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

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