(photo of Nora Chipaumire from NYAFF website)

Today begins the New York African Film Festival, at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. I love New York for things like this — particularly the Walter Reade, which most often hosts the foreign film festivals here. There are loads of intriguing-looking films showing as part of the NYAFF — comedies, tragedies, tragicomedies, political, historical, documentary — you name it. One, in particular, caught my dancing eye: Nora, about Nora Chipaumire of Urban Bush Women. I’d seen her dance at Jacob’s Pillow two years ago and she really blew me away. The film is about her return to her native Zimbabwe, where she remembers her youth. According to the description, the film “brings her history to life through performance, dance, sound, and image” and “includes a multitude of local performers and dancers of all ages.” Famed Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo composed the music. It’s showing together with another film, Coming of Age, about Kenya’s road to democracy as seen through the eyes of a young girl. There are so many films. The festival runs at the Walter Reade through the 14th, then travels to Columbia University and then Brooklyn Academy of Music. Visit their website for the full schedule.

Then, April 15th begins the Catalan Days Festival, a NYC-wide celebration of all things from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. This festival includes free food samplings, plays, film, music, literature, and of course dance. The Baryshnikov Arts Center is the main host of the dance events. Visit BAC for a dance schedule, and the Catalan Days website for the full lineup. Happily, this festival runs all the way through mid-May.

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