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Home » News » MANCC Artist Nora Chipaumire Works with School of Dance Students

MANCC Artist Nora Chipaumire Works with School of Dance Students

Published March 3, 2015

Dr. Joab Corey of Tallahassee’s Renegade Boxing Gym demonstrates boxing techniques to Nora Chipaumire as collaborators and FSU Student Shamar Watt look on. MANCC photo by Chris Cameron

Recent MANCC Returning Choreographic Fellow Nora Chipaumire welcomed two School of Dance students, Shamar Watt and Erika Hand, as participants in her residency, giving them access to the behind-the-scenes making of her new work, portrait of myself as my father. Staged in a boxing ring, portrait utilizes boxing parlance and customs to explore themes surrounding black African masculinity. Watt, a senior, initially began his working relationship with Chipaumire as an understudy for collaborator Pape Ibrahima “Kaolack” Ndiaye. However, Chipaumire soon began developing a role specifically for Watt, inviting him to perform in both the MANCC class open studio showing and the culminating work-in-progress showing. MFA candidate and MANCC intern Erika Hand acted as a rehearsal assistant when Chipaumire first arrived. She then provided studio support throughout the remainder of the residency, which she describes as “a profound and life-changing experience.” Of the effect of her time with Chipaumire, Hand added,

“Our exchange was rich and gave me a window into her creative process and ultimately, insight into myself. My perspective of Nora’s work is holistic looking through the lens of intellectual inquiry, physical experience/embodied knowledge, and spirituality…Being alongside her I was able to access a deeper place within myself where my own artistic voice springs.”

Dr. Joab Corey demonstrates knuckle pushups to Nora Chipaumire as FSU students Shamar Watt and Erika Hand practice.MANCC photo by Chris Cameron

Dr. Joab Corey demonstrates knuckle pushups to Nora Chipaumire as FSU students Shamar Watt and Erika Hand practice. MANCC photo by Chris Cameron

Hand and Watt were able to take part in the research of boxing culture at an Entrypoint, an opportunity for artists to engage with experts or scholars to help further the work. There, Chipaumire consulted with Economics professor Dr. Joab Corey–co-owner of Renegade Boxing Gym–who introduced her to the physical elements of boxing. Along with Chipaumire and her collaborators, both students had an opportunity to learn about the history and customs of the sport, while experimenting with the physical technique and training equipment. Hand was surprised to learn how many women were members of the boxing gym and after the experience found that the training method was less violent than she imagined. Watt felt that the experience at the boxing gym helped form his “invisible” character, teaching him how to focus energy and draw on the power of silence to garner authority. Watt recounts being profoundly affected by Chipaumire and her vision,

“She helped me to be fearless, to push the line or cross the line as needed. To consider approaching subject matter that is uncomfortable, but needs to be addressed…this experience with Nora and Kaolack has helped me personally embrace all of who I am, the good, bad and the ugly (beautiful).”

Upcoming Events

MANCC Returning Choreographic Fellow DD Dorvillier in Residence – 3/7-3/13

MANCC McKnight Artist Fellow Ragamala in Residence – 3/17-3/26

MANCC McKnight Artist Fellow HIJACK in Residence – 3/29-4/11