LEWISTON – The Bates Dance Festival will present a weeklong focus on the performing arts of contemporary Africa. Highlights include a screening of the acclaimed film “Movement (R)evolution,” talks with noted dance scholar and filmmaker Joan Frosch and “Africa/NOW,” a performance by African artists Nora Chipaumire and Gregory Maqoma.

Chipaumire is known for provocative and politically relevant dances that illuminate the struggles of human identity in an increasingly borderless world. She will present an excerpt from “Chimurenga,” a post-revolution solo that uses movement, film, text and sound to confront the personal and collective trauma of surviving Zimbabwe’s second war of liberation.

Featuring the music of Thomas Mapfumo, this multimedia performance memoir moves from recollections of a childhood filled with violence into a celebration of life.

Chipaumire investigates the collaborative process within the cultural, political, economic, and technological identities of African contemporary life. She was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, during the Chimurenga Chechipiri, or second war of liberation. A self-exiled artist now based in New York, she has been a featured dancer with the world-renowned Urban Bush Women for three years.

Her work is inspired by art from her native country, such as shona sculpture and chimurenga music – art that results from the often violent convergence of rural/urban, African/nonAfrican, cultural, economic, colonial and technological ideas.

A visionary African contemporary dance artist, her work speaks to the human condition with power, authority and urgency.

Maqoma is one of the most talented choreographers to emerge from the new generation of South African artists. He will perform an excerpt from his new solo, “Beautiful Me,” created with choreographers Akram Khan, Faustin Linyekula and Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe. The work is a connection to tradition and style that Maqoma has translated to reflect his choreographic landscape and body.

“Beautiful Me” includes an original score by four South African musicians who specialize in distinctive instrumental intonations using sitar, violin, cello and percussion.

Described as a “visionary,” “the gentle enfant terrible of South African Dance” and “an original post-modern African Renaissance man,” Maqoma is founder and artistic director of Vuyani Dance Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received his training in South Africa and in Belgium.

As a choreographer, teacher, dancer, artistic consultant and creative director, he has taught and presented work in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Finland, Burkina Faso, Austria, Nigeria, France, Senegal, Norway, Belgium, Germany, United States and South Africa. His awards, accolades and nominations include the FNB Dance Umbrella Choreographer of The Year, Standard Bank Young Artist for The Year and Gauteng MEC Award for Choreography.

A Rolex Mentor and Protégé Award finalist as well as a Daimler Chrysler Choreography Award finalist, Maqoma serves as associate artistic director for Moving Into Dance and artistic director of The Afro Vibes Festival in the Netherlands. He is founding member of MUiSA (Multi Arts Initiative of South Africa).

Related events

Besides the main stage performance, the Bates Dance Festival is offering several free and low-cost events focused on African contemporary dance. Filmmaker and scholar Joan Frosch will screen and discuss her film, “Movement (R)evolution,” a portrait of the vibrant contemporary dance scene in Africa, at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St., Bates College.

“Inside Dance: Understanding Contemporary Dance,” a preperformance lecture led by Joan Frosch offering insight into “Africa/NOW” artists and their work, will take place at 7:15 p.m. Friday, July 25, in Schaeffer Theatre.

For information on tickets and other details, log on to www.batesdancefestival.org.

Go and do

WHAT: “Africa/NOW,” an evening of compelling and provocative solo dances

WHO: Choreographers Gregory Maqoma of South Africa and Nora Chipaumire of Zimbabwe

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 25-26

WHERE: Schaeffer Theatre, 365 College St., Bates College

TICKETS: $20/$12; call 786-6161

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