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Nelisiwe Xaba in Correspondences. Photo by Eric Boudet.^495 Nadia Beugre. Photo by Antoine Tempe.^495 Maria Helena Pinto in Sombra. ^495 Nadia Beugre. Photo by Antoine Tempe.^495

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

Fall 2012 North American Tour produced by MAPP International Productions with The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium which brought performances to six cities between September and October 2012: The Dance Center at Columbia College (Chicago, IL), New York Live Arts (New York, NY), Seattle Theatre Group (Seattle, WA), The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Washington, DC), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). In addition to performances, MAPP International arranged for master classes and workshops, lecture demonstrations and discussions to contextualize and introduce these voices to new audiences.

Inspired by conversations with and work created by African women living and working on the Continent, Voices of Strength, was curated as a mini-festival of two shared evenings featuring four different performance pieces:  Correspondances, a duet created by Kettly Noël (Mali & Haiti) and Nelisiwe Xaba (South Africa), Madame Plaza, a group work by Bouchra Ouizguen, Sombra, a solo by Maria Helena Pinto (Mozambique); and Quartiers Libres, a solo by Nadia Beugré (Côte d'Ivoire).

Each piece was rooted in dance and showed connections to tradition in cutting-edge performances that made satirical use of classical conventions, dealt with complex political and social themes, and referenced women's struggles toward empowerment with humor, poignancy, and courage.

The U.S. tour of Voices of Strength was made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, supported by lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust. It is also supported in part by Institut français - Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes and the eeg-cowles Foundation. Critical production support was provided by KVS (Brussels, Belgium).

Additional support was provided by the Voices of Strength Kickstarter Backers: Marion Kaplan,  Joan Frosch, Olivia Georgia, David Gibson, Candace Jackson, Catharine Kiser, Gerard and Diane Connal Koeppel, Jason Moses Projects, Ann Rosenthal & Arnie Zimmerman, Lisa Yancey, Aaron Yowell & Alison Novak, Edelstein Architecture, Richard Evans, Nayan Shah & Ken Foster, Marian A. Godfrey, Tom Grunewald, Lauren Beth Hanna, Compagnie Jant Bi, Gregory Maqoma, Seth Martin, Vivian Phillips, R. Robinson, Shay Wafer, Adam Abel, Shruti Adhar, Caron Atlas, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Lois Berman, Andrea C. Brown, Diana M. Carulli, Peggy H. Cheng, Rachel Cooper, Kathryn Danziger, Desiré Davids, Mark DeChiazza, Milka Djordjevich, Isaac Esterman, Amy Evans, Maureen Farrell, Betsy Gregory, Chad Herzog, Jed Koslow & Anne Hoberg, Irene Krugman, Lars Jan, Marietta Ries Lavicka, Ralph Lemon, Manda Martin, Bebe Miller, Susan Narucki, Alexander Nemeth, Drika Overton, Kaushik Panchal, Amy Reddinger, David Rousseve, Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Ayanna Shamese, Alex Shaw, Deganit Shemy, Judith Sloan/EarSay/Crossing the BLVD, Kathy Westwater, Sara Pearson & Patrik Widrig, and Margot Williams.