By Carlotta Mohamed
Just in time for the holidays, an exciting new musical and dance extravaganza “Navidad: A Mexican-American Christmas,” will be presented at the bilingual Thalia Spanish Theatre from Nov. 30 through Dec. 16.
The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s new program at the theatre — located at 41-17 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside — celebrates the holiday traditions experienced by a young person of Mexican immigrant parents growing up in New York City.
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. However, a tempting character preaches the separation of those customs, and the youngster must choose.
The program explores the theme of immigration and belonging.
Juan Castano, co-founder of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, said they hope children of immigrant families see themselves reflected in the story, and hope immigrants feel celebrated and also empathize more with identity information when two or more cultures influence a young person.
“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 Alberto Lopez, artistic director of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company.
Lopez added, “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. We also can’t wait to hear from audiences about how we blend these influences together in our world of fantasy.”
The company of 16 dancers and core of musicians will be led by Calpulli’s music director, George Saenz. The program will tell a story with commissioned works by Mexican and Mexican-American guest choreographers with new musical arrangements and original works.
“Calpulli’s dancers and musicians are very talented,” 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, by popular demand.”
The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, founded in 2003, celebrates the rich diversity of Mexican and Mexican-American cultural heritage through dance and live music.
The company tours from coast-to-coast in the United States and made its international debut in 2013 in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company marks its 15th anniversary in 2018. The performances will mark the third season between the partners beginning in 2014. Up next for the Company will be the premiere of “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.
“Navidad: A Mexican-American Christmas” will run for three weeks at Thalia Spanish Theatre from Nov. 30 to Dec. 16, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 in advance ($48 at the door) and $42 in advance for students and seniors ($45 at the door).
For tickets or more information, call (718) 729-3880 or visit www.thali
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha