The Wexner Center for the Arts will move, shake and groove to the beat this week, with a performance by an award-winning choreographer along with this year’s Wexner Center performing arts resident artist.
Zimbabwean dancer and singer nora chipaumire is coming to the Wexner Center Thursday and Friday to perform #PUNK and 100% POP — two parts of her triptych, an artistic work comprised of three parts.
chipaumire’s live performance album is inspired by the 52-year-old’s formative years in Zimbabwe, particularly in the 1970s-90s, with a focus in punk, pop and rumba, according to her website.
Lane Czaplinski, performing arts director for the Wexner Center, said the center provides an opportunity to encounter renowned artists from around the world, such as chipaumire.
“The way she creates kinesthetic presence even when she’s just standing there is unique and why what feels like a music show can also be considered dance,” Czaplinski said. chipaumire incorporates both song and dance into her performances.
Opening for chipaumire on both performance nights is Sharon Udoh, recipient of the 2019 Wexner Center’s Artist Residency Award. Udoh will perform with her rock band Counterfeit Madison.
Udoh said winning the performing arts award has given her the opportunity to continue her musical career without the boundaries often found in the music industry.
“I won it as a performing artist, and they give you no parameters,” Udoh said. “It’s just been basically permission to just make and make and make and make and make, which is my favorite thing to do.”
While chipaumire’s live performance album is traditionally a triptych, Czaplinski said the Wexner Center chose to cut down the performance to two parts to introduce Udoh without compromising the length of all performances. Czaplinski said using Counterfeit Madison as the opener was important in maintaining the musical essence of the show the Wexner Center was looking for.
Although Udoh has yet to meet chipaumire in person, she said she researched chipaumire to complement her work with her band’s, but she wants to keep the audience in suspense.
“I will have more of a punk-inspired set the first night and more of a pop-inspired set the second night. That is all I will say. I want people to come see it,” Udoh said.
Udoh said celebrating her African culture and the identities that go along with it is something she feels strongly about when creating her music, and her upcoming performance with chipaumire is a special opportunity.
“African women are some of the most beautiful women in the world, and there is a bill of two African women, and you shouldn’t miss it,” Udoh said.
The first performance, #PUNK, is 8 p.m. Thursday in the Wexner Center for the Arts Performance Space. The second performance, 100% POP, is 8 p.m. Friday, in the same location. Both performances are standing room only. Admission for each show is $13. More information about the performances and ticket information can be found at www.wexarts.org.