, hospitals, retirement homes and centers for handicapped children in addition to yearly presentations at the city’s most prestigious theaters, including the Teatro Acha, El Portal, El Colonial and Center Stage at the County Fairgrounds. In 2007, Hughes Schools received a special plaque and certificate of honor from the mayor of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa, for its “valuable contribution to the education of new generations through academic, artistic, cultural and social excellence.”
On several occasions, the Folk Dance Company has been invited to perform in front of Bolivian President Evo Morales, including at the 2012 Organization of American States General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 National Student Olympics Closing Ceremony. The dance company has also performed and recorded several videos with such well-known Bolivian musical groups as Fortaleza, Amaru, Negro Palma, Suyay, Pasion Andina and Yalo Cuellar.