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    OZ Arts Gives Nashville a “Window to the World” with 2023 Spring Season

    The following is a press release:

    Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville is giving the city a unique window on the world in its expansive Spring season of groundbreaking performances featuring some of the world’s most influential artists at the forefront of dance, music, theater, and multimedia. The second half of the 10th season introduces more international artists than any season prior, with critically acclaimed performers and ensembles from France, Algeria, South Africa, Canada, Guinea and Ukraine. 

    “We’re extremely proud to introduce our Nashville audiences to internationally renowned artists, most of who are making their Nashville debut on the OZ stage this Spring,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive and Artistic Director. “The Spring line-up is especially important as many of these performances will be addressing important and timely topics from the global dialogue and making a powerful impact. We’re hopeful these dazzling performers from so many different countries will provide a global perspective on the struggles our world faces today.” 

    Recently hailed as “the performing arts powerhouse that Nashville needs” by the Nashville Scene in their Best of Nashville issue, OZ kicks off its spring season on February 2 and introduces Nashvillians to French-Algerian dancers from Compagnie Hervé Koubi. The group of 12 high-velocity performers will astound audiences in a lyrical, explosive marriage of traditional Sufi dance and contemporary hip-hop in one of Koubi’s signature works, What the Day Owes to the Night, delving into a complex portrait of masculinity and male beauty.  

    Later in the month, almost exactly one year after the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv’s DakhaBrakha, a defiant and beautiful folk-punk quartet, weaves ancient Ukrainian melodies into a subversive musical tapestry that embraces indie rock, pop, Hip-hop, the avant-garde, and traditional instrumentation from around the world. The one-night-only concert arrives at OZ Arts as the war in the Ukraine continues to be heated, making DakhaBrakha’s activism even more powerful and needed. 

    In March, OZ welcomes back to its stage the famed Canadian DJ Kid Koala for a collaboration that brings an animated graphic novel to life before the audience’s eyes — performed, filmed, projected, and scored live on stage at each performance. The new tale, The Storyville Mosquito, is created by an innovative mix of miniature sets, live puppetry, cinematography, and live music. Balancing creative storytelling techniques and live cinema, the theatrical experience proves to be a funny, emotive, Chaplin-esque romp that’s entertaining for the entire family. 

    In mid-April, celebrating the tradition of the West African jeli or griot, the talented Yeli Ensemble of artists from Guinea-Conakry presents a powerful evening of dance and drumming in collaboration with dynamic local artists, including OZ’s own Thea Jones, director of community engagement, led by Windship Boyd, Christophe Konkobo, Karen Roberts, and Saul Rodriguez in Timbuktu Within. Through multilayered harmonies and stunning movement, these skilled artists share traditional and contemporary African culture while telling their personal stories and connecting with the local Nashville community.

    The international portion of the spring season will come to a close in May with one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, Gregory Maqoma, who is thrilling critics around the world with his powerful new dance-theater production carried by the transformative singing of an African choir. The new music/theater/dance production CION: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro weaves a narrative of greed, power, and the pain of mourning with a moving live score interrogating Ravel’s music through South African vocal traditions. 

    The OZ Arts season fully wraps in mid-May with a final celebration of the ingenious creativity and artistic abilities of Nashville’s own creators. OZ’s Brave New Works Lab returns for a second year, inviting daring Nashville artists to transform OZ Arts into a laboratory for the creation and premiere of new works and works-in-progress, encouraging multimedia experimentation and collaboration across disciplines. 

    Full details and photos for all spring 2023 programming can be found here. OZ Arts remains committed to ensuring its programming is accessible to all audiences, and as such, individual tickets for performances start at $20. 

    The 2022-23 season at OZ Arts Nashville is made possible, in part, by funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the HCA Foundation, The Hays Foundation and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. 

    For more information or to purchase tickets for the upcoming season, visit www.ozartsnashville.org.

    OZ Arts 2023 Spring Season Lineup

    Compagnie Hervé Koubi’s What the Day Owes to the Night (France/Algeria) | February 2-4, 2023

    With gravity-defying athleticism and mesmerizing grace, 12 high-velocity performers astound in a lyrical, explosive marriage of traditional Sufi dance and contemporary hip-hop. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi, who trained as both a medical doctor and dancer, grew up in France unaware of his Algerian heritage. When he learned about it at age 25, the revelation launched a personal and artistic journey that led to the founding of his contemporary dance company. Compagnie Hervé Koubi is a brotherhood of dancers primarily from North Africa, most with backgrounds in street dance. The internationally acclaimed performers combine expertise in capoeira, martial arts, hip-hop, and contemporary styles.

