In the late 19th century, German settlers brought the accordion, saxophone, and bass guitar and their own rhythms, which were immediately adopted by the locals. The polkas, redovas, schottische, the waltz, and the corrido are still big favorites in Northern Mexico and Southern U.S. one hundred years after their introduction into Mexico and boasting a proud history that tells about the joys and sorrows of norteños (people from Northern Mexico).
“Flowers from Chiapas” represents both the musical and visual beauty of the dances from Mexico’s most southern state. The marimba as performed in Chiapas is unique to Mexico and fills the air with a whimsical and playful romance. You can see a teaser of the debut here!
The suite captures a glimpse of the songs and dances that make up the Guelaguetza, the America’s largest annual celebration of indigenous and mestizo cultures. Watch 'El Jarabe Mixteco' here.
Set to the vivacious music of Michoacán, dancers both young and old celebrate harvest, fertility, and friendship. The jarabillos dances are classically-stylized and adore the bounties of agriculture and nature. Los viejitos (little old men and women) tell us, through movement, humor, and music, of a lifelong lesson- dance and find merriment all your life and you will find the fountain of youth.
A recently married couple partakes in a surprise feast in Yucatán. The bright ribbons of the maypole symbolizing the interweaving of their lives and the home they will build.
The Náhuatl name of the suite is roughly translated to “Mexicans Onward!” The suite is based on the Aztec tradition known as the Tezkatlipoka, carrying symbolism associated with natural elements and the life force of the dancers to achieve self-knowledge and harmony.
La presumida takes the stage, her hands poised as if to touch the air delicately. She takes us to the town of San Lorenzo in Tamaulipas where couples wind and spin to the sounds of northeast Mexico. There, el bejuquito talks to us of love without limitations and to never underestimate the underdog.
La “huasteca” region encompasses several northeastern and central Mexican states. Music is characterized by the trio of musicians who, with bright falsettos and intricate melodies, accompany dancers in stories of love, courtship, and humor. The instruments for this region are the violin, jarana huasteca, and the quinta huapanguera.
Nights in Veracruz: The most elegant of the gulf coast states, Veracruz is a rich, vibrant fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean rhytms. The Jarochos, the people of Veracruz, are renowned jokesters, teasing and constantly competing with each other. Most representative of this competive spirit is El zapateado which pins boastful dancers and proud musicians in a “battle” for audiences to enjoy.
The tradition of fandango nights singing and dancing around the “tarima” (a raised wooden platform) originated in the southern town of Tlacotalpan. The suite explores haunting, celebratory, and passionate dances in the tropical night air of Veracruz.
The China Poblana is an image of Mexico’s grace and beauty. Originally from the state of Puebla, her costume has grown to be a national symbol, and her song calls to Puebla’s most praised cities and the goods each produces. The costuming is hand-made in New York City taking inspiration from the bright fabrics of the Indian community. The China Poblana was an Asian woman, perhaps South Asian, and we find this in her dress.
Mexico’s most famous carnival takes place on the beaches of Mazatlan in Sinaloa. The boastful brass band music inspires movement and celebration.
The suite is inspired by the multiethnic communities in the state of Guerrero including African, Mestizo, and South American. The music for La zamba chucha has its roots in the zamba from Chile and Argentina. When these dances arrived in Tixtla, they inherited the vigorous Mexican footwork. The handkerchief is a key Andean imprint and it indicates the dancer’s energy and intentions.
The suite of dances celebrates the birthplace of mariachi music, Jalisco. The festive dances portray stories of courtship and humor, and the dancers often imitate doves while executing intricate percussive footwork.
Originally of Moorish influence, the dances from the state of Nayarit have women perform in a flamenco style with their arms held high and often moving a Huichol fan in vigorous fashion. Men use machetes in harvest and also in dance, clanging and tossing them in intricate movement.
First premiered as part of “Boda Mexicana” in March 2018, Xibalba is a commissioned work by Choreographer and Artistic Director of Dzul Dance Company, Javier Dzul. Mr. Dzul, an expert in Mayan dance both native and interpretative, was inspired by a Mayan legend of the tree of life and a vengeful god. See the making of this suite.
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The calabaceado from Baja California is one of the dance styles most recently recognized as a folkloric dance of México. The traditional ranch-based life of the people there is the inspiration for the movement. Watch here!
Retratos y Corridos brings to life the images and songs of an era of recreation. Songs were inspired by and reflected the human experience in triumph and defeat during the Mexican revolution. Women were central to the revolution in more ways than one, and the songs describe the very diverse women who came to represent them. Set to photographic images from the Revolution era, the somber Adios speaks of survival, passion, and, above all, hope.
Tarahumara is the result of Calpulli’s year-long investigation which included research in Mexico, international collaboration, and free workshops through New York City. The piece explores the dance traditions of the private Rarámuri natives in northern Mexico. Dance is a form of prayer, of joy, of thanksgiving for the events in life that bring meaning and sustenance; here we explore matrimony, death and birth. Calpulli’s focus is on capturing pre-Hispanic, pre-Christian rituals and dance forms, which are lesser-known and disappearing.