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Beyond the Bush

"Sassy, strong and relevant" is how the Urban Bush Women describe themselves. Since 1984, this New York City ensemble has sought to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of the disenfranchised to light through dance. Their latest collaboration — in which they join the men of Compagnie Jant-Bi, a Senegalese dance troupe, to create Les ecailles de la memoire, or The Scales of Memory — does just that.

In a show the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called "the real deal, an almost perfect balance of life and theatrical art," short dance scenes explore cultural memory, shared history, identity, spirituality and gender in light of the legacy of slavery. The blend of UBW's modern American style with Jant-Bi's African dance gives strength to the notion that even as language, culture and geography divide people, stories and memories connect them.

Jant-Bi has a history of partnering with other world dance institutions and taking on such weighty topics as genocide. The group also organizes international conferences to discuss dance relative to the fields of art, society, education, health and research. UBW and Jant-Bi perform "The Scales of Memory" tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Join both groups for a free Behind the Curtain pre-show lecture at 6:30. For tickets, $25 to $49, call 303-871-7720; for information, go to
Sat., March 22, 7:30 p.m., 2008


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