Choreographer Nora Chipaumire Enters the Ring to Explore African Masculinity at The Dance Center October 20-22

CHICAGO, IL — The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago welcomes choreographer-performer nora chipaumire with her most recent artistic investigation of the black body, Africa and the self, portrait of myself as my father (“father” is crossed out in the title), co-commissioned by the Dance Center. Performances are October 20–22, 2016 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Performed by chipaumire, Senegalese dancer Kaolack (who danced with Compagnie Jant-Bi for many years) and Shamar Watt, the evening-length portrait considers the African male through the lens of cultural traditions, colonialism, Christianity, liberation struggles—and how these ideas might impact the African family and society on a global scale. portrait is timely in its examination of black maleness as it asks, “What is it about the male body, which happens to be black, that we are afraid of?” The work takes place within a boxing ring and invites the audience to sit close as well as at a distance in witnessing the performance. portrait premiered in April 2016 at Montclair State University.

nora chipaumire
Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and based in New York City, nora chipaumire is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds an M.A. in dance and an M.F.A. in choreography and performance from Mills College. She has studied dance in Africa, Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S. and has performed in France, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Zimbabwe and many other places. She is a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant recipient, a 2015 Doris Duke Artist and a three-time Bessie Award winner.

Residency activities
There will be a post-performance conversation with the artists Thursday, October 20 and a pre-performance talk with Dance Center faculty member Raquel Monroe and guest artist Tommy DeFrantz, on faculty at Duke University, Friday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Sherwood Community Music School Recital Hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center), both free to ticket holders. Additional residency activities with community partners and Columbia College Chicago students take place throughout the week leading up to the performance weekend.

The Dance Center’s presentation of nora chipaumire is funded, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Dance Center is a co-commissioner of this work through the Creation Fund of the National Performance Network.

The Dance Center
The Dance Center’s 2016–17 season begins with a performance by Tadashi Endo Sept. 17 and two Chicago companies, Lucky Plush Productions Sept. 29–Oct. 1 and The Seldoms Oct. 13–15. After nora chipaumire’s residency, the season continues with the Chicago debut of Tere O’Connor Dance Nov. 3–5; Ballet de Lorraine on its first U.S. tour, a collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Feb. 18–19; Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s ensemble BAM! Feb. 23–25; the Chicago debut of Malpaso Dance Company of Havana Mar. 9–11; and the Chicago debut of Liz Gerring Dance Company Apr. 6–8. The B-Series festivals celebrating hip hop and street dance forms take place Nov. 11–12 and Apr. 14–15.

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. The Dance Center has been named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine, “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader and Chicago’s top dance venue in 2014 by Newcity, and Time Out Chicago cited it as “…consistently offering one of Chicago’s strongest lineups of contemporary and experimental touring dance companies.” Programs of the Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; Marcia E. Lazar Challenge Grant; The Irving Harris Foundation; Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation, N.A., Trustee; the Arts Midwest Touring Fund; and the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to Friends of The Dance Center for their generous contributions to the work of The Dance Center.

Tickets and information
The Dance Center presents nora chipaumire October 20–22, Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Seating for these performances is general admission. Single tickets are $30; subscriptions to three or more performances during the season offer a 25 percent savings. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. For information and tickets, call 312-369-8330 and or visit

Photo by Elise Fitte-Duval.

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