The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance will present the second “Choreographers in Residence and in Conversation” series, featuring three choreographers currently creating new work at Princeton, on two Tuesdays, October 14 and November 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio, 185 Nassau Street. Resident choreographers Nora Chipaumire (only on November 18), Marjani Forté and David Neumann will present their works-in-progress, as well as discuss the uncertainties, complexities, dead ends and revelations of their current artistic undertakings. These events are free and open to the public.
“Choreographers in Residence and in Conversation” is a relatively new initiative begun in 2012 and designed to provide professional artists working in the University’s Program in Dance with additional support to further their work on a current artistic project. The initiative seeks not only to provide space and funds to these artists, but also to facilitate their connections with other artists on campus, with students, and the larger community. Choreographers may use this time to work with professional dancers, student volunteers, or on their own bodies. During their semester of residency, the choreographers gather together for two public exchanges. The first of these open events on October 14 will be an artistic conversation in which Forté and Neumann share their ideas about their new work and describe how they plan to approach their projects in terms of their choreographic tools and processes. The second event on November 18 will be a showing in which all three of the choreographers will perform some of the results, however unfinished, of their work during this period. The emphasis in this initiative is the artistic process.
“Choreographers rarely have opportunities to share their processes with each other and to learn just how their peers approach this business of dance-making ,” notes Susan Marshall, Director of the Program in Dance. “I am so happy we can provide the time and space to enable these choreographers to create new work, while exposing our students and the community to the creative process of highly regarded, professional choreographers.”
Nora Chipaumire, one of four 2014-15 Hodder Fellows at the Lewis Center, is a Zimbabwean-born choreographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has earned her several awards including a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts, a 2011 USA Ford Fellowship, and the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film, Nora. She is a two-time New York Dance and Performance (“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 (2003-2008) and Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008). She has studied dance in many parts of the world—including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S.—and has led significant contemporary dance and choreographic workshops in east, central and West Africa. 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.
Marjani Forté traveled as a performer with Urban Bush Women Dance Company for five years, and is now co-founder with Nia Love of Love/Forté A Collective. Her work has been presented by Danspace Project, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, Movement Research at Judson Church, New Orleans Mckenna Museum, Harlem Stage, Dance New Amsterdam, The Pillsbury Theatre in Minneapolis, Spelman College, Pomona College, and Hunter College City University of New York. She has worked in residence at Dance Theatre Workshop, Movement Research, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dance Place, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre and will begin a New York Live Arts Studio Series Residency in 2015. Forté received a 2014 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award for new work commissioned by Los Angeles-based dance company Contra Tiempo, as well as recent awards from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, Puffin Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and New Music U.S.A.
David Neumann, artistic director of the dance company Advanced Beginner Group, has presented his work in New York City at Baryshnikov Art Center, P.S. 122, The Kitchen and New York Live Arts. His collaborations include a duet created with Mikhail Baryshnikov and a work created with composer Laurie Anderson. He has been a member of Doug Varone and Dancers and a founding member of the Doug Elkins Dance Company, a featured dancer in the works of Susan Marshall, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers, Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar’s Big Dance Theatre, and club legend Willi Ninja. Straddling the worlds of theater and dance, he recently choreographed An Octoroon at Soho Rep (the Obie Award-winning play by Princeton alumnus Branden Jacobs-Jenkins) and will direct Geoff Sobelle’s Object Lesson at BAM’s Fischer Space.
Forté and Neumann are also creating new works that will premiere at the Program in Dance’s Spring Dance Festival, February 20 through 22, 2015.