Northrop Dance Presents Nora Chipaumire 4/29

Northrop Dance at the University of Minnesota presents Nora Chipaumire as she begins her first major tour in the United States with her "love letter to Zimbabwe," lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi. The "Bessie" Performer Award recipient is known for her towering, incandescent presence and for raising the bar to celestial heights in her full-tilt performances. Her newest ground-shattering work, lions... will unfold on Northrop's stage, accompanied with original music by Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited, along with talented dancer-on-the-rise Souleymane Badolo. Chipaumire and Badolo will perform within and around the five musicians who will musically interact acoustically with three guitars, one mbira, and a vocalist/percussionist. lions... is a dynamic hour-long performance of live music, dance, and projected video.

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe during the Chipurenga Chechipiri (second war of liberation), Chipaumire is a self-exiled artist known for her brave, transnational work that investigates cultural, political, economical, and technological identities of African contemporary life.

The work offers to take on another Africa, one that is neither pleading nor begging, an Africa in conversation with itself, asking the difficult questions, and celebrating its achievements and humanity. This new dance work is dedicated to the visual, aural and kinesthetic equivalent of Africa's great cities - cities full of life, contradictions, grace, defiance, vulgarity, and power - and is created by one of the most exciting, new choreographers on the scene today. Painterly video imagery will engulf the entire proscenium as Chipaumire, Badolo, and Mapfumo and his musicians take the stage, with all the elements creating a transporting effect to allow audiences to see, hear, even feel, the "Real Africa."

Nora Chipaumire | Choreographer, Director, & Dancer
Since 2005, Chipaumire has toured extensively through North America, Europe, and Africa. Chipaumire is a recipient of the 2008 New York Dance and Performance (aka "Bessie") Award for her choreographic work in Chimurenga and a 2007 New York Dance and Performance Award in the performance category. She is also a Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) 2007-08 Choreographic Fellow and was honored with the Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts (2007). Chipaumire has served as a dancer and Associate Artistic Director of the renowned dance company, Urban Bush Women. Chipaumire's work has received funding from the National Dance Project (NDP), Rockefeller MAP Fund, Creative Capital and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is featured in the documentary Movement(R)evolution Africa and the focus of two dance films: Nora, directed by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton and Dark Swan, directed by Laurie Coyle. Chipaumire studied dance formally and informally in her native Zimbabwe, Senegal, USA, Cuba, and Jamaica. She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe's School of Law and holds graduate degrees from Mills College of Oakland, CA in dance (MA) and choreography & performance (MFA).

Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited | Composer and Performers
"The Lion of Zimbabwe," is a cultural icon from Zimbabwe who lives in the United States and has made music for more than four decades within and outside of Africa. His songs integrate the ancient musical instrument, mbira, from traditional Zimbabwean folk music with Afro-rock, with lyrics ranging from the envisioning of a cultural revolution, to the corruption and vile manipulation of politicians. Since the late 1970s, Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited have been credited as trailblazers of Afro-pop style, and as one of the most significant bands from southern Africa to impact world music. Mapfumo, widely embraced as "The People's Poet," is celebrated for his musical innovations, as well as his concern for human rights and confrontation of systematic injustices in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. In 2001 Mapfumo was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Ohio State University. Mapfumo's music is currently banned in Zimbabwe by the government he helped bring to power and he now lives in political exile with his family and band in the U.S.

Souleymane Badolo | Dancer
Badolo started his professional career as a dancer for the DAMA (Direction of Arts and Crafts), a traditional African dance company. In 1980 he founded his own Burkina Faso-based troupe, Kongo Ba Téria, which fuses traditional African dances with western contemporary dance and continues to tour internationally. Badolo has danced with world-renowned contemporary African dance company Salia ni Seydou, worked with French choreographers Elsa Wolliaston and Mathilde Monnier, and performed with the National Ballet of Burkina. Companies he has choreographed for include Company Phoénix de Yaoundé (Cameroon), Cie Gabero de Niamey Company (Nigeria), and The National Ballet of Burkina (Burkina Faso). He also developed a dance program at The Center of Dance, Music and Theatre in Rome that focused on fusion of theatre and dance in contemporary performance, as well as participated in a trans-African program initiative that set up creative collaborations for dancers from multiple African countries. Badolo recently performed a new work commissioned by Danspace Project in New York. Additionally, Badolo and Chipaumire are in development on a new duet collaboration entitled Again, premiering in 2010.

Olivier Clausse dit Maurice | Lighting Designer
Maurice lives in Le Mans, France. Maurice's career in lighting started in the cinema where he worked on feature-films with Philippe De Broca, Jacques Audiard, Philippe Harel, Pierre Salvadori, Raul Ruiz, and Olivier Marchal, among others. In 1996 he collaborated with the performing artist Stefan Fortin, for El Amor Es Ciego and in 1999 with Abdel bayBay for Au Hasard des Oiseaux. From 1999 to 2001 he was the resident lighting engineer/designer of the Tapis Franc Company (streets arts) and is currently the lighting engineer/designer for Têtes d'Atmosphere. In 2001, Marucie founded Baltringos- a collective of builders and plastic artists. Since 2005, he has worked with choreographer and performer, Florence Loison and her company, Zutano Bazar, as a videographer and lighting designer.

