Director and Choreographer: Kareli Montoya
Kareli Montoya's career in the folklórico and mariachi world began at the young age of seven at a community park in the city of Commerce, CA. Throughout her childhood Kareli had the fortune of learning from the best instructors in California and the U.S. such as Maria Venegas (founder of the Ballet Folklórico del Sur de California), and folklorico pioneer, Benjamin Hernandez (founding member of the Ballet Folklórico de la U de G and founder of professional company Mexicapan). At the age of twelve, Kareli was invited to form part of professional dance company, Danza Teocalt, directed by Miguel Angel Diaz, where she was given the opportunity to tour with Grammy Award-Winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano. At age fifteen she became the youngest dancer ever given the opportunity to perform at the legendary La Fonda de Los Camperos where she danced every week for three years. In 2009, Kareli and three other dance colleagues founded Folklor Pasión Mexicana, a professional dance company. While in this company she performed in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade, the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival, and shared the stage with various famous mariachi bands such as Mariachi Vargas and Mariachi Los Camperos. In 2011, after graduating from California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in Social Work, Kareli travelled to Colima, Mexico where she studied and performed with internationally known Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima directed by folklórico icon and sculptor Rafael Zamarripa. After returning from Colima Kareli founded Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles in 2011 and founded BFLA Performing Arts Academy, currently known as the Ballet Folklorico Company, in 2013. Kareli has co-produced 6 concerts for Star Entertainment, a non-profit production company owned by Dr. Raul Ruiz, that has created high quality cultural concerts for over ten years. Kareli has choreographed over 50 original pieces for her dance company, Mitu, Lilit Hovhannisyan, the San Bernardino Symphony and the Culver City Symphony. In March of 2017 she choreographed the Mariachi Remake of "A Tale as Old as Time" for Mitu Network. The video went viral at nearly 14 million views in less than a month! Kareli recently co-choreographed a magical performance for Pixar's new movie "Coco" at the 2017 D23 Expo along with her colleague, Rafael Garcia Cruz. In 2017 she also choreographed for the "Coco" Premiere, Co-choreographed (with Nika Kljun) and performed with Banda El Recodo and Lila Downs for the Latin Grammy's, and assisted Arlem Chigvintsev with his choreopgraphy of "Remember Me," on Dancing With the Stars. Get to know Maestra Kareli through her Folklorico Blog and Tutorials!