As the Global DanceFest Crow flies

As the crow flies. Northwest out of Maputo over the South African Transvaal, Botswana, Angola and a very long stretch of the Atlantic, probably crossing just below coastal Liberia and Sierra Leone and into New York City.  The first leg of Global DanceFest’s spring dance trajectory.

Some of the Africa Consortium gang in town

Panaibra Gabriel Canda and Jorge Conceicao have just completed their round trip journey from Maputo to Albuquerque but, not being crows, they had to detour through places like Houston and Frankfurt. In any case a far journey. Fortunately there is Global DanceFest to spend all those hours in economy class so you don’t have to! Panaibra’s Time and Spaces: The Marrabenta Solos offered an unambiguous perspective on colonial and post-colonial African experiences of which we in the US have little knowledge. The dance and music were exhilarating and profound. Totally enjoyable but with ample meaning to ponder.   

A Visit to Purple Jesus


The Mysterious Mr. Petronio

NOW for Week Two which begins with the Global DanceFest Crow flying out from New York. Referred to by our friends on the East and West coasts as flyover country, we prefer to think of it as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and then on into Albuquerque’s Sunport.  

Those amazing Petronio dancers

STEPHEN PETRONIO has come to town. For the fourth time. Making a lot of people very happy. The Stephen Petronio Company will perform at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Friday and Saturday nights (March 18 & 19) at 8pm. Much of the work presented by GDF incorporates narrative about place and time and events, always with superb dance and music, etc. and we love that. But every now and then, it is good to simply revel in pure dance, to let the energy and gloriousness of unique movement and brilliant dancers take over! And nobody offers that opportunity better than Stephen and his dancers.  

Back in NYC the crosstown traffic is very slow

Petronio company visits are always great dance events and friendly happenings. The first time in 2001 an almost full house at the KiMo braved roads of glare ice to attend. At a later performance at Rodey and my four-year-old granddaughter’s first contemporary dance event, she leaned over to me and, in a very carrying whisper, said, “Grandma, why are the boys dancing in their underwear?” causing many nearby chuckles. During one early visit, Stephen, looking every inch the very hip downtown New Yorker was refused entry to a Central Avenue club because of his shaved head and baggy cargo pants—the door guy apparently convinced he was a dangerous back-east gangster. But the company keeps coming back—for enchiladas, big skies, dust and ice storms and because we love them.

Road Trip: Maputo to Albuquerque—by way of Global DanceFest!

Jorge … on the road

Looking for the Saloon.

Last Sunday Panaibra Gabriel Canda, Jorge Domingos and I drove the 10, 17 and 40 from LA to Albuquerque. Panaibra and Jorge had just spent a week in Los Angeles and previewed Time and Spaces: The Marrabenta Solos at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica. Great crowd…great glimpse of what’s happening in Albuquerque tonight (and last night). The road trip inspired space awe in our Mozambican guests. While Mozambique has some wild unsettled territory I believe it is mostly tree-covered so this was Panaibra and Jorge’s first glimpse of the real life big skies big mountains big cacti big highways of the southwest. Panaibra was especially taken with place names such as “Two Guns.” Breakfast at McDonald’s, dinner at Cracker Barrel…all we lacked was a drink in the Blazing Guns Saloon!

Found a cowgirl!

 Last night Panaibra and Jorge gave us Time and Spaces, a strong and beautiful piece of dance and music exploring the varied identities of Mozambique, the country, and Mozambicans, the people, since the days of colonization. I believe that one of the most direct and powerful ways to share human experiences is through dance and Time and Spaces proves that is the case! It gives Albuquerqueans a chance to share an hour with our compatriots in Maputo through the power of a dance and the beauty of the music that inspired it.


It just keeps getting better………

 The N4th Theater was at its most inviting last night; the reception goodies were tasty and cleverly-arranged so the golden olive oil glistening on the humus next to the orange and green sorbet matched the table cloths exactly and were happily joined by gleaming bottles of South African red and white. The post-performance discussion was insightful as only the most curious questioners and thoughtful responders can make it.

Panaibra’s last visit–(IN)DEPENDENCE

 A nice addition to the evening was author Jonna-Lynn Mandelbaum books about Mozambique and her joining Panaibra and Jorge for the discussion. We have wanted to add a literary component to Global DanceFest for a long time—hopefully we can make this an ongoing program bonus. Hope you all are here tonight!