Author: calpulli

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company in Residence at Queens Theatre 2016-17 Season

The Queens Theatre announced its schedule for the 2016-17 season Friday. This upcoming season, which will run through April, will be the Theatre’s 28th year and will consist of both returning performers and newcomers. It’s a lineup marked by new and old plays, a diverse array of dance performances and a number of special events.

“Our audiences can expect an interesting, diverse season, which I hope they will find compelling and memorable,” said Taryn Sacramore, executive director of the Queens Theatre.

The theatre series will present two classic plays alongside a new play: In The Car With Blossom and Len, by Joni Fritz. The play, an original Queens Theatre production, is a comedy about two middle-aged sisters and their aging parents, which will show between Nov. 11 and Nov. 20.

“It’s a family drama, it’s a family comedy,” said Sacramone. “I think it’s going to be really something that everybody can relate to.”

The two classic plays are Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, produced by the Walnut Street Theatre, which will run for four slots between March 10 and March 12, 2017, and William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker, another Queens Theatre production. Brant Russell, The Miracle Worker’s director, was on hand to discuss the play, which chronicles the true story of teacher Annie Sullivan’s guidance to Helen Keller, whose ability to communicate is impaired by deafness and blindness.

“To me this is a play about how different people try to parent an experience into an individual,” Brant said. “It’s a play about how two parents, when they find themselves unable to do that, are forced to, for lack of a better word, outsource that responsibility, and the heartbreak that comes along with being unable to teach your child to communicate with other people and to communicate with the world.”

This year’s dance lineup highlights a diverse selection of companies and styles. The lineup features four different acts: Keigwin + Company’s contemporary dance tribute to Leonard Bernstein, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, a flamenco group called Flamenco Vivo, and the pioneering hip hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement.

“We have one of the strongest dance series in the borough,” Sacramore said. “Our mission is to serve the diverse audiences in this community, and dance is something that really brings people together.”

Sacramore added that every Saturday matinee will be followed by a “talkback,” which allows audiences to speak and engage with the dance companies’ directors and artistic leaders.

For its special events, the Queens Theatre boasted a new residency with the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which will perform two different shows over four dates in October and March. It will be the company’s first residency at the Queens Theatre despite having a long history of performances there. The programs provide exciting Mexican cultural experiences that combine elements of storytelling and dance, according to artistic director Juan Castano.

“We’re narrative and dance without becoming theatre or dance theater,” Castano told The Queens Tribune. “It’s all movement and music.”

The company’s fall program, “Dia de los Muertos,” explores the relationship between the living and the dead, while the spring program, “Boda Mexicana,” explores marriage through different wedding dances and courtship practices from different states across Mexico. Argelia Arreola and Christopher Cortez, two performers from the company, were on hand in ornate, flower-decorated white costumes to display the programs’ highly visual approach.

Other special events include the Titan Theatre Company’s production of A Christmas Carol in December, a technology-based dance company called Visuality and the Apothetae’s production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Apothetae is a company that features integrated casts of able-bodied, physically disabled and intellectually disabled actors in order to explore the “Disabled Experience.”

Amy Wong, 74, has been a subscriber at the Queens Theatre since 2001. At the announcement, she said she is most excited to see “In the Car with Blossom and Len” and “The Miracle Worker.” She said the Queens Theatre presents plays that are most interesting to her. “They’re mostly about people, community. Not too avant-garde, not too weird,” she said.

By James Farrell
This article appeared in the Queens Tribune on 7/28/2016
Original Article Here.

“Boda Mexicana” del Ballet Calpulli en el Teatro Thalia

Originally appeared in Impacto Latin News

See a larger version of the article by clicking anywhere on the image below.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company gives folklórico innovative spin

Its name means “large house” in Nahuatl, informally known as Aztec, and refers to divisions of society in the former empire.

For Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, the idea also translates to a different spin on the conventions of folklórico.

The New York troupe makes its Houston debut Friday, presented by the Indo-
American Association as part of an initiative to broaden cultural perspectives.

With 12 dancers and six musicians, Calpulli is small by folklórico standards.

“That gives us an opportunity to focus more on individual performers and stories,” said managing director and dancer Juan Castaño, who co-founded the company 12 years ago with creative director Alberto
Lopez and musical director George Sáenz. “It feels fast-paced.”

While the company maintains some classics – Mexican folk dance from Jalisco, with mariachi music, for example – its programs also are infused with original choreography and music that transcends time and cultures.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company makes its Houston debut Friday at the Wortham Theater Center.

Its opening dance, the ritualistic “Mexica Tiawi,” is based on a symbolic, high-
energy dance celebrating Aztec beliefs about harmony and balance in nature. But the title also means “Mexicans Onward.”

