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Monday, September 10, 2012

The BAM Fisher Files: Nora Chipaumire

Nora Chipaumire's Miriam is at the BAM Fisher from September 12—15. 

My Show:
A character-driven danced funeral. A rite, a ritual, a crime scene. A sacred and profane theater of crime.

Sights and sounds:
A world unlike any other, inhabited by two women, existing neither here nor there. Natural matter, stones, water, fire. Sand with rubber. Light bulbs, mirrors, fans, plastic. The sound of these things, Omar Sosa playing live, and human voices.

My art is inspired by:
People, lived experience, philosophy, the good books (The Bible, The Torah, The Koran).

Miriam Makeba was:
A complicated, powerful Xhosa woman who captivated the world with grace. My “Miriam”is the Virgin Mary, she is Joan of Arc, she is the Venus Hottentot, she is Nzinga. She is courage and beauty.

The first time I heard Makeba was:
I’m not sure when I first heard her—she has always been part of my world. The most impactful moment was her spectacular death in performance.

I feel most in exile when:
I have to explain my work.

If I could have one piece of Zimbabwe in New York, it would be:
Nothing compares! Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited in Prospect Park is not the same, and the Mangoes here simply suck! 

In my dances, Zimbabwe is:
Breath and life force, the curse and the reason I exist.

In my life, freedom is:
Ability to make my work

To be a woman and be free is:
Ideally, to be human.

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