Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company originated in Chicago, IL and in 1995 the group was brought to Arizona. Daniel Martinez, who created the group directs and choreographs the company as an after school program for youth of all ages; to preserve and promote Mexican dance traditions, ranging from pre-Hispanic to modern.
As the program grew, the needs of the youth involved in the dance company became overwhelmingly apparent. Many of the youth dancing with the program were “at-risk” individuals, whose alternatives for after school activities included gangs, drugs and violence. DEFAP (Drug Elimination and Family Awareness Program was established as a nonprofit organization in 1998 to provide a safe place for youth to go during non-school hours and positive alternatives to unhealthy behaviors.