Dance Professor Receives Grant to Produce African-Brazilian Arts Festival

Tamara Williams
Friday, March 4, 2022
Tamara Williams has received a 2022 Cultural Vision Grant from the ASC.

Assistant Professor of Dance Tamara Williams has received a 2022 Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts & Science Council (ASC).

Cultural Vision Grants provide funds of up to $10,000 to support high quality arts and culture projects presented within Mecklenburg County by Mecklenburg County-based creative individuals or nonprofit organizations that advance one of the following goals:

  • Building community by connecting individuals across points of difference
  • Building community by nurturing, celebrating, and supporting authentic cultures and creative expression
  • Increasing relevance by using arts, science and history to address complex community issues
  • Increasing innovation by supporting the creation of new and groundbreaking work

Williams’s award of $10,000 will support the LAVAGEM! Festival, a celebration of Indigenous and African-Brazilian arts and culture to be held throughout the city April 7-10. Events include free dance and music performances and workshops and the community Lavagem ritual, or “cleansing of the city.”

To lead the activities, Williams will bring master teachers to Charlotte from Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, Brazil: Rosangela Silvestre, Mestre Jelon, Vera Passos, Nildinha Fonseca, Jose Ricardo, Janete Silva, Alegria, and Dandha da Hora. In addition to their work in the larger community, these artists will teach classes and workshops in the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte. Click here for a full schedule of events, artist bios, and registration information.

Williams has studied extensively in Brazil and is a specialist in Afro-Brazilian dance, which she teaches at UNC Charlotte. In March 2021, McFarland Press published her book Giving Life to Movement: The Silvestre Dance Technique, a study of the contemporary dance technique founded by Rosangela Silvestre as an extension of the spiritual dance traditions of enslaved Africans in Brazil.

In spring of 2021, Williams also received a $5000 Emerging Creators Fellowship from the ASC for her continued research of Ring Shout, a traditional dance and music form that originated among enslaved Black Americans particularly in the Low Country regions of South Carolina and Georgia.