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Land of Enchantment: Aztlán Academy-San Jose celebrates the music of Chiapas on Saturday.

All in the PAS

San Jose's Performing Arts Series showcases a world of local cultural groups

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

TEN LOCAL PERFORMING arts groups representing a wide range of world cultures highlight the October schedule for the Performing Arts Series (also known as PAS) at San Jose's Montgomery Theater. The schedule includes music, dance and comedy from Spain, Mexico, Greece, Cuba, Brazil, India, the Philippines and Eastern Europe.

The first weekend of the series starts off with a guitar-fingering, toe-stomping bang with the resounding energy of Alma de España, a flamenco performance by Arte Flamenco de San Jose.

Flamenco is a triumph of cultural mix, an intensely rhythmic music and dance form originally introduced into Southern Spain by the Moors of Northern Africa, adopted and institutionalized by the Spanish, and later revised by Gypsy tribes coming out of India into something closely resembling its present form.

The cast of Alma de España is highlighted by two of the best American talents in the flamenco world: Los Angeles-based guitarist Guillermo Rios and dancer/choreographer Roberto Amaral, also of Southern California.

Also during the first weekend, the 33-year-old Aztlán Academy, also of San Jose, presents ¡Chiapas!--Land of Enchantment. In recent years, Chiapas has been known in the United States primarily because of the guerrilla war being fought by Zapatista revolutionaries. But even more, the Mexican province is the home of traditional marimba music. The four-suite Land of Enchantment performance will feature singers, dancers and local string, wind and percussion musicians.

Perhaps less energetic, but more stylistic, will be the Oct. 16 presentation of Love Exquisite, a choreographed performance of the "highly intricate classical dance" of South India staged by the South Bay's Abhinaya Dance Company. The dance is set to Indian love poetry, whose eroticism rivals that of any other world culture, and is intended to "evoke the yearning for the Divine and the bliss of union," tapping a range of emotions. An Israeli dance based upon the biblical Song of Solomon, no slouch itself in love terms, will also be presented.

Other highlights of the month-long series include a concert by internationally renowed Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, sponsored by the South Bay Guitar Society, a performance by Irakere, the two-time Grammy award-winning Cuban jazz-salsa-classical-rock-funk-folk group, and a one-man show by gay Filipino-American comedian Alec Mapa.

The Performing Arts Series is operated by San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs. It is designed to introduce ethnic arts organizations to a wider audience beyond their traditional cultural communities.

Oct. 8 at 8pm: Arte Flamenco de San Jose. $15-$18.
Oct. 9 at 8pm: Aztlán Academy-San Jose, Inc. $12-$18.
Oct. 10 at 6pm: Hellenic Traditional Arts & Letters Institute. $25/$15.
Oct. 12 at 8pm. Irakere. $18.
Oct. 15 at 8pm: South Bay Guitar Society/Carlos Barbosa-Lima. $12-$25.
Oct. 16 at 8pm: Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose. $12-$25.
Oct. 22-23 at 8pm: Kaisahan of San Jose Dance Co. $12-$25.
Oct. 24 at 2pm: Ensemble International. $12-$18.
Oct. 29 at 8pm: Contemporary Asian Theatre Scene. $15.
Oct. 30 at 8pm: The Flamenco Society of San Jose. $18.

The Performing Arts Series takes place Oct. 8-30 at the Montgomery Theatre, Market and San Carlos streets, San Jose. 408.998.8885

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From the October 7-13, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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