The VSA North Fourth Arts Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) brings southern Africa to Albuquerque with Global DanceFest / JourneysAFRICA, Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. Since 2001, Global DanceFest has hosted groundbreaking contemporary dance from around the world, incorporating into the experience film, gallery exhibits and discussion. There's a lot to enjoy, so hang on to your unitard.
In the N4th Gallery, the Tamarind Institute presents the trickster, a series of lithographs by artists from both New Mexico pueblos and southern Africa that focus on visions of tricksters, a mainstay in the storytelling traditions of both cultures. The opening reception is on Friday, Oct. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. (The exhibit will run through Nov. 15, a few weeks after the festival has concluded.)
During each Friday and Saturday of the festival, take the opportunity to meet the artists and performers and understand their work in a larger way through a collection of programs, talks and more. Called IN CONTEXT, extras include post-performance discussions (free on Saturdays with admission, while on Fridays you can have a light dinner with host Gene Grant for $10), photography and readings related to the program themes of sharing and understanding. Films from Mozambique and South Africa will be shown on Saturdays, Oct. 24 and 31, at 1 p.m. Admission to the screenings is $5.
But at the heart of it all is dance. On Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24, see (In)dependence by Mozambique's Panaibra Gabriel and Maputo dance company. The group of dancers with and without disabilities explores themes of personal, cultural and political independence. On Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, Gregory Maqoma and the Vuyani Dance Theatre from South Africa present Beautiful Me. Maqoma blends movements with the music of a quartet (violin, cello, sitar and percussion) to tell a story of identity and love. All shows begin at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15, $10 students/seniors. For reservations and more information on this exciting festival, go to vsartsnm.org.