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Jose Vences was born and raised in Morelos, Mexico where be began his training and love of dance at the age of sixteen.  He studied dance with Jesus Parra Duje at the Universidad Autonoma de Morelos in 1983 while earning a degree as an elementary school teacher.  He was honored with being selected to participate in the Cultural Exchange program with Kansas City, Missouri in 1984.  

He later became a member of the Compania Universitaria del Centro Cultural Morelos under the direction of Raul Rubi before deciding to further his professional dance training by moving to Mexico City.  He attended summer classes at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1985, then auditioned for and was accepted with the world famous Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez.  He became a member of the resident company in July 1986 and later was promoted to the first company in January 1987 where he performed throughout Europe, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.  In 1990, Mr. 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 9 years.  

Mr. Vences' approach to instruction is to place high expectations on his dancers, to push them to discover their true potential, at times beyond their own expectations.  This work can be very emotional; Mr. Vences challenges his students to work at their very best and draw from within themselves all the strength and talent ballet folklorico requires.

"I will say that this job can be difficult," Mr. Vences explains, "because this company is made of dancers with a diversity of backgrounds- some are trained technical dancers, others have a more organic talent.  My expectations for each of them are the same:  to perform at their personal best.  I provide them with strategies, with the knowledge that has been taught to me throughout my career, to empower them.  It is an emotional experience.  I try to connect with my dancers, through metaphors and personification, and even jokes, to draw connections between what I am expecting in the studio and their own personal experiences.  Sometimes this process challenges them to change their concept of dance, a new relationship between movement, intentions, emotion, and the music.  More than anything, I would say that I demand commitment, because I believe that where there is genuine intention, there is a good result."

Grandeza Mexicana Director

Jose Vences (Pepe)

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