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Center for The Arts




Contact: Anya Backlund, Interim Press & Marketing Manager
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University
283 Washington Terrace
Middletown, CT 06459-0442
v: 860-685-2806 f: 860-685-2061

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and Dance Department Present
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar & Nora Chipaumire's performance work "visible"

Saturday, October 6, 2012
Performance to feature New England premiere of the work "visible" (2011)

Middletown, Conn., September 19, 2012—The 13th annual Breaking Ground Dance Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Dance Department continues with a performance choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (founder of Urban Bush Women) and Nora Chipaumire (2007 recipient of Wesleyan’s Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award), featuring the New England premiere of the performance work “visible” on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 8pm in the CFA Theater, located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown.

There will be a pre-performance talk by Wesleyan Associate Professor of Dance Nicole Stanton on Saturday, October 6 at 7:30pm in CFA Hall, located at 287 Washington Terrace.

Commissioned by Harlem Stage and produced by Urban Bush Women, “visible” is a performance work that explores epic journeys, myths, dreams, and memories of both the known world and an imagined future in an unknown land. Nora Chipaumire and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar conceive of a landscape that unlocks the personal narratives of those who leave their homelands—by choice or not—in search of the “warmth of other suns” (Richard Wright). Performed by men and women of all ages from around the world, the work draws directly on the personal experiences of the cast, as well as influential moments in history and poetry. In the work, the choreographers explore how the world we live in projects ideas of dominance and submission, shadows and light, sentient beings who are visible and ancestral forces that we feel but cannot see. The performance at Wesleyan features an international cast of dancers, including Souleymane Badolo (Burkina Faso), Catherine Denecy (Guadaloupe), Marguerite Hemmings (Jamaica), Judith Jacobs (Holland), John Perpener (Washington, D.C.), and Kota Yamazaki (Japan).

The performance of "visible" at Wesleyan is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the performance is co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Center for African American Studies.

Admission for the performance of "visible" is $23 for the general public; $19 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, and non-Wesleyan students; and $6 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.

About the Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

In 1984 Jawole Willa Jo Zollar founded Urban Bush Women as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to thirty-four works for Urban Bush Women, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University and others. Zollar has also created works in collaboration with other choreographers, including Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire.

In 2006 Zollar received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work as choreographer/creator of “Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries.” Featured in the PBS documentary “Free to Dance,” which chronicles the African American influence on modern dance, Zollar was designated a Master of African American Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005. Her company has toured five continents and has performed at many venues, including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Urban Bush Women was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State in 2010.

A former board member of Dance/USA, Zollar received a 2008 United States Artists Wynn fellowship and a 2009 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial. Still dancing, she recently toured in a sold-out national tour presented by 651 Arts as a leading influential dancer/choreographer on a program that included her early mentor Dianne McIntyre, her collaborator Germaine Acogny, Carmen de Lavallade and Bebe Miller.

About Nora Chipaumire

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and currently a resident of New York City, Nora Chipaumire has been challenging stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic for the past decade. She has studied dance in many parts of the world including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica and the United States. 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 (CA).

Ms. Chipaumire is a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts recipient and 2011 United States Artist Ford Fellow. She is also 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 for six years (2003-2008) and served as Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008). She is the recipient of the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film, “Nora.” She has also been awarded the 2007 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts, and a MANCC Choreographic Fellowship in 2007-2008.

About the Breaking Ground Dance Series

The Breaking Ground Dance Series at the Center for the Arts features cutting-edge choreography, world-renowned companies, and companies pushing the boundaries of the art form, and is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts is the only dance presenter in Connecticut to receive support from the National Endowment for the Arts dance program. This season's performances include the New England premieres of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire’s “visible” (October 6, 2012) and Gallim Dance’s “Mama Call” (February 8 & 9, 2013).

Past companies from the U.S. and abroad that have been featured on the Breaking Ground Dance Series include Bebe Miller Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Cathy Weis Projects, Chunky Move, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Compagnie TcheTche, Compagnie Vincent Mantsoe, Dance—The Spirit of Cambodia, David Dorfman & Dan Froot, David Dorfman Dance, Delfos Contemporary Dance, Doug Varone & Dancers, Jane Comfort & Company, Joe Goode Performance Group, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Mark Haim & Bill Shannon/Crutchmaster, Morgan Thorson & Company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, Rennie Harris Puremovement, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Rubberbandance, Sean Curran & Company, Stephen Petronio Dance Group, STREB, Susan Marshall & Company, Tere O’Connor Dance, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Urban Bush Women & Compagnie Jant-Bi, Viver Brasil, and ZviDance.

About the Performing Arts Series

The Performing Arts Series at the Center for the Arts brings a wide array of world-class musicians, cutting-edge choreography, and groundbreaking theater performances and discussions to Wesleyan University. This season's performances include the New England premieres of “Voices of Afghanistan” (September 28, 2012) and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire’s “visible” (October 6, 2012); the electric guitar quartet Dither (November 16, 2012); the New England premieres of “Music at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello” (February 1, 2013) and Gallim Dance’s “Mama Call” (February 8 & 9, 2013); the 14th annual DanceMasters Weekend Showcase Performance (March 9, 2013); and Hugh Masekela (April 19, 2013) . For more information, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

Save 15% when you buy tickets to four or more Performing Arts Series events. Call or visit the Wesleyan University Box Office at (860) 685-3355 to take advantage of these discounts.

About the Dance Department

The Dance Department at Wesleyan is a contemporary program with a global perspective. The curriculum, faculty research and pedagogy all center on the relationships between theory and practice, embodied learning, and the potential dance making has to be a catalyst for social change. Within that rigorous context, students encounter a diversity of approaches to making, practicing and analyzing dance in an intimate learning atmosphere. The program embraces classical forms from Ballet, Bharata Natyam, Javanese, and Ghanaian, to experimental practices that fuse tradition and experimentation into new, contemporary forms.

For more information about the Dance Department, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/dance.

About the Center for the Arts

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts is an eleven-building complex on the Wesleyan campus that houses the departments of art and art history, dance, film studies, music, and theater. Opened in 1973, the CFA serves as a cultural center for the region, the state and New England. The Center includes the 400-seat Theater, the 260-seat Hall, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), the 414-seat Crowell Concert Hall and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

The Center for the Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of its many generous funders and collaborators, including the Center for Creative Research, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, as well as media sponsors the Hartford and New Haven Advocates, WESU 88.1FM, and WNPR.

For more information about Center for the Arts performances and events, please call (860) 685-3355, or visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

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