Returning Choreographic Fellow | January 28 - February 15, 2015
portrait of myself as my
Nora Chipaumire returned to MANCC for her third residency to develop portrait of myself as my
father, a new work that celebrates and critiques masculinity (its presence, presentation, and representation) as Chipaumire continues her investigations focused on the black body, on Africa, and on the self. portrait considers the African male through the lens of cultural traditions, colonialism, Christianity, and liberation struggles, constructing and deconstructing black African masculinity. Placed in a boxing ring, an arena that suggests strength, courage, and violence, the "players" find themselves as commodity, product, and process. The value of black masculinity, being weighed and evaluated, perishes under scrutiny...
portrait of myself as my father, crystallizes themes of race and gender within the performing body and articulates the relationship between a racialized/politicized body and its audience. The space between observation and participation is both examined and questioned. The work allows the viewer to move around the performance space and invites the audience to get close to the performing body, becoming part of the spectacle itself. It is an attempt to remove the fourth wall and create a "scene" in a public space, similar to a scuffle breaking out in the middle of a public gathering and the ensuing energy or chaos that composes that scenario.
Conceived as a performance installation (with a version for the proscenium stage), Nora used her MANCC residency to work on the interactive aspects of the performance through two work-in-progress showings; one for the School of Dance’s MANCC class and the other a public showing drawing an audience from across the community. She honed content for the piece through Entrypoints at FSU’s Renegade Boxing Gym and a scholar meeting with Religion Professor Dr. Joseph Hellweg and Ethnomusicologist Dr. Frank Gunderson, and focused on the soundscape with Tallahassee Sound Designer Calvin Jones. She spent considerable time in the studio refining the continuity of themes and movement throughout the piece. To that end, two School of Dance students, Shamar Watt, a senior, and Erika Hand, an MFA candidate, assisted Chipaumire in the studio. More about Watt and Hand’s experience in the studio can be found here...