contemporary

A confident woman with short, styled hair and wearing a white outfit gazes at the camera, her hands elegantly poised beside her face, exuding a sense of strength and grace.

Mariza

Gifted with an expressive and powerful voice, Mariza is inarguably the genre’s best-known global representative for the 21st century. Mariza’s approach to singing fado (a traditional Portuguese genre full of exquisite contradictions) embraces the new while never forsaking the old. Her early recordings of classic fados, such as “Primavera,” mixed new and traditional instrumentation in support of soaring, emotionally searing vocals.

Though her work remains within the Portuguese tradition’s boundaries, she has distinguished herself by gradually incorporating elements from other folk and popular traditions into her music. These include sounds from Mozambique where she was born and Portugal where she grew up, Brazilian samba and MPB, Cape Verdean mornas, R&B, and soul music.

With the release of her six-time-platinum debut album, Fado em Mim, her reputation reached beyond Portugal and spread internationally with greater success than ever, with an array of multi-platinum album releases, and appearances on some of the most important stages in the world.

Mariza has received dozens of awards including her most cherished: Best Artist from the Amália Rodrigues Foundation. Mariza is a humanitarian who also serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

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Step Afrika!

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 60 countries across the globe, and the Company now ranks as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States.

Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. The blend of technique, agility, and pure energy makes each performance unique and leaves the audience with their hearts pounding.

Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding. The Company reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year through a 50-city tour of colleges and theaters and performs globally as Washington, DC’s one and only Cultural Ambassador.

Step Afrika! has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, Innovation in the Arts, Excellence in an Artistic Discipline and headlined President Barack Obama’s Black History Month Reception at The White House. The Company is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive exhibit.

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