Susan Hamburger | Production Coordinator
Hamburger is a New York City-based lighting designer. She has worked extensively in live theater with such notable artists as Craig Harris, Lucinda Childs, Shirin Neshat, Philip Glass, Mark Rucker, and numerous dance companies including the Bessie Award winning Urban Bush Women and Chipaumire. Other notable dance companies include Troika Ranch, Blondell Cummings, Urban Tap, Ellis Wood, Alice Farley, Chrisopher Caines, Susan Chirniak, Carol Nolte and David Parker and The Bang Group, among others. She has also designed The Abundance Project, Hamletmachine, Logic of the Birds, On The Verge, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Little Shop Of Horrors, Suddenly Last Summer, The Great Highway, West Side Story, The Cryptogram, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Waiting for Godot, and Mame, as well as many other original plays and performance pieces.

Naoko Nagata | Costume Designer
Nagata started her career as a biochemist in Japan. Her evolution into costume making is a long story. With literally no formal training, Nagata's first costume was created for Jeanine Durning in 1998. From that moment, she has been creating for a diverse group of choreographers and dancers non-stop. She has collaborated with Amanda Loulaki, Bebe Miller, David Dorfman Dance, Doug Elkins, David Neumann, Ellis Wood, Gina Gibney, Liz Lerman, Nina Winthrop, Nora Chipaumire, Reggie Wilson, Tiffany Mills, Urban Bush Women, Zvi Gotheiner and many others. Working closely with collaborators, Nagata helps bring to life what she calls, "the creation of a shared dream." Nagata's work has been seen on both international and national main stages including The Kennedy Center (DC), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (CA), Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (FL), PACT Zollverein (Germany), Dance Theater Workshop (NY), Brooklyn Academy Of Music (NY), Danspace (NY), Joyce Theater (NY), Dance New Amsterdam (NY), and Joyce Soho (NY).

Romain Tardy / Aalto | Video Animator
Tardy is mainly focused on motion graphics rather than video. As a drawer, his visual content is directly inspired by various graphic techniques, from simple collage to the latest computer-based 3D images. The link between still and moving images, traditional and innovative, is fundamental in his work, as he considers his live performances as a real experience of an instant and dynamic visual composition, in sync with the music. Tardy ran several audiovisual projects, from VJ sets in clubs and art galleries in France and Europe (UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands). Since 2007 he has been a member of ANTIVJ, a European visual label and visual research team.

Pia Monique Murray | Company and Stage Manager
Murray comes to dance with an approach that seamlessly fuses her work as an artist, performer, scholar and storyteller. As an emerging choreographer she founded Pia Monique Murray Dance Collective (PMMDC), an artistic collective of performers and musicians creating new collaborative works. She most currently serves the Urban Bush Women as Program Manager. Murray's other skills include, but are not limited to, choreography, teaching, research, and administration.

Amy Cassello | General Manager
Cassello was the Executive Director of Urban Bush Women from 2002-2009. Prior to that, she was the Managing Director of Doug Elkins Dance Company (1992-2001). Since 2006 she has been the General Manager of Doug Elkins & Friends' award-winning Fräulein Maria. Most recently, Cassello joined the staff of Dance Theater Workshop as Director of Institutional Support. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

Related Event | Film Showing

Playing at St. Anthony Main
Tue, April 27, 3:15 pm and Wed, April 28, 6:55 pm
Showing with Saint Louis Blues
Part of the 28th Annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (Apr 15-30)
Presented by Minnesota Film Arts

African short films Nora and Saint Louis Blues offer a stunningly musical double-feature.

Nora is based on true stories of the dancer Nora Chipaumire, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965. In the film, Nora returns to the landscape of her childhood and takes a journey through some vivid memories of her youth. Using performance and dance, she brings her history to life in a swiftly-moving poem of sound and image. Shot entirely on location in Southern Africa, Nora includes a multitude of local performers and dancers of all ages, from young schoolchildren to ancient grandmothers, and much of the music is specially composed by the legendary Zimbabwean musician, Thomas Mapfumo.

Saint Louis Blues pays an unusual homage to French musicals of the Fifties and Sixties in this lyrical taxi ride through sub-Saharan Africa.

More than one hundred and forty films from over sixty countries will play April 15-30 at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main St. Full information, including show times and special guests, is available at the official MSPIFF website. For further inquiries contact Ryan Oestreich at Minnesota Film Arts, 612-331-7563 and, 125 SE Main St, Minneapolis.

Individual Northrop Dance tickets ($10-$40) on sale through the Northrop Ticket Office at 612-624-2345, or room 105 Northrop, 84 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, or by ordering online. Ask for available discounts.

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