The high-energy dance company DanceBrazil will perform at the Craterian. - Craterian Performances

DanceBrazil at the Craterian

There are many African-influenced rhythms unique to Brazil that have become popular around the world including samba and bossa nova.

Audiences in Southern Oregon will have the opportunity to experience a fusion of Afro-Brazilian movement, contemporary dance and capoeira when Craterian Performances presents DanceBrazil at 8 p.m. Friday, April 3, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

DanceBrazil was founded in 1977 by Jelon Vieira after it evolved from grass-roots workshops at the Clark Center for the Arts in New York City. Vieira and Loremil Machado were the first artists to bring traditional Afro-Brazilian dance and capoeira to the United States.

In 1977 Vieira and Machado formed the Capoeiras of Bahia. That same year Alvin Ailey suggested they change the name of the company to DanceBrazil.

Ailey joined the board of directors in 1980 and helped focus the objectives of DanceBrazil, emphasizing the company's ability to speak to a broad North American community. Within a few years, DanceBrazil premiered at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

In 1985, DanceBrazil premiered "Orfeo Negro" at the Riverside Dance Festival in New York to critical and popular acclaim. In September 2008, Vieira was awarded one of 11 National Heritage Fellowships, the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts

For more than 30 years Vieira has guided the company through high-energy performances of capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance before audiences in Europe Asia, and Brazil, as well as the United States.

Capoeira is the traditional dance and martial arts form that had its origins in Africa and evolved in colonial Brazil as a means of fighting enslavement.

DanceBrazil is known for its dazzling artistry which is inspired by the cultural tapestry of Brazil. Tickets are $23-$38.

See craterian.org or call 779-3000.

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