Announcing Center Stage 2014: Tour Planning Begins for U.S. Tours of Artists from Morocco, Pakistan, and Vietnam

Announcing Center Stage 2014: Tour Planning Begins for U.S. Tours of Artists from Morocco, Pakistan, and Vietnam

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Jul 29, 2013

Lahore, Casablanca, and Agadir, Ho Chi Minh City, Peshawar, and Hanoi.  Each has served as a global and cultural hub for centuries. As sons and daughters of these ancient crossroads, the contemporary artists touring the U.S. as part of Center StageSM in 2014 create work from within these rich and storied cultures, embodying the themes, rhymes, symbols and rhythms of praised pasts. Through music, visual imagery, and movement, they combine the new and the historic in an ongoing dialogue that shapes the rich and complex societies in which they live.

Artists touring as part of Center Stage 2014 will help build mutual understanding via cultural expression and people to people connections.  This public-private arts program is 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 (NEFA).

Now in its second edition, the program will bring seven acclaimed contemporary dance and music ensembles from Morocco, Pakistan, and Vietnam to the U.S. to perform, interact, and begin meaningful dialogues with Americans from June through December 2014.

Center Stage 2014 ensembles:

  • Arabesque (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam):  Sweeping contemporary dance reveals the cycles of rural Vietnamese life in The Mist;
  • Fleur d’Orange (Casablanca, Morocco): Riveting solo movement by choreographer-dancer Hind Benali and high-energy live music trace the complexities of gender and identity;
  • Hoba Hoba Spirit (Casablanca, Morocco): Crowd-wowing and rebellious Marocc’n Roll from one of the Maghreb’s best bands;
  • Khumariyaan (Peshawar, Pakistan): Transfixing, get-up-and-dance, hyper-folk jams with deep Pushtoon roots
  • Poor Rich Boy (Lahore, Pakistan): Artful indie rock exposes the inner life of urban Pakistan with enigmatic lyrics, experimental sounds, and the occasional kazoo;
  • Ribab Fusion (Agadir, Morocco): A big dose of Amazigh funk powered by a single (ribab) string; and
  • Tri Minh’s Quartet (Hanoi, Vietnam): Sophisticated avant soundscapes bind electronica, acoustic instruments, and Vietnamese motifs and structures in Sounds From Hanoi

Arts presenters and communities interested in hosting an ensemble are encouraged to contact Lisa Booth Management, Inc. at 212.921.2114 or Tours are being routed this summer and fall; all engagements take place between June and December 2014.


About Center Stage

Center Stage is an exchange program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Exchange programs initiated by the Bureau support U.S. foreign policy goals and engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the U.S. and more than 160 countries.  Center Stage uses the performing arts to support cultural understanding between American and international communities; participating artists experience the U.S. first hand and cultivate lasting relationships. 

In its first iteration in 2012, Center Stage reached more than 63,000 audience members in 49 communities across 28 states and districts, many of which were smaller cities, from the desert southwest to small-town New England. Half-week and week-long community residencies are the norm. In addition to passionate and engaging performances—including opening concerts that packed The Kennedy Center with jubilant listeners—ten ensembles from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan gave workshops, jammed with local musicians, and enjoyed a good old community potluck or two.

Center Stage encourages concentric circles of interaction, whether it’s artists chatting with new acquaintances at a local farmer’s market or tweeting about their experiences for friends and fans back home. By extending the impact of local moments via social media, embassy support, and press in the U.S. and in the artists’ home countries, Center Stage bolsters more-informed, friendly, eye-opening ties -- the kind of encounters and relationships that lead to stronger international dialogue.

“When you hit that positive interaction with the audience,” reflects 2012 Center Stage artist Ali Hamza of noori (Lahore, Pakistan), “it’s not about where I come from or where you come from; it’s about what we share. It’s about what we share in a fundamentally human way.”

Center Stage will bring seven ensembles from Morocco, Pakistan and Vietnam to the U.S. for month-long tours from June-December 2014, connecting artists with diverse communities across the country. Residencies will include performances, workshops, discussions, people-to-people exchanges, and community gatherings. Keep up with Center Stage on Facebook and on Twitter and at

Center Stage is a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, and supported by the Asian Cultural Council. General management for Center Stage is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.


Touring Contact & Information
Lisa Booth & Deirdre Valente
Tel +1 (212) 921-2114   


General Program Information
Adrienne Petrillo
Program Manager, New England Foundation for the Arts
Tel: +1 (617) 951-0010


Photo: Hoba Hoba Spirit performing at Roskilde Festival 2013 by Kim Matthai Leland