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Urban 15 Provides A Modern Take On The Dia De Los Muertos Tradition

Ramin Samandari
Magical Realism Studios
Urban 15 at Elmendorf Lake

Catherine and George Cisneros' Urban 15 is known for taking culture and giving it a soundtrack that makes you want to move.

“We perform with music and with dance, and we bring in the community who dance with us," Catherine Cisneros said.

But despite the festive drumming and dancing, what they're doing for Dia de los Muertos isn’t just entertainment.

IF YOU GO WHAT: Urban 15 Dia de los Muertos procession WHEN: On Friday, 7 p.m. at Institute of Texan Cultures; 8:30 p.m. at Centro Cultural Aztlan; 10 p.m. at the Lone Star Art Space COST:  Free (a $3 donation suggested)

"For us, it's the recognition of our dear loved ones that are on the other side," she said.

While Urban 15's take on Dia de los Muertos is thoroughly modern, its roots are anything but.

"These are very ancient traditions from Aztec culture but that — combined with Catholicism — that's what the intricacy of this is," she said.

George Cisneros said each year they partner with other non-profits for their Dia de los Muertos processions, and this year they will be working with the Institute of Texan Cultures, the Instituto Mexicano at Plaza Mexico at Centro Aztlan, and the Lone Star Neighborhood Association.

Cisneros said Urban 15 takes the tradition of creating an altar but then they make it move.

"The procession actually is a choreographed moving altar because the characters in our ensemble, the decorations, the costumes, the lighting that we create are very much as if you were seeing a memorial altar in motion,” he said. “We kind of bring them to life.”

Catherine Cisneros said the public participation part of the performances is good for the whole family.

"After we do our ritual performances, then we get up and we bring people in and we bring children in and we bring everyone in to dance with us."

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii