Portrait Of Myself As My Father

 BY MAJA RIOS:Nora Chipaumire at Columbia College Dance Center Chicago, Oct 20, 2016 “Portrait Of Myself As My Father” by Nora Chipaumire Oct 20-23, 2016
Nora Chipaumire by Elise Fitte-Duval

Dancer, Nora Chipaumire, from Zimbabwe, presented her dance, “Portrait Of Myself As My Father” with a team of three dancers including herself, and the other two were from Jamaica and Senegal, the dance, a tribute to the Black/African male in society. Three muscular dancers including Nora, and two other male dancers, Kaolack and Shamar, wore a combination of funky attire including, goggles, shorts and sweat pants, as the dance took place in a “boxing ring” setting. Nora, dressed as a man(her father) totally capture a gender-bending character, in tribute to her late father.

I would describe the show as”dance poetry”since she combined her own poetic words and phrases describing the world view of the Black male with words such as “swag”, “the greatest”(Muhammed Ali), even the “n” word and MF word, etc. Her repetitive poetry went along with movement, mostly by the other two dancers, reminded me of the poetry of group “The Last Poets” from the 70’s.

African music and bass lines played behind the dancers in a few segments as well. The dancers were chained to each other by long ribbons tied to the “boxing ring” suggesting historical bondage of the Black male in society. The dancers twisted, gyrated and pranced around the ring in a “circus-like display- while Nora chanted, ”We’re here to free the African”

I think the show was very avant-garde, revolutionary and more like theater than dance, but very effective.

I would have liked to see a little more African dance in the mix, but basically, this was one woman’s vision of her father in society as a black male, and Black history up to the present day. One segment even had background sounds of gun-shots, as dancers writhed on the floor. At all times, repitition of words and phrases Like, “Black, Free the African’, etc were chanted by Nora holding a chordless mike the entire time,during the performance, as she danced in time to background sounds and music Never were words and moves so closely intertwined during a dance performance. Go see it!

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