22 Aug

NEW YORK LIVE ARTS presents Voices of Strength: Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women from Africa

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NEW YORK LIVE ARTS
presents
Voices of Strength:
Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women from Africa
Sep 18 – 19, 21 – 22 at 7:30pm

New York, NY, August 22, 2012 – New York Live Arts opens its 2012-13 season on Tuesday, September 18th at 7:30pm with a mini-festival, Voices of Strength, featuring five female African choreographers. Inspired by conversations with and work created by African women living and working on the Continent, this two-evening program and accompanying humanities activities will introduce these often overlooked voices to the New York Live Arts audience.

 From dance rooted in and showing connections to tradition, to cutting-edge performance that makes satirical use of classical conventions, the works of these choreographers deal with complex political and social themes, referencing women’s struggles toward empowerment with humor, poignancy, and courage.

Program A features Correspondances, a raucous yet intimate duet by Kettly Noël (Haiti/Mali) and Nelisiwe Xaba (South Africa) that explores race, culture, gender and friendship; and Quartiers Libres, a commanding solo by Nadia Beugré (Cote d’Ivoire) with interactive sound exploring the struggle between cultural boundaries and personal freedom. Program B begins with Sombra by Maria Helena Pinto (Mozambique), a stark and poignant solo that gives voice to the lives of “invisible” women who push society forward; followed by Madame Plaza, a profoundly contemporary piece by Bouchra Ouizguen (Morocco) featuring three Aïta vocalists, whose traditional technique includes guttural wailing and incantation.

The program is curated and produced by MAPP International Productions & presented in partnership with the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium. Performances will take place at New York Live Arts’ Bessie Schönberg Theater. Come Early Conversations and Stay Late Discussions will also be featured each night (see complete schedule below). Tickets are $20. A limited number of $15 tickets are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at tickets.newyorklivearts.org, by phone at 212-924-0077 and in person at the box office. Box office hours are Monday to Friday from 1 to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 8pm.

This presentation of Voices of Strength is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, with support from Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

The U.S. tour of Voices of Strength is made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, supported by lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust. It is also supported in part by Institut français – Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes and the eeg-cowles Foundation. Critical production support was

provided by KVS (Brussels, Belgium).

Schedule of Related Humanities Events:

Sept 18 Stay Late Discussion: Shattering Silence: Female Voices in African Performance with Marýa Wethers (Program Manager, New York Live Arts)

Sept 19 at 6:30 Come Early Conversation: The Africanist Aesthetic in Performance and Visual Art with Thomas Lax (Studio Museum in Harlem) & Adrienne Edwards (Performa)

Sept 21 Stay Late Discussion: Women Breaking Borders, Subverting Cultural Expectations with Cathy Zimmerman (MAPP International Productions)

Sept 22 at 6:30 Come Early Panel: Creating Meaningful Cultural Exchange with Cathy Zimmerman, Shay Wafer (651 Arts), Carla Peterson (New York Live Arts)

About The Artists:

Nadia Beugré
Born in Zikisso in Côte d’Ivoire, Nadia Beugré made her first appearances with Dante Theatre in 1995. In 1997, she became a member of the ground-breaking, all-female dance ensemble, Compagnie TchéTché, founded by Béatrice Kombé. She performed with the company for eight years, touring in Africa, Europe and North America. Following Ms. Kombé’s untimely death in 2007, Ms. Beugré began to create her own works. These include un espace vide: moi, performed in Tunis, Burkina Faso, England and France; 120 M/h, a collaboration with choreographers (and childhood friends) Michel Kouakou and Daudet Glazaï, which was developed in the U.S. at Bates Dance Festival and VSA New Mexico/North Fourth Art Center, and premiered in Germany at Dansart Bielefeld 2010 Biennale; and Quartier Libres, which premiered at the 2010 Danse L’Afrique danse festival in Mali. She trained at the Centre Choréographiques in Montpelier, France with Mathilde Monnier; at l’Ecole des Sables in Senegal with Germaine Acogny; and at the Center for Choreographic Development in Burkina Faso with Carolyn Carlson and Burkinabé Bourou Amadou.

Kettly Noël
Originally from Port au Prince, Haiti, choreographer and dancer Kettly Noël has created a body of dance work over the past 15 years, seen widely in Africa and Europe, that deals with identity, and the fight for position of African artists and women, and includes Ti’chelbé, Errance, L’Autre, Zones Humides Imaginaires and Bonjour Madame Noël. She began dancing at the age of 17 with the Haitian-American Dance Theatre (now World Dance Theatre), and relocated to Paris in the early 1990′s, where she trained as a dancer and actress and founded her first company. In 1996, she moved to Benin, where she continued to develop her choreographic technique while starting a program to train youth in contemporary dance. Ms. Noël relocated to Mali in 1999, and founded Donko Seko, an organization with a space for dance workshops and choreographic research (with the first dance floor in Bamako); established the Bamako Dance Festival (the first international festival of contemporary dance in Mali); and expanded her dance training program for youth and adults. In 2010, Donko Seko hosted the biennial Danse L’Afrique danse festival.

