Calpulli Mexican Dance’s 20th Anniversary Fund!

Celebrating the dances, music, traditions, and stories of Mexican Americans

See our story on Telemundo's Hoy Dia:

On October 3rd, 2003, a group of Mexican American artists met in a small apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens with dreams for a new dance company they would form together. Nearly 20 years later, this organization has exceeded all expectations, and is now starting its next 20 years.

Co-Founders Myrta Duran, Alberto Lopez Herrera, Juan Castaño, and Board President Danny Garza in 2006

Today Calpulli includes so many artists, teachers, students, administrators, and other people. We are proud of the things we have built together so far! Our 20th Anniversary gives us reason to pause and reflect on the many successes we have to celebrate, and to invite members of our community to support us as we take steps towards our future! There is no better time than now to support Calpulli with our 20 for 20 Campaign, where we are raising funds to commemorate our 20th Anniversary.

Calpulli premieres "Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo" in 2019

We hope you will join us!

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company (also known early on as Calpulli Danza Mexicana) was founded on a simple, powerful mission- to celebrate Mexican people, our culture, and our stories.

We produce spectacular, original performances based on Mexican Folklorico dance and music, serving thousands of audience members every year.

Dancers (left to right): Mario Flores, Adina Lopez. Cindy Garcia, Eli Cano, Yhasmine Moran, Jose Maria Rojas, Crystal Deosaran, Alonso Ojeda, Grisel Pren Monje, Christopher Cortez, Yuritzy Govea

We also bring the glory of our Mexican culture to thousands of youth, seniors, and others at schools and community locations through our acclaimed education programs.

Over the last 20 years we have grown into a respected company, known for artistic productions that showcase and celebrate some of the most beautiful and and iconic aspects of Mexican culture for audiences that are dazzled by Calpulli’s stagecraft. The New Yorker called us “delightful,” and last year our co-founders Juan Castaño and Alberto Lopez were featured in both NY Times!

Co-Founders Juan Castaño & Alberto Lopez Herrera

Calpulli performs in theaters, community locations, and outdoors, bringing the joy of live dance and music to audiences everywhere! Right now, we are working on booking tour engagements in communities around the US including Pennsylvania, Texsa, California, New Mexico, Delaware, and other spots too!

Calpulli’s stories are told through the universal language of dance and music. In 2023 we debut our fifth full-length show, and since we began telling our own stories, we have found that themes of love, loss, the underdog, immigration, and triumph against adversity are truly universal. It is our honor to tell these stories by and for Mexicans.

Our first full show, “Boda Mexicana” told a wedding story revealed through the folk traditions from all across Mexico, and was met with critical and popular praise.

Dancers: Abril Reynaga & Jose Maria Rojas

Our next story, “Dia de los Muertos” was a romance across the ages told with the colors and sentiments of dia de muertos, interspersed with contemporary dance and the rich colors and wardrobe of Oaxaca.

Dancers: Felicia Avalos & Diana Vivar

“Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo,'' tells about the bravery of the Mexican people shown in the historic Battle of Puebla, and recognizes that which is often overlooked in the US.

Dancers: Miguel Ceron, Jose Maria Rojas, & Mario Flores

“Navidad '' brought the voice of first and early generation US American children alongside their parent’s immigrant traditions in a glorious celebration of dual cultures and the richness they bring if we choose to embrace them.

Dancers: Grisel Pren Monje & Jose Maria Rojas

In May of 2023 to honor our 20th Anniversary, we will premier “Monarcas,” which tells short stories of Mexican immigrants and their contributions to and sacrifices for the US.

Dancers: Yisel Xique, Javier Rochel, & Daniel Vazquez

Calpulli also serves our local NYC area schools, senior centers, and other community organizations, with highly-acclaimed educational programs that bring our deep and nuanced understanding of Mexican culture to students of all ages. Calpulli Community brings free and donation-based dance and music education to young people, and creates an artistic home where youth from the Mexican American Community can dance in the footsteps of their ancestors, in the USA.

Through these programs we have served approximately one million young people over the last 20 years! We serve tens of thousands annually, and many receive free or donation-based services. More than twenty youth have gone through our program and continued studying in the arts. Four now dance with us professionally. We are committed to continuing to offer this pathway to the arts for Mexican American youth and others who are excited by Mexican culture.

Calpulli is at a time of amazing and exciting growth! We hope you will make a contribution to support our work!

We have begun to be recognized more by community leaders, members of local government, private funders, and arts presenters around the US and the world! Demand is high for our programs and we are attracting positive opportunities. We are excited to invite you to be part of what Calpulli has to offer!

Please consider a gift to help us with these projects and more.
  • Each story we create costs between $110,000 to $130,000 to develop, which is why we typically need 3-4 years to finish each one. They all include handmade costuming, and the garment making and design for a new show alone cost between $25,000 to $40,000.
  • Our Calpulli Community program costs $65,000 per year to run. Studio rental costs alone are nearly $9,000.
  • Schools and educational centers deserve to learn about Mexican dance, culture, music, and history from those closest to it. It costs us $3,000 to provide training, on-site experience, and mentoring to one aspiring Teaching Artist this year.
  • Once we create the costuming and garments for our shows and educational programs, they require a lot of love. Maintenance and storage of our garments, scenery, props, and everything you see on a stage or classroom, costs approximately $30,000 per year. A donation of $1,000 pays for one month of storage.
  • Each student is required to have dance shoes, rehearsal uniform, and performance costume, which totals approximately $200 per student. We subsidize many of these costs directly.

There is no contribution too big or too small. In fact, every donation will be doubled. The Howard Gilman Foundation has generously agreed to match the first $20K fundraised here so your donation is doubled.

What’s next? Consider making your donation. Let friends know about our project. Attend our premiere of Monarcas. Send us a note with your thoughts.

Dancers: Emanuel Bravo, Raul Tlacuilo, & Jorge Fuentes (RIP)
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Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
East Elmhurst, NY
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Registered nonprofit
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