    One of the company’s signature works, What the Day Owes to the Night uses explosive movement and powerful imagery to metaphorically retrace Koubi’s family history. The dynamic choreography draws audiences into a world of human architecture, diving bodies, and mesmerizing whirlwinds. The New Yorker describes the performance as “an exploration of masculinity and male beauty, meditative and at times tender, containing moments of striking virtuosity.” 

    DakhaBrakha (Ukraine) | February 25, 2023

    One year after the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine, OZ Arts is proud to host the defiant and beautiful voices of Ukrainian ensemble DakhaBrakha. A sonic feast as well as a visual spectacle, Kyiv’s DakhaBrakha weaves ancient Ukrainian melodies into a subversive musical tapestry that embraces indie rock, pop, Hip-hop, the avant-garde, and traditional instrumentation from around the world. The folk-punk quartet has honed a haunting musical approach based around unearthly vocal harmonies and thunderous percussion, augmented by floating cello and accordion sonorities. Heralded by Rolling Stone as the “Best Breakout” of 2014’s Bonnaroo festival, their irresistible live shows have captivated audiences the world over.

    Political activism — including calls to “Stop Putin!” — has long been part of DakhaBrakha’s messaging. A month into the Russian-Ukrainian war, the group escaped from their home city of Kyiv to start touring once again. They are now performing internationally to support Ukraine and raise money and awareness as cultural and humanitarian ambassadors. 

    Kid Koala’s The Storyville Mosquito – A Theatrical Cinema Experience (Montreal) | March 23-25, 2023 

    In Kid Koala’s latest theatrical multimedia collaboration, a young mosquito leaves his small town in the country to seek fame and fortune in the big city and fulfill his dream of playing in one of the greatest bands of all time at Sid Villa’s Music Hall. Watch as a team of 14 performers bring this story to life simultaneously on stage and screen — the full production is performed, filmed, projected, and scored in real time at each performance.

    With an innovative mix of miniature sets, live puppetry, cinematography, and live music by Kid Koala and a string trio, The Storyville Mosquito proves to be a funny, emotive, Chaplin-esque live theatrical experience that’s fun for the entire family. 

    The Yeli Ensemble, Windship Boyd & Christophe Konkobo (Guinea) | April 14-15, 2023 

    Celebrating the tradition of the West African jeli or griot, the talented Yeli Ensemble of artists from Guinea presents a powerful evening of dance and drumming in collaboration with dynamic local artists led by Windship Boyd, Christophe Konkobo, Karen Roberts, and Saul Rodriguez. Griots are lively storytellers and the keepers of tradition, and Timbuktu Within showcases the talents of international artists Sory Diabate, Ibrahima Dioubate, Mohamed Cisse, and Aicha Camara. Through multilayered harmonies and stunning movement, these skilled artists share traditional and contemporary African culture while telling their personal stories and connecting with the local Nashville community, who are invited to join in the community-driven celebration. 

    Gregory Maqoma’s Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro (South Africa) | May 4-6, 2023 

    Gregory Maqoma, one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, is thrilling critics around the world with his newest music/theater/dance production Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro. Carried by the transformative singing of an African choir, the work weaves a narrative of greed, power, and the pain of mourning with a moving live score interrogating Ravel’s music through South African vocal traditions. Maqoma founded Vuyani Dance Theatre in 1999 with the vision to build a platform for artists in South Africa and beyond—where collaboration could be a catalyst for breaking cultural barriers. Maqoma’s collaborations with top artists from around the globe include William Kentridge’s acclaimed production The Head and the Load and Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new multimedia musical Tree, among others. 

    Brave New Works Lab | May 18-20, 2023 

    Now in its second year, Brave New Works invites daring Nashville artists to transform OZ Arts into a laboratory for the creation and premiere of new works and works-in-progress. Encouraging multimedia experimentation and collaboration across disciplines, the lab creates a safe space for high-risk artistic adventures. Celebrate local innovation and creativity with a bold evening of short-form performances featuring dance, theater, music, and multimedia. 

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