Bouchra Ouizguen
Born in Ouarzazate, Morocco, and educated in France, Bouchra Ouizguen was a soloist in oriental dance in Morocco from 1995 to 2000. From 1998 to 2001, she studied and performed in Marrakech and in France, with Bernado Montet, Mathilde Monnier, and Boris Charmatz. In 2002, with Taoufiq Izeddiou and Saïd Ait El Moumen, Ms. Ouizguen founded ANANIA, a contemporary dance company in Marrakech that created the dance festival “On Marche.” She also collaborated that year in forming the Al Mokhtabar contemporary dance company. Ms. Ouizguen’s choreographic works include: AnaOunta (2002); Fina ken’ti (2002); Mort et moi (2005);Déserts, desires with Taoufiq Izeddiou (2006); Aïta with Naïma Sahmoud (2007); and Madame Plaza (2008-2009). They have been presented throughout Morocco and in France, including the prestigious Montpellier Dance Festival. Madame Plaza was presented as part of the 2010 FIAF Crossing the Line Festival in NYC. Since 2007, Ms. Ouizguen has been a co-organizer of the annual festival Recontres Choreographiques of Marrakech.

Maria Helena Pinto
Maria Helena Pinto is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher in Maputo, Mozambique. Her choreographic works have been selected for presentation at festivals such as Afrique en Création (Madagascar, 2003), Festival Interculturel de Mayotte (2007), Danse l’Afrique danse (Tunisia, 2008), Rencontre de Danse Métisses (French Guyana, 2009), and Kaay Fecc (Senegal, 2009), and include Sombre, Tempestade, O olho e a Percepção (which toured to France and Finland), Noticias (which toured to Italy), and Mar Vermelho (performed in France and South Africa). Her current projects — the group piece, CALA-TE and the solo, The Run of Africa – will premiere in 2012-13. She has taught and choreographed at the National Dance School of Mozambique and Centro de Pesquisa Coreográfica, and has led her own dance school since 2003. In 2006, she co-organized the first International Contemporary Dance Festival in Maputo. She is currently building DANS’ARTES — a new center to host national, pan-African, and international meetings, festivals, performances and exhibitions in Maputo. For her role in creating DANS’ARTES, and her efforts to develop contemporary arts and culture in Mozambique, Ms. Pinto was elected the “2010 Personality of Arts and Culture” by National Radio of Mozambique.

Nelisiwe Xaba
Nelisiwe Xaba was born and raised in Soweto (South Africa), and received a scholarship to study at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation. After studying dance in London (with a 1996 Ballet Rambert Scholarship), she returned home to join Pact Dance Company, where she was a company member for several years, and with whom she toured to Europe and the Mideast. She worked with a variety of choreographers, visual and theater artists, particularly Robyn Orlin, with whom she created works such as Keep the Home Fires Burning, Down Scaling down, Life after the credits roll, and Daddy I’ve seen this piece six times before and I still don’t know why they’re hurting each other, which toured for several years in Europe and Asia, winning the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. In 2001, Ms. Xaba began to focus on her own choreographic voice, creating solo and group dance works that have been performed in Africa and Europe, including Dazed and confusedNo Strings Attached 1, No Strings Attached 2, Be My Wife (BMW)(commissioned by the Soweto Dance Project), Black!.. White andPlasticization. Her most recent work, Uncles and Angels, is an interactive dance/video collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren. Ms. Xaba has also collaborated as choreographer and dancer with fashion designers, opera productions, music videos, television productions, and multimedia performance projects.

ABOUT NEW YORK LIVE ARTS
New York Live Arts strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating. In addition to our deep commitment to individual artists at all stages of their careers, we strive to create rich, meaningful experiences for our audiences by engaging them in ways that are intimate and thought-provoking. With our audience, we seek to become a place for dance that is vital to the fabric of social and cultural life in New York, the United States and beyond.

Formed in February 2011 by a merger of Dance Theater Workshop and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, New York Live Arts is a re-imagining of the legacies of these two extraordinary organizations. New York Live Arts is located at 219 West 19th Street in New York City and is led by Bill T. Jones as Executive Artistic Director, Carla Peterson as Artistic Director, and Jean Davidson as Executive Director and CEO.

Funding Support
Major support for New York Live Arts is provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Con Edison, The Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Japan Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lambent Foundation, MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, MetLife Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Shubert Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The Scherman Foundation and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.  New York Live Arts is supported by public funds administered by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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