Arts & Entertainment

Mexico’s Day of the Dead stars on New York stage

New York City, Jun 7 (EFE).- The love story behind Mexico’s flower of the dead is the central theme of a Day of the Dead production that will show in New York City and feature skulls, Catrinas and ghosts dancing to classical and contemporary music.

The show will be presented at Brooklyn Art Haus from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1, the month in which the Day of the Dead is celebrated, a tradition in several countries but with the Mexican event taking root in popular culture in the United States.

The show, which on Wednesday was presented to the media, opens with “Danse macabre” by composer Camille Saint-Saenz (1835-1921), who imagined skeletons dancing at midnight. Gigantic ghost puppets and charro skulls with their elegant bows moved to the rhythm played on the piano by Llewellyn Sánchez-Werner, who also chose all the music.

Sánchez-Werner, who was born and raised in California, told EFE that his mother is Mexican and that he grew up with the tradition of the Day of the Dead, “a celebration with a lot of love, a lot of joy.”

The 26-year-old pianist based in New York also said they have chosen contemporary and classical music because they want to have a varied audience, including children, with songs as popular as “Bésame mucho” by Mexican Consuelo Velázquez (1916-2005), the “Balada Mexicana” by Emanuel Ponce (1882-1948) and “Jarabe Tapatío” by José de Jesús González Rubio. Liszt’s “Dante Sonata” 12 is also heard.

“Bésame mucho” brings to the stage the skulls of Xochitl and Huetzlin, in the union of the protagonists of the love story from which the yellow flower of the dead – cempasúchil, or marigold – with 20 petals is born. She wears a dress with red flowers and a stole of the same color and he an elegant shirt and bow of green sequins and pants of the same color.

As the story goes, the young Aztecs met each other as children and swore to love each other beyond death. But Huetzlin had to go fight and was mortally wounded, so Xochitl asked the sun god to reunite her with her love.

Touching her with one of its rays, the sun turned her into a flower, and shortly after, a hummingbird arrived and perched in the center of the flower. It was Huetzlin. At that moment, the flower opened up 20 petals and thus the flower of the dead was born, as was the love story that will live as long as the cempasúchil, said Colombian Juanita Cárdenas.

Cárdenas is a dancer and an expert puppeteer who manages the puppets of the ghosts along with other dancers, important elements of the show along with the acrobat skulls.

Tickets go on sale next week. EFE


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