As an artistic director, choreographer, and dancer, Marlene Peña-Marin’s talent is recognized throughout the Mexican folk dance community. She grew up dancing under the tutelage of her mother Rosie Peña, as well as various renowned maestros from the U.S. and Mexico. She studied at La Escuela Nacional de Danza Folklórica del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 2002 Ms. Peña-Marin was appointed director of the Ballet Folklórico Conservatory of the Orange County School of the Arts and in 2003, she was officially appointed as the artistic and general director of Relámpago del Cielo Grupo Folklórico where she has been an instructor for the Grupo Juvenil since 1987. In 2013 she co-choreographed the holiday street party, Disney ¡Viva Navidad! and in 2017 was invited back to Disney to choreograph a new show, A Musical Celebration of Coco. Her life’s mission has been to give back to the youth in the community what was given to her through folklórico dance, a sense of connection and pride. Ms. Peña-Marin’s dedication to ensuring the historical and cultural accuracy of the regions she presents is crucial to the success of the groups under her direction.