There are any number of reasons a collaboration between Urban Bush Women's Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Senegalese choreographer Germaine Acogny might have struck both women as auspicious. Widely hailed as the mother of contemporary African dance, Acogny has long been to the African continent what Zollar has more recently become to ours namely, the foremost female dance innovator on her chunk of the globe bridging modern and African-derived traditions. But it was the realization that the two create work in similar ways that inspired their joint project, Les écailles de la mémoire (The Scales of Memory). Both knit their pieces from the thread of the dancers' personal histories and experiences a fitting process for the project, which explores the complex mesh of ethnicity, place, and identity. Factor in gender the premiere pairs seven African men from Acogny's all-male Compagnie Jant-Bi with seven African-American women from the all-female Bush Women and a kaleidoscope of racial and social intricacies emerges to make Barack Obama's race speech pale in comparison.
Sun., April 6, 8 p.m., 2008