Category Archives: Dance

Portrait of Myself as My Father

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Nora Chipaumire: Portrait of Myself as My Father
Premiere: Peak Performances, Montclair University 2016
Tour: 2016-17
Philip White: Composer/Sound Designer

In this visceral exploration of African masculinity, Zimbabwe-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer Nora Chipaumire (Miriam, 2012 Next Wave) is joined by the specters of her estranged father (performed by Senegalese dancer Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye, also known as Kaolack, and Jamaican-born dancer Shamar Watt). In a makeshift boxing ring, under the harsh glow of halogen worklights, the three trade jabs steeped in Chipaumire’s trademark synthesis of contemporary African movements. Clad in boxing gloves, football pads, and sacred West African gris-gris (or talisman), they teeter between combat and play, exploding and exploiting stereotypes of black manhood in an uncompromising exchange.

Selected Press:

NYTimes
New Yorker
Chicago Tribune

Walkin’ With Trane

Urban Bush Women: Walkin’ With Trane

Urban Bush Women: Walkin’ With Trane
Bam Harvey, 2016 (Premier)
Tour: 2016-17

John Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme was a revelation. Dismissed when it was first released, it soon came to be seen as affirming a divinity that defies dogma or definition. At the confluence of two important anniversaries—the album’s 50th and Urban Bush Women’s 30th—founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was poised to create something new in its arresting shadow.

The result is this choreographic riff in two parts. Performed by the celebrated company, based on dramaturgy by Talvin Wilks, and featuring a Coltrane-inspired score by composers George Caldwell and Philip White, this evening-length suite fuses Urban Bush Women’s inventive movement with Coltrane’s revolutionary post-bop spirit.

Press:

Third Coast

Scaffold Room

Ralph Lemon: Scaffold Room

Ralph Lemon: Scaffold Room

Ralph Lemon: Scaffold Room
Collaborators: Kevin Beasley, Jim Findlay, Paul Hamilton, Malcolm Low, April Matthis,
Roderick Murray, Naoko Nagata, Okwui Okpokwasili, Omagbitse Omagbemi,
Katherine Profeta, Marina Rosenfeld, Mike Taylor, Philip White, and Ralph Lemon

Walker Arts Center, 2014 (Premier)
Bard College, 2014
The Kitchen, 2015

Ralph Lemon merges performance, visual art, music, and text in his new work Scaffold Room. Lemon calls his latest work a “lecture-performance-musical,” one that refracts ideas of contemporary performance through archetypal black female personae in American culture.

The piece connects three women—Okwui Okpokwasili and April Matthis (performing live) and 86-year-old Edna Carter, along with her extended family (on video). The live performers enact parallel iconic characters that draw from history, popular culture, and science fiction with source materials ranging from Moms Mabley to Amy Winehouse, Kathy Acker to Samuel R. Delany, as they “act out” within and around assumptions about prescribed cultural body politics. The live performance installation is supported by an electronic/turntable-based sound score created and performed by composer Marina Rosenfeld.

Press:

Art Forum

Brooklyn Rail

rite riot

Nora Chipaumire: rite riot

Nora Chipaumire: rite riot

Nora Chipaumire: rite riot
Crossing the Line, 2012 (premier)

The genesis of rite riot began with Chipaumire’s fascination with the The Rite of Spring and the role it played in the European art movement known as ‘Primitivism’ and the exploration of the notion of sacrificial offering. Chipaumire’s rite riot also explores the contemporary demands for sacrifice in various elements of society, with a focus on challenging the colonial perspective of the original work and the assumptions of age, social status, and vulnerability that defined the sacrificial victim.

Collaborators: Nora Chipaumire, Teju Cole, Philip White, Peter Born

Press:

NYTimes