Celebrate Diversity with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

If you live in New York you have probably seen Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performing in Central Park, at the Brooklyn Public Library, and in Queens’ open stages, wearing beautiful traditional customs and zapateando with their boots. But during the current coronavirus pandemic, dancers, actors, and musicians have been drastically affected with large audiences still not allowed to attend shows.


We recently spoke with Noemy Hernandez, Managing Director at Calpulli Mexican Dance Company to find out how performers are surviving in New York City, the United States Capital of the arts, during a time of great upheaval. 


“Music and movement are natural expressions and can be soothing and healing. I have seen agitated students with autism become calm with the sound of calming music, and seen students find their voice through dance.”


Managing Director at Calpulli Mexican Dance  


What are the main goals at the core of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s mission?


Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s mission is to celebrate the rich diversity of Mexican and Mexican-American cultural heritage through dance-based programming including live music. To this end, the organization produces the following: Professional Performances via its touring company; Arts-in-Education and cultural enrichment programming; Community outreach activities that are free or low-cost and target the underserved Mexican and Mexican-American community.


Calpulli celebrates the rich dance and music traditions of Mexico’s diverse cultural history interpreted through its unique artistic vision. The fresh, vital repertoire honors Mexico’s past and Mexican-American cultural expression in the United States.


How are you adapting your programs and activities during this new phase of the pandemic?


Our touring company is conducting performances online for presenters that allow for this modification. We are also conducting company classes over Zoom, and focusing on the music development and research for our upcoming choreographic projects. We also have donation-based program in Queens, Staten Island, and Red Bank, NJ. After closing in March, we decided to finish the season via our YouTube channel and are holding an online event via Zoom instead of our usual recital.


Noemy holds a BFA in Dance and a Certificate in Arts Management from the University of California, Irvine. She has choreographed for Latin jazz artist Arturo O’Farrill, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Shakespeare in the Park's “The Tempest,” and choreographed portions of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s most recent production, “Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo.” She has also been an arts administrator for several years and is currently the Managing Director of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company.

How do you think that the arts community in Queens and Latinxs have been coping and surviving during the pandemic?

People are trying to make the best of it and trying to focus on the positive to get through it. Our dance students miss their teachers and our company dancers miss being in the dance studio for rehearsals, but we are finding ways to stay connected while being safe.

In your experience, how do you see music and body movement helping children with their learning process and even emotional challenges?


Music and movement are natural expressions and can be soothing and healing. I have seen agitated students with autism become calm with the sound of calming music, and seen students find their “voice” through dance. Our society values the written word as a primary form of expression, but not everybody is wired in the same way. We need to value all types of learners as this can help with confidence and help kids feel seen. 


Are there any upcoming events and activities that you would like to highlight?


We will have an online performance for the Brooklyn Public Library on September 10th. Also, our Artistic Director, Alberto Lopez, will be teaching an online residency through Flushing Town Hall for the next 2 weeks! 


Would you like to add anything else?


People can donate at www.calpullidance.org/donate and via PayPal at donations@calpullidance.org. All donations are tax-deductible!

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