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Three Stages in Folsom hosts Posada Navideña

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Three Stages Theater at Folsom Lake College

An enchanting evening full of music and dance came to the Three Stages Performing Arts Center at Folsom Lake College. The Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento presented a festive Christmas performance on the main stage.

The “Posada Navideña,” a Christmas processional, was performed by a group of 30 dancers and musicians. They brought traditional live Mexican music and traditional Mexican dance mixed with ballet to the stage.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Executive director Yolanda Ramos-Colosio began teaching traditional Mexican folk dance in Sacramento in 1994. Four years later, as the school grew, she introduced a school (Instituto Mazatlán Bellas Artes) and a professional performing company (Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes).

Dynamic dancer and choreographer Steven Valencia became CMBA’s artistic director in 1998, and since 2000 the company has performed locally and internationally.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Under the direction of Valencia, the CMBA has toured throughout California, the Southwest, Mexico and China, and has won national and international competitions.

The Sacramento native announced his resignation as artistic director effective Dec. 31. Valencia’s last performance was at Three Stages. The Posada Navideña in Folsom was also his final dance performance for CMBA.

Valencia’s credentials as a dancer and choreographer are impressive. The award-winning director has also served as a grant writer for IMBA, and successfully secured several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council and other organizations. Valencia has also been influential in creating in-school programs in the Sacramento region and partnering with the city’s Any Given Child program.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Valencia’s work in Sacramento is well-documented, and his work as a peace officer at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has helped him understand other local issues. His work at the CDCR made him see firsthand that many children may not have a positive outlet in life, and may turn to doing negative things.

He’s been quoted as saying, “My goal has been to teach kids and young adults about culture, discipline and goal reaching through a positive forum: dance." Valencia’s dedication as director, dancer and choreographer will be missed, and Friday’s spectacular performance showcased his talent.

Artistic Director Steven Valencia bids adios to the audience at Three Stages at his last performance

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College continues to attract top events and performances and Friday’s Posada Navideña performance showcased the theater’s versatility, comfortable seating and magnificent stage.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

A live band played in the background and brought life to the performances as regional dances came to the stage. Dancers in magnificent regional costumes began with a set of dances from Veracruz. The initial performance was choreographed by Valencia and guest artist David Lopez-Mancilla.

Wearing typical Veracruz outfits, dancers celebrated Christmas traditions. Several songs, including “La Bamba,” played during the visually enriching dances.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Other traditional dances and songs from Michoacán were highlighted by a whimsical dance in which dancers wore masks and costume to make them look like old men as they performed “Danza de los Viejitos.” The dance had guests laughing, especially the younger members in the audience.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

"Yucatan- Fiesta del Pueblo" was a debut choreographed performance by Lopez-Mancilla.

Each dance was well-received by the audience, and regional pieces were welcomed by audience members with ties to those areas.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Christmas, or Navideña, songs and dances were performed, representing the pilgrimage made by Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for the birth of baby Jesus. This posada celebration was celebrated on stage with classic ballet moves, and included a battle between the devil and the archangel Gabriel. The scene was colorfully performed and was followed by the arrival of the Three Kings at the site of Jesus’ birth.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

The final pieces performed included a full-blown fandango with traditional renditions of “La Piñata” and “Feliz Navidad” that also had audience members singing along.

The Posada Navideña was very colorful and the brilliant performances were very lively, leaving me with some lasting memories.

Campanía Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento performs Posada Navideña at the Three Stages Performing Arts Center

Some members of the audience shared that the program made them nostalgic for traditional celebrations. One member was Mona Almanza, who came to see her daughter Becca perform. When asked for her opinion on the show, she said, “Wonderful, it made me cry.”

The event continued in the lobby, as performers shared their experience with audience members who remained after the show.

Log on to Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes to find out more about their dance performances and programs. Three Stages’ website has a full schedule of events for the rest of the year, as well as a 2013 schedule for visitors to view. 

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