The Ballerina/La Bailarina

Informant Information – SI

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 20
  • Occupation: Student
  • Residence: Los Angeles, California
  • Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2022
  • Primary Language: English

The informant learned about this legend while attending an elementary school in Mexico. They first played the game in fourth or fifth grade, but the legend was well-known by students of all ages at their school. They shared this information with me in an in-person interview. 


So in my elementary school when I was younger, we had this story and game called The Ballerina that was kind of a myth about how our school was built I guess you could say. 

According to the story, before the school was built, there used to be train tracks, like for a passenger train that would go through the city where the school was eventually built. And this is actually not very believable now that I think of it, but according to the story, there was this little girl that was a dancer, a ballerina. And one day, she was dancing on her way home from her dance lessons near the train tracks. Apparently, she was either dancing on the tracks or just near them and fell onto the tracks, but basically, she was on the train tracks and got run over by the train. It was very sad.

So then, after her death, they closed the train tracks and my elementary school was built but the land was always haunted by the ballerina, who would apparently still dance in the halls at night. 

At school, we had a game based on this story that we called The Ballerina, well actually we said La Bailarina because we spoke Spanish. You would go in the bathroom alone and turn off the lights. Then you would look in the mirror and say “Ballerina” three times to summon her. You were supposed to hear music and see her face in the mirror with yours. 


In this piece of folklore, the Ballerina is very similar to Bloody Mary. However, rather than a witch, the Ballerina is the ghost of a child that was killed by an accident. This legend also lacks a religious association that I have seen in some versions of Bloody Mary. 

The informant noted that the premise of this legend is quite strange due to the rarity of passenger trains in Mexico. It seems that this legend could either have emerged as an explanation for the lack of trains or as the result of the disinclination for trains that makes them so uncommon.