September 29, 2014

Center Stage Continues to Connect Cultures

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Band performing on stage Ribab Fusion performing at the Kennedy Center

A mic, a band, a song, a stage and a cultural diplomacy initiative that connects foreign artistry with American communities – this is just a fraction of the instruments used to create a melody in U.S. foreign policy. That melody resonated all summer as the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the non-profit organization New England Foundation for the Arts, introduced the American audience to several touring ensembles and dance companies through month-long tours that began in June and will continue into November during its second season of Center Stage.   

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Band performing on stage Khumariyaan performing at the Kennedy Center
Ribab Fusion from Morocco and Khumariyaan of Pakistan kicked off their tours with a performance at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on September 16. These musicians are telling contemporary stories through traditional instruments—evoking personal experiences in uniquely universal ways.  They create work from within rich and storied cultures.  Through music, they engage the new and the historic, and help shape the complex societies in which they live.  

Center Stage builds professional networks between U.S. communities and international artists building our countries’ creative economies.  In June, we were charmed by Pakistan’s Poor Rich Boy and two weeks ago by the heart thumping energy of Morocco’s Hoba Hoba Spirit.  This week we welcomed the Tri Minh’s Quartet from Vietnam.  This October we will welcome dance companies from Morocco (Fleur d’Orange) and Vietnam (Arabesque). Each tour reaches diverse audiences throughout the United States, as well as culturally and economically disadvantaged youth through performances, master classes, demonstrations, and artist-to-artist exchanges.

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Band performing on stage Tri Minh's Quartet performing at the Kennedy Center
The Center Stage initiative began in 2012 to bridge the cultural gap between America and artists abroad in countries such as those represented this year: Morocco, Pakistan, and Vietnam.  Through this exchange, the Bureau provides positive and popular avenues for engaging youth and builds mutual understanding through shared culture and values and people-to-people exchanges. 

For more information on the artists and performance schedule, visit the Center Stage website

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