Sometimes a message is implicitly understood in the music, Castaño said. But works such as a new suite of dances based on the Dia de los Muertos character La Catarina emphasize a universal theme, he added: “In life, we’re all different, based on classes, but in the end we’re all the same.”

Calpulli’s La Catarina – who might be an Aztec goddess – wakes up in “the other world” and must come to terms with it. The dance’s marimba score is influenced by music from the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.

Calpulli’s founders met as dancers with other American folklórico companies, which often incorporate student performers. They wanted a more “unwavering commitment to professionalism,” Castaño said.

Early on, their repertoire skewed traditional and focused on education.

While Calpulli continues to embrace “all the different textures that infuse folklórico,” Castaño said, “audiences don’t always understand the nuances of ethnic dance.” That’s where the Calpulli directors saw a window for creating work that might strike more people as relevant.

Lopez, a native of Puebla who began studying folklórico at age 12 in his native
country, also developed a passion for theatricality and garment design. His dance-theater influences give the work its oomph – including animation as well as contemporary choreography and meticulously designed costumes.

Castaño grew up in El Paso but took his first folklórico lessons at Grinnell College in Iowa while he was earning a degree in chemistry. He continued performing in New York while he added a master’s in business administration to his résumé.

That’s where he met Lopez and Sáenz, who’s from Laredo.

“Growing up in border cities, George and I had such a strong influence of the culture in our world,” Castaño said. His family is still spread across South Texas, and many of them have never seen him perform.

“It’s really exciting for us to come back home. It’s going to be an emotional reunion,” he said.

This article Appeared in the Houston Chronicle on September 9, 2015.
Original Article:

The New York Times Review: “Terrific Company”

On August 2nd, 2015, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performed as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors’ Heritage Sunday celebration with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert shared the following about Calpulli and its performance:

“This terrific company of warm, generous dancers and a mostly female band gave a quick, vibrant tour of Mexican traditions – from Yucatán, Oaxaca, Jalisco – with eye-popping costumes for every stop. The finale with flying machetes was something to see.”

Please visit the following link for the full review which includes other artists and events as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company at City College Center for the Arts November 1st

In the midst of post- Halloween hangovers and debauchery, a beautiful dance company restored a connected holiday to its cultural origins. Calpulli Mexican Dance Company brought Dia de los Muertos to City College’s revitalized Center for the Arts November 1st, giving the audience a rich lesson or a sentimental journey, full of live music and lively dancers.

It cannot be emphasized enough how special this production is, providing an educational experience to those not fully aware of the depth and diversity of Mexican culture and dance. As the two hour performance moved from region to region, the music, movement and language changed. The northern calabaceado from Baja California made way for a sweet song in the Purépecha language, marking the reunion of a deceased mother and her little daughters. Vocalist Enrique Acevedo brought the house to tears with “Cucurrucucu Paloma”, holding a ridiculously long note and filling our hearts with longing.

Elegant houses and refined heads of state shape the tone and style of Gavilan Gavilancillo, El Jaliciense, and La Negra. The Aztecs were represented in a suite with the Náhuatl title Mexika Tiawi (Mexicans Onward)! The ritualistic piece holds true to the described concept of selfknowledge and harmony. Noches en Veracruz showed the multiple cultures that inspire the stories and dances of the coast. Dancers with machetes never cease to impress, and here, in the dances El Buey and Sones Nayaritas, it was done with great flair.

Bringing the work back to the sacred meaning of the holiday, El Regreso shows mourners with marigold petals praying for a return of those lost, laying the path with color and love. As the performance closed with Sinaloense Soy, we have traveled through Mexico and fallen in love with El Dia de los Muertos in a deeper, more meaningful way.

by Layla Macoran
Originally published in the NY Examiner

Calpulli cameo performance at Shakespeare in the Park- The Tempest

Calpulli brings Mexican dance from Veracruz to “The Tempest” in this unique and wildly colorful interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s masterful works.

Written By William Shakespeare
Music & Lyrics by Todd Almond
Conceived And Directed by Lear deBessonet
Choreography by Chase Brock
Featuring Todd Almond, Laura Benanti, Carson Elrod,
Jeff Hiller, Norm Lewis, and Jacob Ming-Trent

September 6, 7, & 8 – 8pm

​THE TEMPEST will showcase 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs who will share the stage with professional actors and community partners for this three-night civic event.

THE STORY PROJECT lets us learn about our incredible partner organizations and provides us with an opportunity to connect to the individuality of each of the ensemble members through interviews. For ensemble member interviews and bios, visit the Public Works Blog.

Free Public Works Tickets will be distributed, two per person, at 12:00 p.m. on the day of the show at the Delacorte Theater. Free tickets will be available via the Virtual Ticketing drawingon the day of the performance. Summer Supporter tickets are also available for a tax-deductible donation of $75 each. For information and to donate, call 212-967-7555.

