Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts and Miami Light Project present the South Florida premiere of, Nora Chipaumire’s Portrait of Myself as My Father at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, and Saturday, Oct. 15, at Baiamonte’s Boxing Club, 222 NW 27 St. in Wynwood.
The provocative dance performance celebrates and critiques masculinity— the black African male in particular — all within the confines of a boxing ring. And not just any boxing gym, but that of Matt Baiamonte, protégé of Mohammed Ali’s legendary trainer, Angelo Dundee, and torchbearer of his legacy and that of the Fifth Street Gym.
Bessie Award-winning dancer/choreographer and former Urban Bush Women star Nora Chipaumire continues her examination of race and gender in this profound and highly personal work, which considers the African male and the father she never knew through the lens of colonialism, Christianity and liberation struggles.
Tethered together in a boxing ring, she and Senegalese dancer Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye (known as Kaolak) dance, struggle, and fight against prejudices, pressures, and the weight of traditions and history. Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based dancer Shamar Watt, an MDC alum, cheers and coaches from the corner.
“The piece is a portrait of a man, who is nothing but a man of his time. I have given him boxing gloves so that he has a fighting chance. I have put him in a boxing ring to do battle with himself, his shadow, his ancestors, the industrial gods and that merciless tyrant: progress. To be a black male may be challenging in the 21st Century. To be a black, African father may be unattainable,” Chipaumire said.
Portrait of Myself as My Father is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by MDC Live Arts in partnership with Miami Light Project, 651 Arts, Dance Center of Columbia College, Georgia Institute of Technology and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information visit www.npnweb.org.
The performance is part of the MDC Live Arts’ On Site series. Next up: Traffic Jam — a transit-considering, community-engaging, vehicular orchestra in a parking lot in downtown Miami, during Art Basel.
The Zimbabwe-born, Brooklyn-based Nora Chipaumire has been challenging stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic for over a decade. She studied dance in many parts of the world including several African countries (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa). A graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law, Chipaumire also holds an MA in Dance and MFA in Choreography and Performance from Mills College (CA).
Tickets are $30 plus fees; $10 for MDC students. To purchase tickets and learn more about the 2016-17 MDC Live Arts Season, call 305-237-3010, or visit mdclivearts.org; To purchase tickets and learn more about the 2016-17 Miami Light Project Season, call 305-576-4350 or visit miamilightproject.com.