TAMIU Administrator Reveals New Talent, Featured in National Magazine

Gabriela Mendoza-García, 32, could be called a jack-of-all-trades, except that she is also a master of all of them.

While some know her as the associate director of Student Development at Texas A&M International University, giving orientation to new students and campus student organizations, others know her as an adjunct faculty member of dance, teaching the University's famous Ballet Folklórico that has 30 members practicing throughout the year for colorful concerts that have become landmark events in the community.

But soon, Mendoza-García's name may become synonymous with another title, and that's that of a writer, as an article she wrote was recently featured in Dance Teacher, a national magazine geared for dance teachers.

Her article, titled, "Going Live: Communication and Flexibility are the Keys to a Successful Performance with Musicians," was published on the February issue of the magazine and draws from Mendoza-García's unique, eight-year's experience in teaching folkloric Mexican dance on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The way this happened was because as a subscriber to the magazine, I wrote editors with tips on what they should consider writing about in future editions," Mendoza-García said, "And they telephoned me asking me to write about them."

Although Mendoza-García's initial ideas on how to design one's own dance costume and how to properly store costumes were dropped, there was something that the magazine had not written about, and that was how to incorporate live music in a dance concert.

"This article talks about how dance teachers can better work with musicians to choreograph pieces together for dance performance and how they can use live music in their concerts. For this, I interviewed teachers in Texas, Virginia and California and then included my tips," Mendoza-García said.

This is the first time an article by Mendoza-García has been published in a national magazine and she said she is relishing her newly found opportunity in writing.

"I'm very happy," she said, "I'm also very excited because I love to write."

The editors at Dance Teacher were so impressed with her first submission that they have now requested her to write a first-person account on teaching while pregnant.

The mother of daughter, Sara Alicia, Mendoza-García taught Ballet Folklórico until one day before her baby's delivery last November.

"They (magazine) paid me a fee for the last article, but now, they are paying me double," Mendoza-García said laughing.

Mendoza-García, who started learning Mexican folkloric dance when she was 18, a relatively late age for dance beginners, said she knew she wanted to found a folkloric dance group at TAMIU when she was hired as an administrator.

"Ever since I was little, I took flamenco, tap and jazz dancing lessons, but when I was 18, I realized that ballet folklórico was what I really loved," she said, "So, when I started working at TAMIU, I founded the University's Ballet Folklórico."

With a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in education from The University of Texas at Austin as well as graduate dance courses taken at Texas Woman's University, Mendoza-García is equipped to excel in many careers and is grasping every chance at success.

The latest proof of her multi-talented nature is in writing but the future may reveal others as Mendoza-García continues to polish her professional craft.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180, e-mail pais@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Regular University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The University will be closed for Spring Break March 13-14. Offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, March 17.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu