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FEBRUARY 22 & 23
Bale Folclorico da Bahia’s first-ever U.S. tour last year garnered rave reviews from coast to coast and reportedly had audience members dancing in the aisles during the closing number. Founded in 1987 and based in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil’s poor northeast region whose population is descended largely from West African slaves brought over by the Portuguese), this 30-member company stirs together Afro-Brazilian rhythms, lore, and rites with dancing that incorporates Brazilian, African, ballet, and modern-dance techniques. “Brazilian” in this context is less likely to mean mannered “Girl From Ipanema”-style movements than to suggest exuberant Carnival acrobatics and percussion-driven pelvic gyrations. It’s also probable that this year’s program will include such stylish athletic motions as capoeira and the stick- and machete-swinging maculele. Although the former has lost some of its historical importance through its assimilation into mainstream Brazilian society, both of these home-grown activities should signify Bahia’s ongoing battle for justice and respect. At 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $25. (202) 994-6800. (Steve Kiviat)