Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles
Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles (BFLA) was founded in 2011 by Kareli Montoya. Though young, the dance company has already distinguished itself as the nation's premier Mexican folk dance company. They have performed in world-class venues such as the Anaheim Convention Center, Orpheum Theater, Nokia Theater, Greek Theater, John Anson Ford Amphitheater, Santa Barbara Bowl, Valley Performing Arts Center and the Staples Center, among others. The dance company has worked with Grammy-Award-Winning Artists such as Lila Downs, Pepe Aguilar, Mariachi Divas and Mariachi Los Camperos. BFLA has also been accompanied by Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, world-famous Mariachi Vargas and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar. Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles has shared the stage with bands celebrities such as Ana Barbara, Morrissey, Ruben (Cafe Tacuba), Las Cafeteras, Beatriz Adriana, Paquita la del Barrio, Empress Of, and Armenian pop star Lilit Hovhannisyan. This amazing dance troop was the the first folklórico company in the country to accompany a Symphony; the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Marina del Rey Symphony orchestra, both conducted by Frank Fetta. In 2016, BFLA was featured in the cover of National Geographic Traveller UK.
2017 was a year full of surprises. BFLA collaborated with Mitu Network on a Mariachi Remake of Beauty and the Beast's "A Tale as Old as Time," featuring Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar and BFLA's Director, Kareli Montoya. The video went viral on Facebook at 15 million views (and counting)!
They recently had the opportunity to work with Disney Studios on a magical performance in celebration of Pixar's new movie, "Coco," at the D23 Expo where they performed on stage with Benjamin Bratt, Grammy Award-Winning Mariachi Divas and the Grammy®-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. They also performed at the Coco Premiere at El Capitan Theatre and on Dancing With the Stars, "Disney Night." BFLA started 2018 with a BANG, performing Coco's Academy Award-Winning song, "Remember Me," on the 90th Annual Academy Awards alongside Natalia Lafourcade, Gael Garcia Bernal and Miguel.
Kareli Montoya’s career in the folklorico and mariachi world began at the young age of seven in a community park in her hometown of Commerce, CA. Throughout her childhood, Kareli had the fortune of learning from some of the best instructors in U.S. such as Maria Venegas, and folklórico pioneer, Benjamin Hernandez. At the age of twelve, she was invited to form part of professional dance company, Danza Teocalt de Miguel Angel Diaz, and given the opportunity to tour with Grammy Award-Winning, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano. At age fifteen, she became the youngest dancer to perform at the legendary La Fonda de Los Camperos, where she danced every week for three years. Between 2007-2011, Kareli performed at the Tournament of Roses Parade, and shared the stage with famous mariachi bands such as Mariachi Vargas, Mariachi Los Camperos, and Mariachi Divas. In 2011, after graduating from Cal State L.A. with a degree in Social Work, Kareli traveled to Colima, Mexico where she studied with the internationally known Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima, directed by folklórico icon and sculptor, Rafael Zamarripa. After returning from Colima, Kareli founded Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles and BFLA Performing Arts Academy, currently known as the Thee Academy.
Kareli is known for her extensive work as the “COCO” choreographer for Disney Studios. In 2017, she choreographed a magical performance with over 100 folklorico dancers that closed the Pixar presentations at the D23 Expo. Shortly after, she was asked to choreograph for the world premiere of the movie in Hollywood. Last year, Kareli appeared on “Dancing With the Stars,” where she assisted Artem Grigoryev with his choreography of the song “Remember Me.” Earlier this year, Kareli was assistant choreographer to Mandy Moore (Choreographer for the movie La La Land), at the 90th Academy Awards, where she performed to the Academy Award-Winning song “Remember Me.” This summer she assisted Cindy Stuart with the Disney On Ice COCO segment of the Mickey's Search Party Show.
Some of you may know Kareli as the “Mexican Belle” for the choreography she made and performed in Mitu’s Mariachi Remake of “A Tale as Old as Time.” The video went viral at over 16 million views and counting!
Kareli performed at the 2017 Latin Grammys, where she worked with world renowned choreographer, Nika Kjun on the number that was performed with Banda el Recodo and Lila Downs.
Get to know Meastra Kareli through her popular YouTube Folklorico Tutorials, Folklorico Podcasts, and Folklorico Blog!