School of Education News

UW-Madison's Walker to perform at Winnipeg’s Moving Inspirations Dance Festival

November 03, 2017

UW-Madison's Chris Walker will perform two of his solo mas works, which were recently performed on campus in his concert “Unmasked,” October 19-20, in the upcoming Moving Inspirations Dance Festival, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 2-4.

Walker is a faculty member with the School of Education's Dance Department.

Chris Walker
The festival, which will feature the best dance makers from Montreal, New York, Toronto, Calgary, South Africa/France, Mozambique, Halifax and Winnipeg, is a gathering of contemporary African dance choreographers and dance artists and a sharing of cultural diverse and contemporary dance practice. Walker was invited to present his solo works during the Friday Showcase, which takes place at the Gas Station Art Centre in Winnipeg.

Audiences will see “Obàtálá,” Walker’s newest choreography on stilts, based on his research of Orisha dance in Brazil, Trinidad and Cuba. It explores human spirituality and our attempts of connecting to a higher power and to each other, informing how we relate to the spaces around us. The mas Walker will play is a Moko Jumbie by Makeda Thomas and fabricated by Gregory Young for the New Waves! 2017 mas presentation "Whitewash" which took place in New York City early September 2017.  

Walker will also present a new performance art work titled  “Unmasked” featuring Seaweed King, a mas character developed in collaboration with visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata for “What Lives Beneath” commissioned by TBA21 and presented at The Current, Convening, The Kula Ring in Jamaica. The project is a cross-disciplinary performance addressing climate change. Based on firsthand experiences, research and ancient wisdom, “Unmasked”  charts the physical and emotional relationship maintained with the ocean and the urgent need for collective transformation.  Walker’s choreography with this mas explores that which is lost, refused and extinct.

These two solo works are a part of a larger collection of works that delve deep into the contemporary art of Caribbean ‘mas’ that is steeped in West Indian Carnival tradition.  The works reveal ongoing connections between African Diasporic continuities like dancehall, soca and hip hop and West African practices that inform them, and celebrate freedom, spirituality, and our relationships with one another and the planet through Carnival culture of critical engagement through costume, music, and movement. 

“Obàtálá”and “Unmasked” will be performed Friday, November 3 in the 8:00 p.m. Showcase Presentation of the Moving Inspirations Dance Festival, at the Gas Station Art Centre, 445 River Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased online at Tickets can be picked up at the box-office one hour prior to the start of the show and will require ID. For more about the festival visit the Facebook event.

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