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Grandeza Mexicana: A Mosaic of Mexico’s Dance Traditions

Free performances to be given in Santa Barbara County

Grandeza Mexicana showcases Mexico’s cultural heritage.
Grandeza Mexicana showcases Mexico’s cultural heritage. (Grandeza Mexicana)

¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! will present Los Angeles-based Grandeza Mexicana in a festive production of Mexico’s regional cultures and dance traditions the weekend of Jan. 19-21 in Santa Barbara County.

Free performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at Isla Vista School, 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Guadalupe City Hall, and 7 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Jr. High School.

The group’s signature footwork and brightly colored costumes reflect the careful research underlying all its performances.

Santa Barbara County performances will feature dances from Michoacan, the Costa Chica of Guerrero State, Zacatecas, Sinaloa, Sonora and Jalisco.
Grandeza Mexicana said it is committed to perpetuating and showcasing the splendor of Mexcian folk dance, and to the cultivation and promotion of public awareness of the rich diverse cultural heritage it represents.

Whether choreographic works depict celebrations, ceremonies or daily rituals, each offers a slice of the flavor of Mexico.

Grandeza’s choreography pays tribute to the traditions and customs of Mexico’s historic past, while honoring the promise of the future.

Jose Vences, founder and artistic director, is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and director with decades of experience in Mexican folk dance.

He began his dance training at 16 while studying at the Universidad Autonoma de Morelos. In 1985 he moved to Mexico City to begin training at the distinguished Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.

In 1986, Vences was accepted into the touring company of the world-renowned Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez.

In 1990, he came to Los Angeles where he founded Ballet Folklorico del Pacifico and in 2003 he established Grandeza Mexicana. The company regularly performs at the Ford Theatre in L.A. and trains young students at its dance academy.
¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! is sponsored by SAGE Publications, the Roddick Foundation, Monica and Tim Babich, Montecito Bank & Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, and UCSB Office of Education Partnerships.

Also, the Stone Family Foundation, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Community Arts Grant Program, with funds provided by the city of Santa Barbara, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

Additional support comes from the Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund.

The program is supported in part by the Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Maria SUN, El Latino CC, Radio Bronco, Entravision/Univision Costa Central, Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta, Kimpton Goodland Hotel, Pacifica Suites and Best Western South Coast Inn.

Viva is co-presented by the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and UCSB Arts & Lectures, in partnership with the Isla Vista School After School Grant.

— Cathy Oliverson for UCSB Arts & Lectures.


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