ABOUT BALLET FOLKLÓ RICO COSTA DE ORO
STEVEN J. KONEFFKLATT
Dedicated to preserving Mexican Folklore, Steven seeks to bridge traditional styles of Mexican folk dance with the demands of theatrical entertainment. His parents first introduced him to ballet at the age of three, which he studied for several years at the Ann Davlin Dance School in his hometown of Berkeley. His passion for Mexican folk dance, however, began when he was eight years old at which time he took an interest in Mexican folk dance. He was later coached by Martin Romero, a former dancer with the world renowned Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernández, who recognizing Steven’s talent, encouraged him to travel to México to audition for the company. Steven danced with the celebrated Ballet Folklórico de Mexico for two years in two different decades; where he also taught company classes under the guidance of Maestro Carlos Casados. Upon returning to the United States, Steven served as principal instructor and lead dancer for a community group in Oakland,CA and also taught local elementary and high schools students. He founded the Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro with Benito Valles and Silvia Salcedo in 2006. The company has become emblematic of the best in Mexican folk dance and is now sought after in the West and Southwest for performances and artistic consultations. Steven attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where he majored in Latin American and Latino Studies.
BENITO MURIETTA VALLES
He began his artistic and performing career in 1984, after serving in the military (US Army), enrolling at the Aztlan Academy of Ethnic Heritage in San Jose, CA. He studied under the tutelage of Dr. Javier H. Salazar, director and instructor of the academy. Unaware of the traditions and history of Mexican folkloric dance at this time, Benny developed interest in theatre, dance, and music during his training. With the desire to learn more of Mexican folk and to perform, he continued to educate himself and eventually served as an instructor to children. While Benito’s heart is in Mexican Folk Dance, other directors have influenced him such as Steven J. KoneffKlatt, Rene Gonzalez, and Profesor Humberto Novelo Ascencio from Merida, Yucatan. Currently, Benito is the Associate Director and instructor at the Ballet Folklorico Costa de Oro in San Lorenzo, CA.
The Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro is dedicated to the preservation of Mexican traditions and culture. Dance and music are the tools used to educate the youth and community about Mexico's rich and beautiful history. People of all walks of life are welcome to learn and dance with us.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro is considered a rising star in the northern California folklórico scene as well as in other areas of the country. Formed in 2005 as an offshoot of another Bay Area folklórico troupe, Costa de Oro's principal artists have been dancing together for many years, some since their early teens. Several lead dancers have performed with the world famous Ballet Folklórico de México of Amalia Hernandez while other company members have trained in Mexico as well. The Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro is known for its creative choreography and its comprehensive performance repertoire. Arizona’s Coolidge News calls it, “tightly choreographed and expertly performed,” and the Honolulu Weekly writes that it is a, “treasure chest of Mexican traditions.” Most recently the company was featured at the world-renowned San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival in June 2013.