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'The Legend of the Poinsettia' is this weekend at Latin Ballet of Virginia’s new home

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Posted at 1:17 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 14:01:17-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The 23rd annual holiday production of “The Legend of the Poinsettia” is this weekend at Latin Ballet of Virginia’s new home in Chester.

The Perkinson Center for the Arts nestled in the heart of Chester at the Chester Village Green is named in honor of retired dentist W. Baxter Perkinson. The center is under the management of the Chesterfield Cultural Arts Foundation.

"We opened our doors virtually in December of 2020, and opened our doors gradually to the public in 2021," Perkinson Center Executive Director Chelsea Buyalos explained. "This space is over 20,000 square feet, featuring our theater, our gallery space, as well as auxiliary educational spaces."

The 350-seat theater is a space that caters to diverse interests.

"We've got Plunky & Oneness, we've got our friends, ... Kendencia coming to our stage,"Buyalos said. "We’ll be welcoming a new gallery exhibit here shortly with Eugene Van Gogh, we'll also have Good Shot Judy, and many, many more."

Now the center is the new home of Latin Ballet of Virginia.

Marisol Betancourt Sotolongo
Marisol Betancourt Sotolongo

Marisol Betancourt Sotolongo, the ballet's artistic director, began her journey with the ballet over two decades ago at the age of three.

"I was in the very first 'Legend of the Poinsettia,'" Sotolongo said. "And I was the little angel walking across the stage and ever since then I've been in every Poinsettia."

The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Legend of the Poinsettia

The Poinsettia's story, commemorating the Three Kings Day or Day of Kings, weaves in the Mexican legend of a young girl's heartfelt search for a gift for the baby Jesus.

"So she was just looking around, and she found a handful of weeds," Sotolongo said. "And so by her giving, from her heart, the leaves turned into poinsettia flowers. And so that's what her gift was to Baby Jesus."

The energetic show conveys the power of love and the spirit of giving. It is a message Marisol is eager to share.

"That no matter what you give, as long as you're given with your heart it's always something special," Sotolongo said. "It can be anything. It doesn't have to be anything materialistic. And that's what we kind of try to portray through dance."

"The Legend of the Poinsettia" is Saturday, Jan. 6 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Perkinson Center.

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