The Omeyocan Dance Company exists to celebrate Mexico’s colorful cultural history and to share it with others. Through performances that feature authentic dances, costumes, and music, we entertain and educate audiences of all ages and cultures. We seek to enrich both our audience and dancers alike with appreciation and an enhanced cultural awareness of Mexico‘s storied past and vivid traditions.
Through his parents, Roberto Franco was initiated into one of Mexico’s most famous Aztec groups, Tlatoani Cuahetemotzin. At the time, this Mexico City-based group was led by the Jefe (Chief) Felipe Aranda, one of the most respected leaders of a contemporary native Aztec group. Roberto started dancing and performing as a young boy in 1975. Cheif Aranda spent hours mentoring him in the philosophy, history and techniques of Aztec dance and drum, preparing Roberto to be a future leader in the native Aztec cultural structure. Shortly after Roberto mastered the complexities of traditional Aztec dance and drum at age fourteen, he was given the title Capitan of Dance and placed in charge of teaching dances to the group and organizing dancers for major Aztec ceremonies throughout Mexico such as Foundation of Tenochtitlan, Zemanauak Tlamachtiloyan and Izcatioan Guerro. During this time Roberto received a continuous stream of invitations to perform throughout the many states of Mexico at universities, casas de cultura, and special government-sponsored events.
In 1993, Roberto was selected to dance in front of the United Nations during a conference on human rights in Mexico City. The following year, he was invited to participate in the opening ceremonies for the United Nations’ 50th anniversary celebration in Geneva, Switzerland. After the ceremony, Roberto toured Europe and performed at venues in Germany, Spain, Croatia, France, and Italy.
In 1999, Roberto moved to the United States to teach, choreograph, and perform Aztec dances and drumming for the Ballet Folklorico Mexico de Los Hermanos Avila, based in Madison, Wisconsin. During this time, Roberto was able to visit and perform in nearly every state in the continental U.S. and also spent two weeks in Shanghai, China, performing at a government-sponsored festival know as the Exotic Shows of Various Euramerica Performing Arts. In 2005, Roberto moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he co-founded and directed the Ballet Folklorico Nacional Mexica, which has since evolved into the Omeyocan Dance Company, owned and directed by the Franco Brothers.
In 2008, Roberto was invited to meet and perform for then-presidential-candidate Barak Obama and Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. In 2009, his group, the Omeyocan Dance Company, was the opening act for the wildly popular Mexican rock group, El Tri, at their tour stops in Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Soon after, Roberto was invited to perform with the Aztec group Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac at the Library of Congress and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. to promote, teach and archive the Aztec culture.
Due to his knowledge of Aztec dance, language and culture, Roberto is a sought-after expert for print, radio and television news, as well as video documentaries, and he has granted scores of interviews across Mexico, the United States and Europe. He regularly attends native Aztec ceremonies in the United States and Mexico, and wherever he goes he shares his knowledge with others. On a day-to-day basis, Roberto channels his energy into teaching ancient Aztec dancing and drumming to school children, performing for audiences and directing his group, The Omeyocan Dance Company. Through these efforts, he strives to do his part in our modern society to keep these ancient Aztec traditions alive now and into the future.
Alejandro (Alex) Franco
Growing up, Alex performed with Tlatoani Cuahutemotzin in many of the states of Mexico in both modest and opulent venues. At the age of nine he began acting, performing both on television and the theatre. He was filmed more than once for the Mexican television show Caracol. In addition, his picture can be found in the National Anthropological Museum of Mexico, and in an elementary textbook used in the Mexican school system displaying traditional Aztec ceremonial dress.
In 1993 Alex was invited to perform for the United Nations while the Mexican government was hosting a summit on human rights. In 2000 Alex joined his brother in the United States to teach and perform with the Ballet Folklorico Mexico de Los Hermanos Avilla (2000-2005). During this time Alex learned Mexican folk dances and perfected the Aztec Fire Dance. Alex later became co-owner and director of the Ballet Folklorico Nacional Mexica (2005-2008). During this time he added the impressive deer solo of the Deer Dance to his dancing repertoire, learning from one of the masters, Alejandro Solis.
Over the years, Alex has performed for the Greenbay Packers, the Dallas Mavericks, and Tommy Thompson, the former governor of Wisconsin. He has also performed with the multicultural dance group Call for Peace, and the new age Native group Brule.
Currently, Alex is co owner and director of The Omeyocan Dance Company. He continues to be among the strongest Aztec dance soloists and teachers in the world.