Manifesto:African dance informs not only my past but also my present and future. The arts create bridges that help to revitalize and uplift us as artists in ways that in turn benefit our communities. This road I have chosen travels two ways, as much as I help inspire my students, audiences, and communities, so am I equally inspired by them.
Biography: Rujeko Dumbutshena is a Zimbabwean-born dancer, pedagogue, and scholar who specializes in contemporary African dance. She is currently on the dance faculty at the Central New Mexico Community College. Before coming to New Mexico, she served as a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College for eight years. Rujeko is also a MFA candidate at the University of New Mexico. She teaches neo-traditional and contemporary African dance and is conducting scholarly research on the interplay of gender and power in the rainmaking rituals of communities in southern Africa.
Rujeko has directed African dance conferences and performance and has been invited to be a part of numerous productions, workshops and conferences. Her artistic career was propelled by being an original ensemble member in the Broadway musical production of FELA!. She was commissioned to produce a choreo-poem for the Smithsonian African Art Museum’s African Cosmos exhibit in 2013. In the same year, she became a BAM/De Vos Institute fellow. She was an artist in residence at the University of Rochester in November 2015 and Duke University in April 2016.
Artist Statement: As a Zimbabwean artist, I represent the roots of my people while embracing the vibrant evolution of our culture. African artists, who have become contenders in the contemporary arts world, inspire me to continue to find cultural expression through individual interpretation.
I have lived in the United States as an artist for more than half of my life. I am a product of two very different worlds that arm me with tools to produce and affect African arts and artists today. In my exploration of dance, I attempt to blend these worlds using my localized movement vocabulary to explore broader themes of gender, power and nature.
Being an immigrant artist, my work is shaped in a way that reflects my constant need to traverse a complex web of often opposing sentiments and beliefs. Artistic cross-cultural collaboration is necessary in shaping and fueling my own creativity. I enjoy the coming together of minds and the blending of mutual ideas that often result in original, innovative productions.
These collaborations with institutions, communities and individuals from all over the world, constantly place me at a meeting point of cultures. This gives me the freedom to work with musicians, dancers, and writers from many cultures and countries. African movement easily translates into narratives that can speak to and be expressive of multiple themes and motifs.
Teaching Philosophy: Bringing together students as witnesses and participants in the deeply rich performance traditions of Africa, has the potential to move, transform and inspire people’s curiosity about a world outside of their own.
By teaching in a variety of contexts, such as primary and secondary schools, universities, as well as in community and conference workshops, I am able to reach a diverse population to develop cultural awareness and understanding through dance. African dance offers an arena for multigenerational learning and helps to highlight the power of community building through arts education.
Workshops and Performances
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Ongoing African Dance Classes with Rujeko In Albuquerque:
1100 San Mateo Bld #34
Lower level of Ace Hardware Complex
Next to Celtic Brewing Company
$12 or $10 for students
Rujeko Teaching at Merveilles Utah
April 7th-9th 2017
Rujeko is Available to Teach:
Neo-traditional Zimbabwean Dance
at conferences and residencies
Performances by B.A.S.A.D.E
Bells and Shakers African Dance Ensemble
Available to perform at events in NM and beyond