Cultural Exchange Program Returns with Five Ensembles from Egypt and Ukraine

Catalyzed by intense upheavals, Egyptian and Ukrainian performing artists are animating their nations' personal, social, and public spheres. With creativity as a gathering point for discourse, they are challenging themselves, their communities, and the millennia-old cultures they celebrate, to renew and to change.

For its fourth edition, Center Stage (CenterStageUS.org), the successful cultural exchange program initiated by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts, will bring five contemporary music and theater ensembles from Egypt and Ukraine to tour in the USA between July and December 2018. Tours are in formation now.

The Artists of Center Stage Season 4:

Dina Elwedidi (Giza, Egypt) A sophisticated musical innovator, Elwedidi ravels the personal-political threads of Egyptian heritage and contemporary identity.

Kurbasy (Lviv, Ukraine/U.S. debut) Tight vocal harmonies, resonant lyrics, and phantasmagoric visual imagery from the Carpathian mountains.

Mohamed Abozekry & Karkadé (Cairo, Egypt/U.S. debut) Virtuoso oud prodigy convenes Egypt's popular and classical music traditions, Sufi calls, and secular poetry with this new instrumental project.

Teatr-Pralnia with CCA Dakh (Kyiv, Ukraine/U.S. debut) A rambunctious and audacious super-charged puppet cabaret asks 'TseSho?/What's That?'

Youssra El Hawary (Cairo, Egypt/U.S. debut) A musical bellwether of everyday life, El Hawary's indie sound captures the stories of Cairo and the alchemy of the Mediterranean basin.

About Center Stage

Center Stage is a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Since 2012, the program has welcomed important new voices into our national cultural dialogue, enlarging our world, and sharing diverse, global perspectives directly with communities in the U.S., and via real time virtual interactions, with fans and allies abroad.

Now in its fourth season, by the end of 2018, 29 performing arts ensembles from nine nations -- Algeria, Egypt, Haiti, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ukraine, and Vietnam -- will have toured from coast to coast, hosted by colleges and universities, festivals, music clubs, and cultural centers. Each tour includes residencies in large cities and small towns, and a range of activities from performances, workshops, and discussions, to artist-to-artist exchanges, masterclasses, and community gatherings.

Center Stage artists engage with audiences onstage and online sharing their work with audiences in the U.S. and friends and fans at home to build mutual understanding through shared cultures and values.

From 2012 to 2017, Center Stage:

  • Visited 85 communities in 34 states and Washington, DC

  • Hosted 154 artists in 24 ensembles from Algeria Haiti, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Tanzania and Vietnam

  • Booked 227 performances -- indoors and out, ticketed & free

  • Planned 642 educational, community, and artist-to-artist activities

  • Traveled 91,000+ cumulative tour miles

  • Connected with 141,000+ U.S. audience members, participants, and students

  • Garnered tens of millions global media impressions (online and print)

  • Engaged millions more people around the globe through social media and online content

Center Stage is made possible in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, and with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. General management is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc. www.centerstageUS.org.

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