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The dancers in founding artistic director Jelon Vieira’s DANCEBRAZIL“glow enthusiastically as they let rip at highest energy,” (NY Times) fusing contemporary movement with the dance/martial arts form of capoeira. The company formed after evolving from grass-roots workshops at the Clark Center for the Arts in NYC in 1977. Alvin Ailey joined its board of directors in 1980 and helped focus its objectives, emphasizing DanceBrazil’s ability to speak to a broad North American community. Within a few years DanceBrazil premiered at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and it has been a favorite on stages around the world ever since. The program for its long-awaited return to the Bandshell includesMalungos, which takes its name from a slang word used among enslaved Africans traveling on ships to Brazil, and Gueto, Vieira’s testament to the vitality of marginalized communities.
The evening begins with a festive set by FORRO IN THE DARK, a group of expats led by percussionist Mauro Refosco (David Byrne, Red Hot Chili Peppers) who take the traditional hip-swiveling, dancefloor-filling, rural party music of Brazil’s northeastern states “to new heights by drawing on influences ranging from Enrique Iglesias to Beck.” (NPR)