Brothers Isaac and Esteban Hernández have performed on some of the most prestigious stages in the world. But their journey to the top rank of their industry had a unique start.

Originally from Guadalajara, in western Mexico, Isaac and Esteban’s first ballet teacher was their father, Héctor, and their first ballet studio was their home’s backyard.

Héctor, who had a 14-year career as a professional ballet dancer in Mexico and in the United States, taught his 11 children in his makeshift studio. But it was Isaac who was the first one to really fall in love with the art of ballet.

“It was really exciting when we would do something new,” said Isaac to Latino USA.

“I remember the first time I did a triple tour, he (Héctor) came out running to look for my mom so that she could see it happen.”

Isaac’s younger brother Esteban soon shared in the passion. “Something sparked in me that made me want to also learn,” said Esteban.

Both brothers would go on to develop successful careers on stage, even surpassing their mentor.

Last year, Isaac and Esteban became the first siblings to achieve the rank of principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet.

In this episode of Latino USA, 33-year-old Isaac, and 29-year-old Esteban sit down for a conversation at the San Francisco Ballet, in the city’s bustling civic center neighborhood.

The brothers reflect on learning ballet from their father, the life-changing decisions young dancers face, and their work expanding access to ballet in their native Mexico.

Featured image Lindsay Thomas.

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