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Questions of Practice: Choreographer and Performer Nora Chipaumire on Connecting with Her Audience

In an interview with The New York Times, choreographer and performer Nora Chipaumire said, “I love to make the audience work! And why shouldn’t they? I’m asking you to smell, to hear, to feel, to become complicit.” Here, we invited her to expand on how she views her relationship with audiences. “The audience is the criminal partner in this whole theatrical event,” Chipaumire says. “I’m interested in the distance between myself and the audience, and reducing that distance so that we are actually in conversation.”

Supported by a Center Advancement grant, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presented Chipaumire’s portrait of myself as my father in the fall of 2016 as part of Creative Africa, an exhibition and performance series centered on connecting historic and contemporary African art through public programs and audience development initiatives. Watch Chipaumire on art and advocacy.>

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, and based in New York City, Nora Chipaumire creates work that challenges and embraces stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body. She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds a MA in dance and MFA in choreography and performance from Mills College. A 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant recipient, Chipaumire is a 2015 Doris Duke Artist, and the recipient of a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts.