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‘Sacred Journeys’ reflects NM cultures through dance, music, spoken word

The idea for “Sacred Journeys” began about a decade ago.

Patricia Dickinson Wells had an idea to work with Grammy winner Robert Mirabal after watching his “Music From a Painted Cave” on TV.

Jock Soto did choreography for the show.

Then the project was fast-tracked 18 months ago when Dickinson Wells was writing a grant to New Mexico Arts.

“I sent Robert an email from his website, and he called me the next morning,” she says. “It’s been an incredible journey to get here.”

“Sacred Journeys,” presented by Festival Ballet Albuquerque in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, is a reflection of New Mexico’s cultures and storytelling through dance, music, and spoken word. “Our Hispanic culture is prominent in the story ‘Las Soldaderas,’ choreographed by Dominic Guerra, depicting the story of the young lovers and the many brave women who fought in the Mexican Revolution,” Dickinson Wells says.

Dickinson Wells was able to get a few choreographers to develop pieces for the show. They are Jock Soto, Dickinson Wells, Trey Pickett and Natalee Maxwell.

Each piece is inspired by Mirabal’s albums – “Music From a Painted Cave,” “Song Carrier,” “Warrior Magician” and “Taos Tales.”

Soto was born in Gallup, to a Navajo mother and a Puerto Rican father.

Following in the footsteps of his mother, he first learned to hoop-dance – an early foundation for what became one of the most celebrated careers at the New York City Ballet.

Soto, who retired to New Mexico, choreographed four movements to Mirabal’s “The River.”

It will be performed with a string quartet.

Soto has been choreographing for about 10 years off and on.

He heard “The River” during one of Mirabal’s live performances and was immediately developing choreography in his head.

“I found my feet moving in my seat,” he says. “That’s what got me started with the. When I met him, I told him I’d love to do a dance for me and him. We laughed and agreed to work on something together. I wanted to put some traditional movement.”