Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 13, 2012.

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VOICES OF STRENGTH is the U.S. debut tour of new contemporary dance and theater by women from across Africa.

Voices of Strength: Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women from Africa is the U.S. debut tour of a two-evening program that lets American audiences experience the stylistic diversity of contemporary performance across the African continent. Created and performed by Nelisiwe Xaba (South Africa), Kettly Noël (Haiti/Mali), Nadia Beugré (Côte d’Ivoire), Bouchra Ouizguen (Morocco) and Maria-Helena Pinto (Mozambique), the works in Voices of Strength use humor, irony, poignancy and power to confront personal obstacles, address political and social issues, and paint true and vivid pictures of the lives of contemporary African women.

OUR STORY

Over the past decade, we have traveled to numerous festivals showcasing contemporary performance by African artists, seeing few women represented at these important forums. Then, in May 2008, we attended the biennial Danse l’Afrique Danse Festival in Tunisia. Amongst the performances we saw there, what stood out was the strength, eloquence and originality of a handful of works created and performed African women. We were immediately inspired to find a way to bring them to the United States. 

It took four years, but we’ve done it! Curating and producing Voices of Strength has taken countless emails and phone calls, meetings and negotiations, production questions and visa applications. We’re deep into the planning and logistics of the six-week tour this fall, and thrilled by the recent rehearsal residency in Brussels that we secured for the artists—the first time all of them were together on one stage!

OUR NEED

We have a stellar group of U.S. venues ready to host these artists. But even with their support, and with the commitment of a small group of funders, the hefty travel budget for five choreographer/dancers, three singers, a sound artist, a company manager, and a three-person technical crew moving between Africa, Europe and the U.S. has put us $12,000 short of meeting the tour’s expenses, potentially compromising the full artistic realization of this ground-breaking project.

Please help us to reach our goal to bring four amazing dance-theater works to the U.S. as they deserve—and need—to be seen. What’s more, you’ll be helping to introduce people across the U.S. to important cultural leaders who have had an impact in their own communities through their leadership in arts education and civic development. In addition to performances, in every city there will be a rich program of conversation and exchange about the artistic and personal challenges met by these women in embodying their full humanity. So your contribution to MAPP for Voices of Strength makes you a partner in cultivating a necessary cross-border, cross-cultural dialogue.

YOUR SUPPORT

Your donation to Voices of Strength will help bring these important works to stages in six cities across the U.S.:

  • Correspondances by Nelisiwe Xaba (South Africa) and Kettly Noël (Haiti/Mali) – a raucous conversation that speaks to the intimate fabric of friendship while traversing themes of race, culture and gender. 
  • Madame Plaza by Bouchra Ouizguen (Morocco) – a merging of dance with song by Ouizguen and three traditional “Aïta” vocalists (in a very rare U.S. appearance) that celebrates an essential freedom of the body. 
  • Sombra (“Shadow”) by Maria-Helena Pinto (Mozambique) – a stark and poignant solo imagining women who dream, create, construct, organize and execute, but exist in shadow. 
  • Quartiers Libres (“free territory”) by Nadia Beugré (Cote d’Ivoire) – one woman’s persistent pursuit to penetrate forbidden spaces and overcome real and perceived limitations to her freedom of expression. Giving up is not an option.

  • THE IMPACT

Using art to communicate, and the theater as a place to converge around a model of diversity, Voices of Strength will create awareness of the countries and people of Africa as much more than the perennially troubled lands we see through the media’s lens. Rather, experiencing the innovative artistry and imaginative leadership of these women, we will all share in building a language for tomorrow’s global culture.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF VOICES OF STRENGTH!

Maria Helena Pinto by Peggy Jarrell Kaplan-- from the series of images available to two donors at the $5,000 level. Kaplan's portraits of choreographers have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collections of  MoMA and the Met.
Maria Helena Pinto by Peggy Jarrell Kaplan-- from the series of images available to two donors at the $5,000 level. Kaplan's portraits of choreographers have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collections of MoMA and the Met.
24 x 20 portrait of Kettly Noel by Antoine Tempe (antoinetempe.com)-- available to one lucky supporter at the $2500 level!
24 x 20 portrait of Kettly Noel by Antoine Tempe (antoinetempe.com)-- available to one lucky supporter at the $2500 level!
Building Enduring Partnerships Book-- available to donors at the $30 level!
Building Enduring Partnerships Book-- available to donors at the $30 level!

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    15 backers

    You're the foundation on which we'll build this thing! We'll thank you on the MAPP website and list you as a LOCAL supporter of the project in performance programs.

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    26 backers

    For making us stronger, you'll receive a copy of the Building Enduring Partnerships Book, signed by the Voices of Strength choreographers, plus all of the above.

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    6 backers

    For your nourishing support, we'll send you special behind-the-scenes email updates from the tour and list you as a REGIONAL supporter of the project in performance programs, plus all of the above

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    6 backers

    We are so excited to share this project with you! For your generosity, we'll send a DVD of the Performances (Programs A and B), plus all of the above.

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    7 backers

    It means a lot to have you in the room with us! As a thank you, we'll give you 2 tickets to Program A OR Program B (in a tour city of your choice) and list you as a NATIONAL supporter of the project in performance programs, plus all of the above.

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    3 backers

    Your commitment is inspiring. As a thank you, we'll send you 2 tickets to Program A AND Program B (in a tour city of your choice), plus all of the above (a total of 4 tickets).

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    1 backer

    Your support will have significant impact. For that, we will invite for you and a friend to a special party with the artists in New York City (does not include travel, etc), and list you as a CONTINENTAL supporter of the project in performance programs, plus all of the above (including a total of 4 tickets).

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    You are a true patron. We will thank you with an exclusive 24 x 20 print by award-winning photographer Antoine Tempe featuring Kettly Noël and list you as a GLOBAL supporter of the project in performance programs, plus all of the above (including a total of 4 tickets)

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    We cannot thank you enough! But we'll try, by giving you a set of five portraits in one frame of the choreographers by internationally acclaimed photographer Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, and list you as a GALACTIC supporter in performance programs, plus all rewards of the $1000 level.

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