Calpulli Mexican Dance Company presents “Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo” at Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey on Thu, May 5, 2022 at 7pm. thebasie.org 🇲🇽
The program tells the story of Cinco de Mayo through the richness of Mexican dance. Calpulli is a community dance company with a mix of professional and amateur dancers, but the work is so good that they should be on Broadway.
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, but it did play an important role in American history.
The day is also important to many Mexican New Yorkers because people from the region of Puebla are one of the biggest groups of New Yorkers with a Mexican heritage.
Calpulli “Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo”
The show premiered at the Queens Theatre in 2019. It’s become an annual tradition at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey.
In the 1860s, France planned to capture Mexico’s economy and create a base from which to restore French power in the Americas. They planned to join the U.S. Civil War on the confederate side (the southern slavers). If they were successful, our history might be completely different.
At the time, the French army was the most powerful in the world. They were the U.S. Marines of their day.
Mexico City is the capital of Mexico. Veracruz is the Mexican gateway to the Caribbean. Puebla is a town on the road from Veracruz to Mexico City.
In May 1862, the U.S. Civil War was still a toss-up. There was no clear winner.
On the fifth of May 1862, a small Mexican force defeated the great French army in the Battle of Puebla. This surprise forced the French to retreat and regroup. This delayed their advance on Mexico City.
By the time the French were able to take Mexico, Union forces had gathered strength and begun the long defeat of the Southern forces. It was too late for the French to join the war.
So Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) commemorates the Battle of Puebla. It celebrates the fact that on this day, against all odds, a small group of devoted Mexican defenders defeated the most powerful army in the world.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is only celebrated in Puebla. In the United States it has become a national celebration of Mexican American culture. It’s the busiest day at Mexican restaurants across the country. They can use the business. “Buen provecho.”
So go celebrate and now you know what you are celebrating.