The eighth annual festival is as vigorous as ever--perhaps even more than ever. This year organizers have brought the Iwisa Music and Dance Company from Zimbabwe to Chicago, where they've been in residence for a month, giving free performances that amply demonstrate their vocal and kinetic talents. A group of nine young men--none is older than 22--they started performing together as students at Nkukumane High School in Bulawayo, the country's second largest city. And they've retained the high spirits and good humor of schoolboys, winking at the audience, sharing private jokes, and generally cutting up for our amusement--particularly during their version of the South African gum boot dance and their a cappella songs. Their renditions of traditional warrior dances are more sober but masterful, accompanied only by their own singing, shouting, stamping, and clapping. Also on the program is Rennie Harris PureMovement, the hip-hop group from Philadelphia that wowed DanceAfrica fans at the Medinah Temple in 1995, then appeared last spring in the more genteel confines of the Museum of Contemporary Art for a full-length program. The African American Dance Ensemble, headed by DanceAfrica griot Chuck Davis, also performs, as well as Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas from Cuba and Los Hermanos Cepeda from Puerto Rico ("Dos Alas/Two Wings," which appeared at the MCA earlier this fall) and Urban Credo, a newly formed student company from three Chicago high schools. Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8, and Sunday at 2 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; $14-$22. Call 312-902-1500 or 312-360-9276 for tickets; 312-458-9034 for group rates. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.