Manifesto on African Man
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents Zimbabwe-born choreographer Nora Chipaumire who performs with two other dancers, Senegal-born Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye and Jamaican-born Shamar Watt on October 20, 21 and 22.
Grab the earplugs you are offered in the theater. You are going to need them.
With more shouting than dance, intriguing costumes and set, Nora Chipaumire presents what she calls a manifesto to end manifestos—a lamentation not only on her unknown father, but the African male.
From the moment you enter the theater, Chipaumire wants you to focus on the male African body. You step over one of the male performers, tall Shamar Watt, sprawled on the floor at the entranceway.
The other male dancer, Ndiaye, sits in the back of what appears to be a large boxing ring, somewhat in the shadows until the performance is in full swing.
Bright stage lights blind you at first, and then are moved to accent Chipaumire and the other two dancers in a loud moving collage that mixes spots of traditional dance, torso gyrations in every plane, air humps by a codpiece-centric costumed dancer, and above all, shouts in French, English and African tongues. With shouts we are summoned to remember the “rumble in the jungle”, traditional African dances, and the hyper-sexualization of Black male depictions.
Nora Chipaumire's Nightmare
Not a story line per se, it is more a nightmare dream sequence that shows the African male debased until he dies.
Off-the-beaten track, Chipaumire’s emphasis on the physical is actually super-cerebral fare.
If you crave avant garde explorations of dance, this is your show. Don’t expect traditional African dance or a new modern dance alphabet. If you especially are drawn to elegance in choreography this is not your show.
Concept, choreography, direction: Nora Chipaumire
Music/soundscore: Philip White
Lighting and costumes: Nora Chipaumire
Remaining performances October 21 and 22, 7:30 PM
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
1306 S. Michigan Avenue
Purchase at Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago website or by contacting the contacting their Box Office at 312-369-8330.
Photos courtesy of Nora Chipaumire, from photographers Elise Fitte Duvall, Grace Antoine Tempe, C. Gennadi Novash, among others.