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Nelisiwe Xaba and Kettly Noel in Correspondences. Photo by Eric Boudet.^495

Voices of Strength: A Mini-festival of Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women from Africa

Maria Helena Pinto (Mozambique)

Sombra (Shadow) is a stark and poignant solo which gives voice and light to the hidden women of our societies. In a harrowing landscape of hanging and overturned buckets, and with a bucket on top of her head both obscuring her vision and keeping the viewer from seeing her face, Pinto imagines women who are central to life - those who idealize, imagine, create, construct, plan, organize and execute - but exist in shadow.

Voices of Strength: Sombra (excerpt) from MAPP International on Vimeo.

Maria Helena Pinto
Maria Helena Pinto is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher in Maputo, Mozambique. Her choreographic works have been selected for presentation at festivals such as Afrique en Création (Madagascar, 2003), Festival Interculturel de Mayotte (2007), Danse l'Afrique danse (Tunisia, 2008), Rencontre de Danse Métisses (French Guyana, 2009), and Kaay Fecc (Senegal, 2009), and include Sombre, Tempestade, O olho e a Percepção (which toured to France and Finland), Noticias (which toured to Italy), and Mar Vermelho (performed in France and South Africa). Her current projects -- the group piece, CALA-TE and the solo, The Run of Africa -- will premiere in 2012-13. She has taught and choreographed at the National Dance School of Mozambique and Centro de Pesquisa Coreográfica, and has led her own dance school since 2003. In 2006, she co-organized the first International Contemporary Dance Festival in Maputo. She is currently building DANS'ARTES -- a new center to host national, pan-African, and international meetings, festivals, performances and exhibitions in Maputo. For her role in creating DANS'ARTES, and her efforts to develop contemporary arts and culture in Mozambique, Ms. Pinto was elected the "2010 Personality of Arts and Culture" by National Radio of Mozambique.