BAC hosts the first installment in a series celebrating African women who have made pioneering contributions to contemporary dance, curated by choreographer/performer Nora Chipaumire. An Evening with Zab Maboungou culminates a four-day residency during which Montreal-based Congolese dance artist Maboungou will develop new material with Chipaumire. On October 24 at 7PM, the women share the results of their process, followed by a conversation moderated by dance writer and historian Dr. Charmaine Warren.
Generous support provided by The Agnes Varis Trust, supporting affordable access to the arts, education, and healthcare.
Zab Maboungou, who is of French and Congolese origin, is the artistic director of Zab Maboungou / Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, founded in 1987 and based in Montreal, Quebec. Maboungou began developing her craft in early childhood through contact with traditional dance and music groups in Congo-Brazzaville. She has worked with African dance masters including Lucky Zébila (Congo/France) and Babatunde Olatundji (Nigeria/USA). As a performer and choreographer, she has integrated a variety of traditional forms from Central, West, and East Africa.
Maboungou’s more than twenty solo and ensemble works—which include Réverdanse (1995), Incantation (1997), Gestes Dé/libérés (2009), and Montréal by Night (2010)—have been presented on stages in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America—including Canada, the United States, Korea, Italy, Germany, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Congo, Zimbabwe, and Mexico. Her original dance technique, called LOKETO, draws on the rhythmic foundations of African dances and musical forms. Considered a dance pioneer in Canada, Maboungou has received honors at Dance Immersion and the International Association of Blacks in Dance Annual Conference in Toronto (2003, 2011), and received the 2013 Charles Biddle award for exceptional individuals who immigrated to Quebec and have contributed to Quebec's cultural and artistic development on the national or international level. In 2014, she will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Achievement Award in recognition of her body of work, bestowed by Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop. Maboungou has also made an important contribution to dance in Africa. From 1995-2002, by invitation of The Minister of Culture of Ivory Coast, she was an artistic consultant at MASA, a festival supporting the creation and production of African performing arts. In 1997, she co-directed and facilitated the first large-scale Pan African French language choreographic workshop. She received tributes from The Ministry of Culture of Cameroon in 1997 and 2010. Also in 2010, Maboungou was honored during Kriye Bode’s 5th Annual Colloquium on Haitian Dance & Drum at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Maboungou is a professor of philosophy at Collège Montmorency in Laval, Quebec, where she was honored last year. She is the author of several articles on dance and the book HEYA Dance ! : poetic, didactics and history of African dance (2005). She is a sought-after intellectual public speaker at cultural institutions and universities. Her speaking engagements have included the keynote address at Harvard University African Affairs Committee’s conference African Dance Diaspora: A symposium on Embodied knowledge.
Nora Chipaumire has studied dance in many parts of the world including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica, and the United States. A graduate of the University of Zimbabwe's School of Law, Chipaumire holds an M.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from Mills College (CA).
Chipaumire is a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts recipient and 2011 United States Artist Ford Fellow. She is also a two-time New York Dance and Performance (aka "Bessie") Awardee: in 2008 for her dance-theater work, Chimurenga, and in 2007 for her body of work with Urban Bush Women, where she was a featured performer for six years (2003-2008) and Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008). She is the recipient of the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film Nora. She has also been awarded the 2007 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts, and a MANCC Choreographic Fellowship in 2007-2008. Her work has been supported by the MAP Fund, the Jerome Foundation, NYFA B.U.I.L.D., National Dance Project, NYSCA, The Joyce Theater Foundation with support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Chipaumire’s work Miriam received its world premiere at the TBA Festival in Portland before its New York premiere at BAM Fisher in the 2012 Next Wave Festival. Recent works include The Last Heifer (2012), commissioned by Danspace Project for Platform 2012, Parallels; Visible (2011), commissioned by Harlem Stage and created in collaboration with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; Kimya (2011), a work for Jokajok!, a female ensemble based in Kenya; I Ka Nye (You Look Good) (2010), created and performed with choreographer Souleymane Badolo and musician Obo Addy; Silence/Dreams (2010), created and performed with Fred Bendongue; and lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break, gukurahundi (2009), created and performed with Thomas Mapfumo. She is featured in several films, including Dark Swan (dir. Laurie Coyle, 2011); the award-winning Nora (dir. Alla Kovgan & David Hinton, 2008); and the documentary Movement (R)evolution Africa (a story of an art form in four acts) (dir. Joan Frosch & Alla Kovgan, 2006). Chipaumire has been an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University-Tempe, Bennington College, the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and Barnard College.
Photos: Chipaumire by Antoine Tempé / Maboungou by Cindy-Diane Rhéault