Show Up! Eight straight days of African culture in New Mexico
 Alibi V.20 No.21 • May 26-June 1, 2011 

Show Up!

Let’s Mabina!

Camp and concerts feature African music and dance

Rujeko Dumbutshena, Camp Mabina’s founder, leads a dance workshop.
Rujeko Dumbutshena, Camp Mabina’s founder, leads a dance workshop.
If you’re excited by the idea of eight straight days of dancing, singing, drumming and learning about African culture with renowned teachers from all over the continent, read on. This week marks the beginning of Camp Mabina and the first of two big concerts surrounding the camp’s many workshops.

“Mabina” is a Congolese word meaning dance. “I think that dance reflects life,” says Rujeko Dumbutshena, Zimbabwean performer and teacher (formerly in UNM’s dance department) and Camp Mabina’s founder. “African dance is literally like a mimicking of different activities, daily activities.” Held on Synergia Ranch, located in the high desert prairie near Santa Fe, the 12th annual camp features classes in song, drums, marimba, yoga, history, African and Haitian dance, and more. Teachers are coming from seven countries—five of them African—and several courses overlap each day, all day. These range from beginning to advanced levels. Dumbutshena says some of the people who go have danced for years, but others haven’t ever danced before. She encourages novices to spend at least a whole day, take a few classes, eat the meals and even camp overnight in order to get a full experience.

An opening celebration, produced by AMP at the Balloon Museum, includes performances by venerable South African singer, dancer and drummer Lucky Moyo, who has played concerts for two decades in more than 30 countries. Dumbutshena herself—well-trained in both Western and African dance traditions, and a cast member of the acclaimed Broadway show Fela!—will also perform.

Although Camp Mabina is pan-African, Dumbutshena likes to put some focus on artists from her country. The closing concert at The Cooperage will feature Zimbabwean teachers from this year’s camp. Guests will also take the stage over the course of the night—expect guitarist and vocalist Zivanai Masango, members of local band Wagogo, and perhaps even some of the audience. The events should feel like parties and will be very interactive. Dumbutshena agrees that everyone should get on their feet. “It’s my mission to have people dance as much as they can because I think it’s a healthy and fun activity,” she says. “And African dance is kind of geared for everybody to do it.”

Zimbabwe Music and Dance Extravaganza

Friday, May 27, 12:30 p.m.
Balloon Museum
9201 Balloon Museum NE
Tickets: Free with admission to the Balloon Museum ($3 adults, $1 kids, free for children 3 and under)

Camp Mabina African Music and Dance Camp

Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. through Saturday, June 4, 11 p.m.
Synergia Ranch
26 Synergia Road, Santa Fe
Ticket info at

Closing Concert

Sunday, June 5, 7:30 p.m.
The Cooperage
7220 Lomas NE
Tickets: $15 advance, $20 day of show