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The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi Continues its Season Six Program With New Artists Lineup

An eclectic cast of global and regional artists will reflect the season’s cross-cultural agenda with events which will continue to have an international reach.

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi Continues its Season Six Program With New Artists Lineup

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has announced a diverse schedule of performances, talks, and workshops for January and February. Centered around the season's continuing theme, 'A Bridge', the events will feature artists from across the world who will present work and engage in conversation with the UAE and the wider global community.

Commenting on the lineup, Executive Artistic Director at NYUAD Arts Center Bill Bragin said: "We live in an interconnected, online world where we need the arts more than ever before. Our theme, 'A Bridge', reflects this yearning to connect. The rich, diverse and exciting international cast of artists speak to the challenging times we are living through, but also transcend the moment to provide a joyful, life-affirming sense of possibility and freedom. We're especially excited that several of the programs reflect projects commissioned by The Arts Center, and first-time transnational collaborations."

Barzakh Festival returns for its fifth edition, over three nights: February 1, 3, and 6, featuring artists who cross stylistic and cultural borders. The lineup features three globally renowned groups that also resonate with February's Black History Month:

- Afro-Venezuelan artists Betsayda Machado & La Parranda El Clavo will make their UAE online debut from Venezuela. On February 1, Machado and collaborators will unveil a project commissioned by The Arts Center, Las Cantoras, featuring archival recordings by rural female singers. The piece will be premiered online along with a pre-release audio-video broadcast with the artists and research team and live commentary by the project leaders.

- US-based Martha Redbone Roots Project will make their UAE online debut on February 3, mixing Appalachian music with soul, blues, and Native American elements for a uniquely personal combination that speaks to the award-winning songwriter Martha Redbone's African American/Native American heritage. Redbone will conduct a post-screening Q&A to discuss her work and hold music workshops on February 21 and 23.

- On February 6, the Afro-Khaleeji band Boom.Diwan, will premiere a new suite composed by guitarist and NYUAD faculty member Ghazi Al-Mulaifi with the celebrated jazz pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, the first South African artist signed to Blue Note Records. The online concert and artist talk is set to be an immersive collision of music rooted in Kuwaiti pearl-diving traditions and South African jazz. The show will be accompanied by significant educational outreach to teach Khaleeji rhythms across the UAE, supported by the US Embassy in the UAE. Dr. Al-Mulaifi, an ethnomusicologist, and Boom.Diwan percussionist, Abdulaziz Al-Hemely, will host an online workshop on February 1, centered around the rhythms of Khaleeji pearl diving music.

Continuing the season's eclectic blend, the NYUAD Music Recital Series has been curated by the NYUAD Music Program. Moods and Memories - Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at NYUAD Kate Forman Quayle's clarinet and bass clarinet recital on January 25 - will spotlight the role NYUAD plays in contributing to the UAE artistic ecosystem through its faculty. Quayle's recital showcases works from the last 50 years, accompanied by Assistant Arts Professor of Music at NYUAD Matthew Quayle on piano. The event will be broadcast live from The Blue Hall at The Arts Center.

The NYUAD Music Program's recital series will be followed by Manifold - A Festival of Musical Diversity on February 12-13. The festival of contemporary music features new and experimental music presented by an eclectic collection of international musicians and accomplished practicing artists from NYUAD's faculty. The first performance day showcases American Music - Minimal and Beyond bypianist Emanuele Arciuli. The second performance day features New Sounds for 2021 by flutist and NYUAD faculty member Cristina Ioan, saxophonist and NYUAD faculty member Emil Sein, and Abu Dhabi-based dancer Kiori Kawai.

Dance will continue to play a key role in The Arts Center calendar. Āhuti by The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, in collaboration with The Chitrasena Dance Company, is a contemporary fusion of classical Odissi dance from India and Kandyan dance from Sri Lanka. Filmed in Bangalore, India, it will be viewable in its entirety online for one night only, on February 17, followed by a live artist Q&A. Members of the cast will also host an Introduction to Odissi Dance technique workshop on February 16.

The new season will also see the return of the popular Rooftop Rhythms for its ninth iteration. Featuring spoken word artists, poets, and musicians, the monthly open mic night is hosted by founder Dorian Paul Rogers. Highlights include an international collaboration with Southern Fried Poetry, a US based spoken word collective, on January 22. This is followed by a Slam Competition and Open Mic Night on February 26. Further monthly installments of Rooftop Rhythms are planned through to May 2021.

The contemporary Arab Cinema series, CinemaNa, will also take place monthly from February, with screenings of diverse films from the Arab world followed by provocative discussions. The movies are only available in realtime and are accompanied by artist talks. Kicking off the series on February 8 is Between Two Seas, directed by Egyptian/American filmmaker Anas Tolba. Film fans should also note the screenings of three short films, Laymoon, Beshkara, and Nagafa by Emirati director Abdulrahman Al Madani on March 8, and Gaza Mon Amour, by Palestinian filmmakers Arab and Tarzan Nasser on April 19.

Immersive one-on-one theater designed for online participation will feature in Theater for One's Middle East premiere of Here We Are. A single audience member and a single live actor will interact in real time with a deeply moving personal micro-theater work inspired by the pandemic, the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Black Lives Matter, We See You WAT, and other anti-racist movements. The production runs from April 7-11, with titles, writers, actors, and directors to be announced at a later date.

The online performances, alongside discussions with the artists, advance The Arts Center's mission to bring people closer to the arts by engaging with the cultures, heritages, and people that make up the programming. The Off The Stage program extends the engagement even further with workshops and talks hosted by the artists covering diverse topics from skills development to cultural and historical discussions, as well as classroom engagement with NYUAD students.

Off the Stage educational events include a Dance Technique Workshop with Coco Karol on January 26 and February 9, open to all levels and abilities interested in exploration through movement. On February 22, as part of The Arts Center's ongoing Arts Chat series with the NYUAD Career Development Center, Nrityagram's agent Sandy Garcia of Pentacle will be joined by staff from Theatre for One's creative producer Octopus Theatricals toshare their strategies for sustaining the careers of their artist clients and their own businesses, specifically during the pandemic and unpredictable times.

All shows in January and February will run in The Arts Center's online format, while the rest of the season will be announced in bi-monthly increments to allow for changing circumstances.

Events are streamed online and for the most part are on Facebook, YouTube, and The Arts Center website. Theater for One, Nrityagram, and CinemaNa are ticketed events but tickets are free of charge and will be on alternative platforms. Future performances and Off The Stage events will be announced in bi-monthly increments.

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