Public Fare, a seasonal open-air café at the Delacorte Theater will be open with limited menu to cater to patrons of THE TEMPEST. Hours are 5:00-8:45pm and more information may be found at


​PUBLIC WORKS is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year. In its inaugural year, it is creating an extraordinary example of participatory theater with this free, original musical adaptation of THE TEMPEST, inspired by a 1916 community theatrical event of Caliban by the Yellow Sands at the stadium at City College in New York.

THE TEMPEST will also feature cameo performances from community art groups that have a strong artistic and cultural tradition.These cameo groups include Ballet Tech, the NYC Public School for Dance, with choreography by Eliot Feld; the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which creates folkloric and contemporary works while exploring Mexican traditions; the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Ensemble, a taiko drumming group; the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, a choir based in New York’s East Village; the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance; Raya Brass Band, which performs Balkan “gypsy” music; Lydia Callis, a sign language interpreter who gained national attention for her interpreting alongside Mayor Bloomberg during Hurricane Sandy; and Stephen Duncan, a New York City performance artist who specialized in super-sized soap bubbles.

Calpulli Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

June 1st & 2nd, 2013, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company celebrates its 10th anniversary with a weekend of events at the historic Harkness Dance Center at the 92nd St Y in Manhattan. Get your tickets for all 3 events for only $50!
Calpulli Danza Mexicana celebra su decimo aniversario con un fin de semana de eventos en el Centro de Danza Harkness en el historico 92d St Y en Manhattan.Consiguan sus boletos para los 3 eventos por solo $50.


Saturday, June 1st @ 8pm: Calpulli Dance Celebration/ Calpulli Fiesta de Danza
Dancing time for everyone. Calpulli’s touring company, youth dance students, Calpulli musicians, and special guest artists perform to commemorate 10 years of artistic creation, education, and community outreach. Join Calpulli for food, friends, drink, music, and of course, dancing. $30 for adults, $5 for children
Tiempo para bailar para todos. La compañia de Calpulli, estudiantes del programa juvenil, la banda de musicos Calpuli, e invitados especiales se presentan para comemorar 10 años de creacion artistica, educacion, y dedicacion a comunidad. Antojitos, amigos, bebidas, musica, y, por supuesto, a bailar! $15 para adultos, $5 para ninos


Saturday, June 1st @ 2:30pm: Family Dance Workshop/ Taller familiar de Danza
Calpulli Teaching Artists and Students from Calpulli Youth Dance in Staten Island and Queens guide, entertain, and dance with audiences exploring dances from Mexico, including the lively dances from the state of Sinaloa! $15 for adults, $5 for children
Artistas didacticos de Calpulli y los estudiantes de Calpulli Danza Juvenil en Staten Island y Queens guia, entretienen, y bailan con el publico explorando bailes de Mexico, incluso los bailes movidos del de Sinaloa! $15 para adultos, $5 para ninos


Sunday, June 2nd @ 3pm: Calpulli @ Sundays at Three
Calpulli performs and discusses traditional, fusion, and contemporary works. Commisioned new works by choreographer Francisco Graciano will be performed alongside Calpulli’s repertoire from the last 10 years and new works from Artistic Director, Noemy Hernandez. $15 for adults, $5 for children
Calpulli presenta y habla sobre danzas tradicionales, de fusion, y del ambiente contemporaneo. Nuevas obras comisionadas del coreografo Francisco Graciano se presentaran juntos con repertorio de Calpulli de los ultimos 10 años y nuevas obras de Director Artistico, Noemy Hernandez. $15 para adultos, $5 para ninos

Calpulli Makes International Debut to the Middle East


Calpulli Mexican Dance Company is delighted to share news of the international debut coinciding with its 10th anniversary year-long celebration. Calpulli will perform in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East at part of the International Circiut World Cultures Festival from April 19th-21st, 2013. The company is co-headlining the cultural event with Bhangra Empire and is the only representative of the Americas.

The company is travelling to Bahrain with a cast of 12 dancers and 6 musicians. Viva Calpulli! Viva Bahrain!

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Calpulli Triumphant Season at Queens Theatre

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company receives rave reviews from the Queens Courier. (Click image for larger version.)

Queens Courier Calpulli review

Symphony Space features Calpulli in Curriculum Arts Project

Curriculum Arts Project (CAP) is one of the oldest and most respected arts education programs in the nation, bringing Symphony Space’s performing arts programming into New York City classrooms. Acclaimed by one teacher as “the most effective arts program that I’ve experienced in 28 years of teaching,” CAP reaches 6,000 students annually, teaching them how history, culture, and the arts are all interconnected. By teaching the arts in the context of social studies, CAP shows young people that the arts are a bridge to a wider world than they ever imagined.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company has been featured for several years.