Calpulli celebrates Mexican milestones at QTIP

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Jackson Heights’ Calpulli Danza Mexicana is returning to Queens Theatre in the Park this month with an exuberant slate of new dances inspired by the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain.

“This comes in an important time in Mexican and immigrant history in the U.S., given the political climate nationally and locally,” said Juan Castaño, Calpulli’s managing director. “As artists, we truly find beauty and inspiration in our work and representing our community in New York City. It is an incredible honor to share this with audiences of all backgrounds who we hope, in turn, will find something new and wonderful about Mexican culture.”

The company will give two performances at QTIP, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. This year’s performance features several debut pieces, including a spectacular finale celebrating the bicentennial.

“The special opportunity to celebrate such an important time in Mexican history inspired our artists to create more than ever this year,” Castaño said. “Not since our first three years as a company have so many new pieces been in development. It will be a great surprise for Calpulli fans who have seen the company grow through the years.”

In addition to the patriotic significance of the bicentennial of independence, Castaño said, this year also marks the centennial of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. That largely populist uprising and civil war “recreated the image of the country to the world and motivated research and appreciation of the country’s traditions,” Castaño said. As Calpulli’s repertoire is built on the traditions and customs of Mexican folk dance and music, including Mariachi and Aztec ritual dances, the company has added dances that reflect the Andean and African influenced aspects of Mexican culture as well this year, in that same spirit of appreciation.

Calpulli Danza Mexicana is in its seventh performance season at Queens Theatre in the Park after consecutive seasons of sold-out performances. The organization was founded in 2003 by a group of Mexican and Mexican-American artists living in New York City who shared a vision to share the rich diversity of Mexican dance and make it relevant to life in New York City. After its performance at Queens Theatre in the Park, the company will perform for the first time on the West Coast of the United States at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

Calpulli Danza Mexicana is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote Mexican cultural heritage through teaching and performing. The company produces professional performances and tours, arts education programming and community outreach activities including its award-winning, donation-based children’s dance program.

Like arts and cultural groups around the country, Calpulli is feeling the pinch as the nation’s economy continues to languish. As contributions from deep-pocketed corporate and institutional donors have slowed, it’s all the more important for organizations like Calpulli to really connect with their audiences and garner their support. “It’s immensely important for audiences to support all arts organizations, and there is no better way than to purchase a ticket, enjoy the show and tell someone about how wonderful their experience was,” Castaño said.

If You Go

Calpulli Danza Mexicana

When: Sept. 25, 8 p.m.; Sept. 26, 3 p.m.

Where: Queens Theatre in the Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Cost: $27

Contact: 718-760-0064 for tickets

For More: www.calpullidance.org

Updated 6:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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