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.

Colgate University presents Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

Calpulli Mexican Dance Fiesta

On Friday evening, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performed at the Palace Theatre. The group performed a combination of popular, as well as lesser known, traditional Mexican music and dance. This well-attended and colorful event was sponsored by ArtsMix, the African, Latin, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, the Africana and Latin American Studies Program and the Music Department.

The dances were divided into nine sections, each representing a different Mexican state. Each of these sections included three or four dances, which were linked through their presentation of a particular aspect of Mexican culture or type of dance unique to that region. Most dances portrayed some sort of celebration. Many told stories. In the opening pieces, grouped under the heading “Fiesta en Yucatan,” the dancers acted out a wedding ceremony. The bridge and groom stood around a pole, while female dancers held ribbons that extended from the pole and danced in a circle. “Los viejitos de Michoacán,” or “Little Old Men from Michoacán” was a comical rendition of elderly men dancing. The dancers wore masks and walked and danced with canes.

Many dances were more organized and traditional, relying on columns, squares or circles for organization. Some dances used the whole room; dancers often entered from the back of the room, and in one case, moved off of the stage, swirling their colorful skirts just inches away from audience members.

Another common feature of several dances was displays of balance: dancers moved smoothly, balancing trays, bottles or candles on their heads. During one of the wedding dances, the bride balanced a tray containing glasses and a bottle of alcohol on her head, while the groom balanced a single, larger bottle. Both continued to dance, while the other dancers stood watching and clapping.

With a few exceptions, the dancers were accompanied by six musicians who played a variety of instruments, including guitars, violin, percussion, trumpet and harp. The musicians sang during a few songs as well, adding elaborate harmonies to the mix.

However, during one group of songs, called “Caminos a Aztlán,” or “Roads to Aztlán,” the musicians sat down. The dancers played simple drums and shakers on stage, blew into conch shells and stomped in time with the music, shells around their ankles emphasizing the pulsing tribal beat. These dances featured elaborate costumes, including dramatic feathery headpieces. The blue lighted stage and eerie percussion music contributed to the tone of the dance. The dancers’ colorful costumes and boisterous, well choreographed movements made the performance entertaining for all ages. Children even practiced dance moves they had witnessed during the intermission. The concert concluded with a group of more well known, Mariachi-style songs under the title “Sones jalicienses,” or “Rhythms and Songs from Jalisco.” These dances were some of the most vibrant, as female dancers wearing full, traditional skirts and male dancers wearing traditional outfits, with the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s symbol on their backs twirled around the stage in pairs. The whole audience was clapping along by the end of the evening, when the group performed the familiar “El Jarabe Tapatio.”

The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company was founded in 2003 and is based out of Jackson Heights, NY. Through both performing and teaching, the group tries to preserve Mexican culture in song and dance.

By: BettyJo Roby for Maroon News
Posted: 4/3/08

Brooklyn College Awards Calpulli Mexican Dance Company Don Quijote Award


BROOKLYN, NOVEMBER, 2007 – The Possible Dream: Latino Arts, Communities and Leadership Encuentro 2007, an all-day event celebrating Latino cultures, will take place at Brooklyn College on Thursday, November 15, 2007. New York Daily News columnist Juan González and the Calpullí Mexican Dance Company will each receive a Don Quijote Award during an evening at the College’s Bedford Lounge. Already in its second year, Encuentro is sponsored by the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, the Latino Faculty and Staff Organization, and the students. This year’s theme, “Las Caras Lindas: The Many Faces of Latino Identity,” will address some of the most pressing issues facing U.S. Latino communities and will showcase artistic and musical presentations.

“Encuentro 2006 was a huge success because it brought together the College’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, community artists and organizations, as well as CUNY associates to showcase the arts and leadership roles of Latinos in the U.S.,” said Dr. María Pérez y González, the chair of the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department. “The Encuentro 2007 promises to be another exciting opportunity to celebrate Latino diversity everywhere,” Pérez y González said.

In addition to celebrating the Puerto Rican Heritage Month and the 39th anniversary of the College’s Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, the event will feature the new Don Quijote Awards, presented for the first time to honor individuals or groups that provide exceptional leadership in the arts, education, or journalism and who are dedicated to social justice and to service the Latino communities.

About the Award Recipients
The Calpullí Mexican Dance Company was founded in 2003 by a group of artists that seeks to enrich and promote a diverse image of the Mexican cultural heritage in the U.S. By providing instructional sessions for parents and schools, Calpullí has a tremendous impact on the Latino communities.

Juan González is a renowned Daily News columnist and the winner of the George Polk Award for commentary and the 2004 leadership award of the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. González was the 2001-2003 Belle Zeller Professor at the Brooklyn College Departments of Political Science and of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies.

Contact: María Perez, Antonio Nadal, 718 951 5561
Ernesto Mora, 718 951 5882

Calpulli Performs at Natives Theater

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Calpulli NY Post