MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — During Hispanic Heritage month, WKRG is recognizing the contributions the Hispanic community is making on our part of the Gulf Coast. Our first story features a prima ballerina who has brought her talents from Mexico to Mobile. Katia Garza is the artistic director of Mobile Ballet. Her husband, Israel Rodriguez is the Ballet Master.

Garza came to the United States over twenty years ago to take a prima ballerina role with the Orlando Ballet. She said her family upbringing taught her to work hard to achieve her dreams. Even though it was hard to leave her home country, she knew she had to. Her husband, Israel, was also performing in Monterey, Mexico, but they knew it was time to leave.

“The only reason I leave my country is to look for another opportunity,” Garza said.

This world-renowned ballerina has had principal dancer roles with ballet companies around the world, but after decades in the spotlight, is working more behind the scenes, bringing her Latin flare to the Gulf Coast. At Mobile Ballet, she is responsible for the artistic direction of each show.

“What I do daily is try to make my community proud of what I do,” Garza said. “In our culture, we are hard workers, and the hard work, it doesn’t matter where you are, you do the best you can.”

“One of the things I try to tell the kids when you perform is no matter what technique you do, you have to feel it. You have to put your heart into it. We learned to do that as a kid,” her husband Israel Rodriguez added.

Garza’s young ballerinas say she inspires them every day.

“I love her as a teacher. That is one of the reasons I have gotten into ballet is because of her,” student McKinley White said.

Garza and Rodriguez say they have brought the energy and humor that you see in Latin Ballets.

“I always try to bring my culture back wherever I go,” Garza said.

Garza and Rodriguez are bringing something different to the stage, they spread their love of ballet to young dancers.

Mobile Ballet is preparing for its 35-year Anniversary Gala performance on Sunday, October 9th. You can purchase tickets here.