MDC Live Arts Lab a learning hub for professionals

Arts / Article

By Sue Arrowsmith, Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts is pleased to announce Live Arts Lab, a professional development laboratory for local working artists. Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Nora Chipaumire, who was first introduced to South Florida audiences last year during MDC Live Arts’ 2011 – 12 season, will lead the inaugural Lab from June 3 – 25 at MDC’s New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami.

Funded by Knight Foundation and MDC, the Live Arts Lab seeks to foster and nurture our local performing arts community through intensive summer study alongside master level practitioners in the areas of music, dance and theater. The Live Arts Lab is geared toward advanced level emerging and mid-career artists. The residency aims to expose participants to the visiting artists’ creative process, best practices and intensive learning curricula, with an emphasis on creating new aesthetic works.

“Just like any trade, performers need to be engaged in ongoing training and practice to keep their skills sharp and to understand the possibilities for their work as they evolve as choreographers, directors, composers and performers of all types,” said MDC Live Arts Director Kathryn Garcia. “This kind of training enables local artists to continue their education at MDC without having to enroll in a degree program.”

MDC Live Arts has offered an educational component in its programming since its inception, and regularly arranges master classes with invited visiting artists. With the addition of Live Arts Lab, local artists can engage a master-level artist in their field for an extended period, allowing for a deep creative experience.

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and currently living in New York City, Chipaumire has been challenging stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art and aesthetic for the past decade. In this Lab, she asks participants to ponder how history, place, gender, race, class, language, and globalization have marked their bodies.

“This research laboratory will help participants access their bodies’ original language and vocabulary, which will allow for the creation of singular, relevant choreographies,” Chipaumire said. “Through the body, through making with the body and performing with the body we can discover new modes of knowledge and understanding that are at once theoretical, experimental, critical, and practical.”

Chipaumire studied dance formally and informally in Zimbabwe, Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S., and is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law. In addition, she holds an M.A. in dance and M.F.A. in choreography and performance from Mills College. She is a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts recipient and 2011 United States Artist Ford Fellow. She is also a two-time New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Awardee: in 2008 for her dance-theater work, Chimurenga, and in 2007 for her body of work with Urban Bush Women, where she was a featured performer for six years (2003-2008) and served as Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008). She is the recipient of the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film, Nora. She has also been awarded the 2007 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts, and a MANCC Choreographic Fellowship in 2007-2008. She has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University-Tempe, Bennington College, the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and Barnard College.

The fee to participate in this Lab is $350 and scholarships are available. The Lab will culminate on June 25 with an informal showing where participants will share their research. Chipaumire will also share excerpts of her new work-in-progress, rite riot.

To register or more information about the MDC Live Arts Lab, please call 305-237-7733, or visit