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.