US-based Chipaumire named Visiting Professor at German university
UNITED STATES: Nora Chipaumire has been named Valeska Gert Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin for the 2023/2024 winter semester.
The internationally renowned dancer and choreographer will be showcasing her artistic work in two public events at the Akademie der Künste to celebrate her artistry. The first of these will be held on October 24, 2023, where she will examine dance in the university context. The event will be in English and is free of charge. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.
Chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe). A four-time Bessie Award winner and proud recipient of the 2016 Trisha Mckenzie Memorial Award for her impact on the dance community in Zimbabwe, Chipaumire was also nominated for a NAMA Award as an exiled Zimbabwean making an impact on the arts at home and abroad in 2020.
Chipaumire has also been honoured by arts communities around the globe, having received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2021), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2016), a Doris Duke Artist Award (2015), and a Princeton Hodder Fellowship (2014).
In the opening event of Nora Chipaumire’s Valeska Gert Visiting Professorship on October 24, 2023, at the Akademie der Künste, the renowned dancer and choreographer will critically address dance in the university context and explore self-examination, reflection, and transformation through physical manifesto.
In the subsequent conversation with Lucia Ruprecht and Lindsey Drury, Chipaumire will discuss her artistic practice of Nhaka and how it informs her decades of work in many university-led initiatives – often as the only person of colour (or African), or artist of colour, present.
As Chipaumire writes, “In an era when study, knowledge, and the role of the university as a place to gather are being questioned and queried, one could also ask: what about the artist as guest in these fundamental institutions? What is expected from them, what should their role be? How does the artist enhance the interrogations and make way for other unexplored mindsets and thoughts?”
As Valeska Gert Visiting Professor, Chipaumire will be collaborating with master’s degree students in the dance studies program on her long-term research project “Nhaka,” a technology-based practice and process to her artistic work. She explains, “Nhaka (inheritance, legacy – in Shona language) is an animist de-colonial practice and theory that I have been cultivating.
The work and philosophy owe its genealogy to Shona culture and Shona spiritual practices. I have been decoding, recoding, and coding strategies on how to discipline and build the physical body, in hopes of developing an organism that can reflect and produce gestures that expand our understanding of the human and the relationship of the human organism with the natural and spiritual world.”
The closing event of chipaumire’s Valeska Gert Visiting Professorship will take place on February 6, 2024. The Valeska Gert Visiting Professorship is hosted jointly by Freie Universität Berlin’s master’s degree program in dance studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Akademie der Künste (AdK).
The visiting professorship takes its name from Valeska Gert (1892–1978), one of the most innovative and prominent avant-garde dancers of her time, whose work was heavily influenced by the city of Berlin. The professorship’s namesake stands for dancers and performers who show great potential and are leaving their mark on the world of dance.