Premiere: May 27, 2023 @ Queens Theatre, NYC
Story by & Choreography: Alberto Lopez Herrera
Artistic Director: Alberto Lopez Herrera
Commissioned Choreographers: Miriam Barbosa, Grisel Pren Monje, & Carlos Islas
Original Music & Musical Arrangements: George Saenz
Dramaturg: Gabriela Garcia
Costuming: Alberto Lopez Herrera
Scenery: Rodrigo Hernandez
Lighting Design: Alex Dheming Vasquez
Projections Design: Carolina Ortiz
Mexican families celebrate their acceptance into the Bracero Program and their invitation as laborers in the USA. The Matriach oversees a celebration, her daughter and son-in-law at the heart of it bring everyone together. However, the Matriarch abruptly calls the party to an end when one guest begins to get out of control. Alone, she walks thinking about the future that awaits and then rests. In her sleep, a nightmare with flames torments her, but she is comforted by a monarch butterfly who dances with her and soothes her worries. The family leaves for the USA.
The young couple arrives in Napa Valley in California with only their personal belongings, identification documents, and instructions to arrive at a vineyard. They quickly realize that other immigrants from Mexico are also searching for the same thing. The foreman of the vineyards arrives and quickly begins to hand out equipment for the harvest, but the laborers have never worked in a vineyard before. But they are hard working people, and they quickly learn to harvest the precious grapes. The harvest then completes, and the laborers and families begin the process of making wine.
The families are unaware of the danger approaching. With rifles hidden along their bodies, a group of militia begin to circle them. They want the Mexicans out, to go back where they came from. They threaten the Matriach, her family, and the other laborers, and then disappear into the fields. In fear, the Matriarch tells all to gather their belongings. In the evening, when all are asleep, the militia returns and sets fire to the vineyard. The fire burns slowly at first and then consumes everything. The Matriarch is the first to see the fire and realizes her nightmare is coming true. She calls everyone to help.
The vineyard is in ashes. The Matriarch stands in shock and just as her hope is about to vanish, the monarch butterfly appears. They bring the message from years past - this will pass, rebuild. The monarch calls other ancestral spirits to help. The alebrijes appear and surround the Matriach and her family with their magic. The family rebuilds.
Years have passed, and the growing family owns their beautiful vineyard and are making delicious wine under their own name. The rituals of their Mexican home continue and are essential to bless every harvest.
Copyright © 2023 Calpulli Mexican Dance Company - All Rights Reserved.