¡Viva Arte de Santa Barbara! will present Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company with free performances at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20 at Isla Vista School, 6875 El Colegio Road, Goleta; at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Guadalupe City Hall, 918 Obispo St., Guadalupe, and at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara.
A free community dance class will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at El Camino Jr. High, 219 W. El Camino St., Santa Maria; with another free workshop from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Casa de La Raza, 601 E. Montecito St., Santa Barbara.
Los Angeles’ premiere Mexican folk dance company, Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company was founded by Jose Vences in September 2003, with the intention of advancing the field of Mexican folk ballet and building the public’s appreciation for the diversity and depth of Mexican culture by presenting high-quality dance productions, ¡Viva Arte de Santa Barbara! reported in a media release.
Vences began his study of dance at the Universidad Autonoma de Morelos in 1983. In 1985, he was accepted by the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, with whom he toured Europe, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. In 1990, Vences moved to Los Angeles and in 1992 was an original founder of Ballet Folklorico del Pacifico (now known as Pacifico Dance Company), where he served as artistic director for nine years.
Grandeza’s choreography is based on careful research and is committed to preserving the traditions and customs of Mexico’s historic past and present, ¡Viva Arte de Santa Barbara! reported in a media release. The Conservatory of Mexican Folk Arts, the company’s official school, focuses on dance classes as well as other expressions of music and theater.
Grandeza Mexicana has performed at The Music Center with the LA County Holiday Celebration, the Terrace Theater of Long Beach, The Center for the Arts in Sacramento, The Ford Amphitheatre of Los Angeles, The Alex Theatre of Glendale, and at the Skirball Cultural Center.
For more information, call the Isla Vista School at 805-893-5037, Guadalupe City Hall at 805-343-2939, and the Marjorie Luke Theatre at 805-448-4087, ext. 5.