The production, “Navidad, a Mexican-American Christmas,” will tell the story of celebrating the holiday traditions experienced by a young person of Mexican immigrant parents growing up in New York City. It will be led by Artistic Director Alberto Lopez Herrera and Co-Founder Juan Castaño.
"Calpulli’s dancers and musicians are very talented. They are true ambassadors of Mexico's art & culture,” said Angel Gil Orrios, artistic/executive director of the Thalia Spanish Theatre. “It's a pleasure and a privilege for us to present a new production after our previous sold-out run. We're happy our audience really wanted them back, as we say in show business, by popular demand."
From Aztec-inspired dance to Christmas carols, the youngster tries to bring their two worlds together. In a dream, they imagine the fusion of Mariachi music with Tchaikovsky, folk dance with ballet, and the wonderment of their two cultures. But a tempting character preaches the separation of these customs, and the youngster must choose.
"Audiences will see how someone born in the USA may experience their parent's seemingly foreign culture and can be torn about their own cultural identity," said Lopez. "That is, until they discover that these qualities make them stronger.
“We are so excited to show the traditions of Mexico like posadas and villancicos as well as popular holiday music from the USA and dances inspired by the famous ‘Nutcracker,’” Lopez added. “We also can't wait to hear from audiences about how we blend these influences together in our world of fantasy."
Calpulli's Music Director George Saenz will lead the company’s 16 dancers as well as musicians. The story will feature commissioned works by Mexican and Mexican-American guest choreographers with new musical arrangements and original works.
Navidad will feature commissioned choreographic works by Grisel Pren Monje, Francisco Graciano, Javier Dzul and Castaño. Costumes are designed by Lopez with additional costume design by Amanda Gladu as well as Animation and Scenery by Ariel Rodriguez, and Lighting Design by Carolina Ortiz.
"Calpulli's stories are told through dance and music and have always dealt with love," said Castaño. "Navidad is no different, but it tells of love for family, for the multifaceted influences around us, and for oneself.
“We hope children of immigrant families see themselves reflected in our story, and we hope immigrants feel celebrated and also empathize more with identity formation when two or more cultures influence a young person," Castaño added.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company marks its 15th anniversary in 2018. The “Navidad, a Mexican-American Christmas” performances will mark the third season between the partners since 2014. The next production for Calpulli is "Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo" in April 2019, a new work funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts. It will make its European debut in May 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The “Navidad, a Mexican-American Christmas” production will run from November 30 through December 16. Thalia Spanish Theatre is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside. Tickets will be available by calling (718) 729-3880 or visiting www.thaliatheatre.org.