Posts Tagged ‘folkloric dance’


Art, Music, Film, Dance: CCU BUAP Offers It All

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Complejo Cultural Universitario“Through art and culture, the Complejo Cultural Universitario provides a stage on which we’re able to demonstrate how modern the state of Puebla and the nation of Mexico are and offer a benchmark of modernity in the world,” Enrique Agüera Ibáñez told at a recent art opening. Agüera is rector of the Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, the state’s oldest and largest public university, and the man ultimately responsible for the auxiliary campus’s construction.

If establishing a “benchmark of modernity” sounds like a tall order, it is. But since its grand opening in 2008, the cultural complex has hosted scores of world-class events, such as the Ciudad de la Ideas conference, concerts by international pop stars (from Enrique Iglesias to Morrissey), major art exhibitions, and live broadcasts of the New York Metropolitan Opera. It’s also mounted diverse national and regional fairs, festivals, and competitions celebrating literature, theater, music, arts and crafts, major holidays, and more. Add to that folkloric dance performances, movie screenings, hands-on workshops for adults and children, a well-stocked bookstore, and several restaurants with valet parking and, at the very least, Agüera seems to be putting his money where his mouth is.

Musicians perform at an artisanal fair at the CCU BUAP.“It’s important to note that, from Río Bravo to Patagonia, no other facility like the Complejo Cultural Universitario exists with the concept of integrating several areas dedicated to art, culture, and academics—much less one created by a public university, as is our case,” the university boasts on its website. To create the space, the BUAP invested some $69 million USD in the 945,900-square-foot facility, sourcing all of its materials in Puebla and creating some 3,000 jobs in the process, the online newspaper Periódico Digital reports.

Ciudad de las Ideas conference at the CCU BUAP, Puebla, Mexico (2010)Although the complex’s architectural design is decidedly minimalistic — its stark white exterior resembles a blank canvas — its devotion the liberal arts and regional culture is anything but. Beyond curating scores of events every month, what truly sets the institution apart from the rest is that many of its festivals, exhibitions, and other activities are free and open to the public, including students, residents, and tourists. The only drawback: You’ll pay about 100 pesos to get there from the historic center of Puebla in a taxi, or you’ll need to figure out how to get there by bus.

What’s On at the CCU BUAP

Here are a half dozen notable events (three of which are free) currently scheduled at the Complejo Cultural Universitario, which is located at Vía Atlixcáyotl #2499 in Zona Angelopolis. For a complete list of activities, visit its website. For other events happening in Puebla, check out our events calendar.

Today through Oct. 21 Renown Zapotec painter and sculptor Alejandro Santiago pays tribute to women of the world in this mixed-media exhibition of 21 works on display in the Galería de Arte, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Free.

Sept. 29 Los Mariacheros, flamenco guitarists Bufón Acústico, singer Itzel Lampallas, and the musical group El Cayuco perform in the Andador Cultural starting at 2 p.m. Free.

Oct. 6 The Canadian punk band Simple Plan rock the auditorium, 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost 270 to 880 pesos, available at

Oct. 20-27: 1er Festival Angelopolitano de Danza 2012, the first such conference organized by the CCU BUAP’s Contemporary Dance Company, includes lectures, roundtable discussions, a choreography competition, dance presentations, and more. All day. Free.

Nov. 8-10 Ciudad de las Ideas 2012, a TED-like conference of brilliant minds takes place in the Auditorio, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Speakers to include Craig Venter and John Underkoffler. Tickets cost 4,300 pesos, available from the organizers.

Nov. 17 Gloria Trevi, who’s been called the Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop, brings her live show to the Auditorio, 8:29 p.m. Tickets cost 210 to 1,800 pesos at Superboletos.

—Rebecca Smith Hurd

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Dance Troupe Preserves, Promotes Puebla’s Culture

Monday, January 10th, 2011

La Compañía de Danza Regional de Puebla performs at the cultural center.Dance has been an important part of Mexican culture for centuries, from rituals performed by early indigenous peoples to the ballroom dancing brought to fiestas by Europeans in more modern times. Like other folkloric troupes around the world, Puebla’s regional dance company strives to preserve these traditional forms of artistic expression in its performances. For the past decade, the group has performed a free show most Saturday nights — called Las Noches Poblanas — at the cultural center downtown. The next round of performances gets under way Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to continue through February.

The free show is highly recommended for poblanos and people who visit Puebla.

The 90-minute presentation celebrates pre-Hispanic, revolutionary, and other important periods in Puebla’s history through dance, theater, and music. The dancers perform on the central patio of the Casa de la Cultura (5 Oriente #5), surrounded by the audience seated on folding chairs. If you arrive early, it’s usually fairly easy to find a spot, and those in the front row should be prepared for anything, from being asked to dance or getting splashed with rainwater should it cover the floor (as it did the night we attended). A local favorite is this lively rendition of “Que Chula es Puebla” in which the women are dressed china poblana-style.

Sergio Alamilla of Veracruz, who saw the show with his parents, recalls: “Suddenly, a man came out onstage, with background music and monologue representing the customs and idiosyncrasies of the inhabitants of the valley of Puebla at the time. …In the next act, a group of dancers dressed in elaborate costumes surprised everyone, not only for their ability, but for their exquisite sense of artistry.”

“I have to confess that I’ve never really liked folklore,” Alamilla added, “but … these people knew what they were doing, and they did it magnificently.”

Director Jorge Armando Castañeda founded the regional dance company 25 years ago, bringing together 150 dancers to showcase the artistic qualities of Puebla. The Noches Poblanas program, which is sponsored by the state government, has enjoyed a 10-year run. To date, the troupe has performed many other shows in Mexico and traveled internationally to share Puebla’s culture throughout the Americas and in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The building’s history dates back much further, to 1595, when it began as the College of St. John. Students were taught subjects such as philosophy and morality. When the Catholic bishop Juan de Palafox arrived in Puebla in the mid-1600s, he integrated St. John’s with two other schools to form the Tridentine Seminary and opened the first public library in the New World. Since 1974, the site has housed the cultural center and its diverse events, from folkloric dances and art exhibits to films, workshops, and conferences.


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