Saturday Morning. Chicago. The City. That City Energy. I love it. The El runs right by my hotel and is a much better sleep aide than my white-noise fans back home. Dinner with Bonnie Brooks, Columbia College dance impresario, last night which was a lovely catch-up after a very long time.
And THEN, the always mighty and magnificent Nora Chipaumire with her portrait of myself as my father at Columbia College Dance Center. Now that is a good day’s work.
Before Nora and I meet for breakfast, I must say a few words about the piece, something I always hesitate doing because of my lack of ‘dance language.’ It’s okay though to express my absolute love and respect for Nora’s work in everyday words, I think, and if I’m off the mark a little I hope Nora won’t mind.
To me portrait of myself as my father is as personal and geographical and ethnographical and universal of a story as it is possible to tell. It may also be one of the most riveting driving powerful and disturbingly beautiful dance pieces I’ve ever seen. It’s about men, black men, African men; men as fighters lovers jokesters slaves bosses escapees; fierce and passive, loving and not; men as fathers. All of the above. Nora is always the mystery to me in all of her work. She seems to encapsulate humanity somehow in her lean and sinewy and elegant body. In portrait of myself as my father Nora is everyone in the piece, embodying the masculine and embracing the feminine, pretty and ugly…all of it. Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Nora and her work.
Here’s a whole press packet with lots of reviews of her work which of course all say it far better than I can. http://mappinternational.org/programs/view/247/
Off to breakfast with Nora, Hamilton, Danish Dance and more CHICAGO.
Sunday Morning. Chicago. I’ll write more about the Chicago Experience a little later…about city love and all that. For now I just want to post this as a tribute to Nora Chipaumire as a big whole amazing person. Honestly portrait of myself as my father was so bold and big with such striking imagery it took just a little of the shine off Hamilton–but more about Alexander later.
I may have figured out how to describe the kind of dance that means so much to me (still, I admit it) from something Nora said yesterday…about the investigation that goes into her work. Yes, that’s it I thought, a serious investigation into a topic of curiosity and consequence, the results presented through sound, lights, movement…images that stick around in your head and heart. Nora the Investigator.
Okay. back later with Hamilton and the big city.