Saturday, September 10

Showtime: 7:30 PM

Chautauqua Auditorium

$35.00 ($30.00 Concert Member), $17.50 Student, $18.00 children under 10

Launching its 46th anniversary season, the internationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRD) returns to Chautauqua Auditorium for a fourth season with a powerful and evocative evening of dance.

This year, as a member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, CPRD is offering a special student price to further expand audience attendance for an evening abundant with dance and culture from around the world.

The evening features two seminal CPRD repertory works: the world premiere of “MictlanRx,” and a performance of “Bamboula: Musicians’ Brew.”

MictlanRx is an original work created for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) Ensemble by Mexican artists Betsy Pardo and guest-artist-in-residence, Jairo Heli, lead choreographer of Crisol Dance, a company based in Guadalajara. This is CPRD’s third collaboration with Crisol Dance, with each of these companies having performed in the other’s country. CPRD is the first American dance company to recognize and perform a work reflective of the long-ignored Afro-Mestizo culture.

MictlanRx (Mictlan defined as a traditional place of the dead) showcases the life and struggles of indigenous and Afro-Mexican people, represented through an audacious and avant-garde dance vocabulary complemented by the musical arrangements of Edwin Bandala. Why Rx? Heli views the preservation and recognition of cultural traditions and identity as a much-needed method of healing against the ills of contemporary society. MictlanRx’s music combines sounds and rhythms extracted from Afro-Mexican traditional music, bridging the vast cultures of Mexico’s Pacific and Atlantic coastal regions. The lighting design by Heli and Gustavo Dominguez accents a performance which provokes an awakening to another culture through non-conventional aesthetics, sounds and movements.

MictlanRx also marks the recent ethnic and cultural acknowledgement of Africans in Mexico by the Mexican government. MictlanRx urges us to reflect on how our current socio-economic systems influence diverse indigenous and Afro-Mestizo communities. How are they consumed in body and soul by the modern world? How do they begin their spiritual journey to Mictlan, a place where everything is festive, warm, colorful, and where life never ends and everyone is equal.

Bamboula – Musicians’ Brew (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble World Premiere 2015). Commissioned through the New England Federation for the Arts National Dance Project and The National Performance Network Creation Fund, this work emerges from choreographer Millicent Johnnie’s research into the connections between the Zulu minstrel parades of New Orleans and the Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa. The deep connections of African culture found in both represents a continuum of Black consciousness, transforming the national art form of blackface minstrelsy into the reclamation of blackface as an African aesthetic. Post-apartheid, we can now openly recognize and question our connections to South Africa through the undeniable link of Africa to New Orleans and America to Cape Town.