Tsipekua

Celebration of dead and living stories of Mexico through immersive theater and interactive art installations.

Immersive event

Creative Director • Producer • Scenic Designer
2022 and 2023

CalArts Day of the Dead Celebration 2023

This week-long festival was a profound homage to the enduring spirit of a culture, a testament to the unyielding soul that defines its people. Through the universal mediums of music and dance, we captured the intricate dance of life and death, the seamless melding of spiritual and material worlds, and the harmonious blend of diverse cultural elements.


The hummingbird, our chosen spirit guide, perfectly symbolized this year's theme. Esteemed for its unique capability to bridge different worlds, the hummingbird reflects the essence of the Day of the Dead. This celebration honors the delicate balance between life and death, where the spirits of the departed reunite with the living, creating a sacred nexus between realms. The hummingbird's significance was further amplified by the profound Mesoamerican concept of Ometeotl, representing the inherent duality in existence and the creative force intertwining all facets of life. This theme of duality, illustrated through the cyclic dance of opposites—light and dark, warmth and cold, life and death—echoed throughout the event.


The event was a hub of artistic synergy. We dedicated spaces to the amalgamation of diverse art forms, creating an ambiance where artistic expressions from varied backgrounds merged seamlessly. A diverse coalition of artists—encompassing dancers, vocalists, actors, percussionists, composers, and more—lent their unique talents, crafting a narrative that flowed smoothly across different spaces and eras. The performance featured an array of musical renditions on Indigenous Mesoamerican instruments, a traditional P'urhépecha folk dance group, the CalArts Latin American Ensemble, and a Bolero Band.


Embracing an experiential design approach, the CalArts Main Gallery was transformed into "Anahuac", the fabled "land between waters" where the roots of Mexico were sown. Within this gallery space, traditional decorations harmoniously converged with an altar placed at its heart. Here, members of the CalArts community were invited to honor their departed loved ones by contributing cherished objects, personal mementos, and photographs of those they want to remember on Day of the Dead.


Concept Art


As the pages of Mexican history continue to be written, Tsipekua 2023 stands as a vivid constellation, seamlessly threading together myriad relationships and contradictions. It reveals a culture where contrasts intertwine in a rich and stunning composition, representing a community where the essence of existence is defined by harmonious coexistence and shared identity.

Credits: Tsipekua 2023

Co-director and Playwright
Jeannette Srinivasan

Chroeographer
Dulce Escobedo

Directing Consultant
Ilse Castro

Sound Technician
Joshua Salgado

Music Composer and Sound Designer
Pablo Leñero

Indigenous Instruments of Mesoamerica Music Performance
“México Atemporal” Christopher Garcia and Pablo Leñero

Scenic Design Team
Nicholas Sasano • Victoria Solorio • Gerardo Quintata Bernal • Bonnie Kim • HongJu Lee • Nicholas Sasano • Xiaoke Zhang

Mural Design (Conceptual Phase)
Antoine Couttolenc Camacho

Costume Design Team
Arthur Siprut • Briana Newson • Artemis Wiegand

CalArts Latin American Music Ensemble Coordinator
Julianne Sillona

Bolero Band Coordinator
Chris Galindo

Lighting Assistance
Miles Karraa

Cast
Josephine Nuñez • Jared Perez • Linda Paola Varela • Gerardo Quintata Bernal

P’urhépecha Folk Dance
Danza de Los Viejitos Corazón Alegre

Film and Photography Team

Xochitl Cruz • Fernanda Jurado • Alejandra Sanchez • Juliana Webster
Watercolor Workshop FacilitatorPolaris Castillo

Volunteers
Jordanna Peronico • Miranda Rosales

Sponsors
Blick Art Materials, Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, Student Art & Leadership Initiative, CalArts School of Theater, Nick England Intercultural Arts Project, CalArts Student Union.

Special thanks
Everyone who volunteered and participated throughout the week, the CalArts Latin American Ensemble, Margarita Medina, José Antonio Aguirre, Christina Dailey, Taso Dimitriadis, Shannon Scrofano, Evelyn Serrano, the Solorio family.

Dedicated to those who keep alive the stories and traditions of their heritage, transcending the boundaries of life and death.


Credits: Tsipekua in Gloria Molina Grand Park 2023
Scenic Design and Fabrication Team
Victoria Solorio • Gerardo Quintata Bernal • HongJu Lee • Xiaoke Zhang

Sponsors
Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles and Blick Art Materials


Credits: Tsipekua 2022

Co-director and Playwright
Jeannette Srinivasan

Associate Producer
Elizabeth Zaragoza

Mural Consultant and Coordinator
Marlene Solorio

Scenic Design Team
Victoria Solorio • Tilda Seo • Bonnie Kim • Jennifer Park • Ryan Meglino • Shannon M Siegel • Macine Johnson • HongJu Lee • Zoë Lappin • Erika Salazar

Costume Design Team
Karen Ayala • Margot le Duy

Sound Designers
Joshua Salgado • Ashray Harishankar

Lighting Designer
Alejandro Melendez

Stage Manager
Mia Condon 

Sculpture Artist
Nikki Ochoa

Photography and Film Team
Fernanda Jurado • Gabriela Gonzalez • Sedona Cruz • Alejandra Sanchez • Emiliano Aguirre

Makeup Designers
Alexa Orovitz • Arson Kim

Cast
Grant García • Maria Jurado • Linda Paola Varela • Nina Malinow • Ember Vinci • Atlas Molina

Sponsors
Student Art & Leadership Initiative, CalArts School of Theater, Nick England Intercultural Arts Project, CalArts Student Union.

Special thanks
Everyone who volunteered and participated throughout the week, José Antonio Aguirre, Christina Dailey, Taso Dimitriadis, Brenda Ivelisse, Shannon Scrofano, Evelyn Serrano, the Solorio family.

Dedicated to the people Mexican at heart around the world who have made it possible for us to share these stories with you.