Tom Rohde

Tom Rohde

Tom Rohde is a classical guitarist who earned a Ph.D. in musicology with a minor in Latin American music from Catholic University. Dr. Rohde specializes in the music and culture of Brazil and also holds a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College. His […]

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Clarissa McKithen

Clarissa has been training capoeira Angola for over a decade, but has used movement as expression and for fitness for much of her life (e.g., as a cheerleader, stepper, dancer). For several years, she was also a performer and choreographer for a DC-based theatre group, of which she was a co-founder (Wild Women Theatre, formerly […]

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Jeremy Jonal Lartigue

Jonal is a certified personal trainer and movement specialist who has been working with both youth and adults for over 20 years. He works with individuals in a variety of settings—school- and community-based venues, as well gyms and fitness studios—both nationally and internationally. Jonal has been a student and teacher of the principles, art form, […]

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Filipe Brandão de Paula

Filipe Brandão

Drummer, Brazilian percussionist, and composer, Filipe Brandão holds a Bachelor’s degree in popular music from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. He was a staple in the music scene in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and his musical inspirations date back to his childhood in Sete Lagoas, also located in Minas Gerais. Since the […]

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Zezeh posing with her hands on her hips

Ilheuma Zezeh

Zezeh is a Washington, DC based dancer, teacher, choreographer, and professional performer of Brazilian samba, and she is the founder of ZEZEH BRAZIL Dance Troupe. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Zezeh Zax is a former carnival queen of the Unidos do Peruche samba school located in São Paulo. She has taught and danced professionally for over 15 years in a number of countries including Brazil, the United States, and elsewhere. In 2009, she formed ZEZEH BRAZIL as a dance troupe dedicated to bringing the great beauty, diversity, and vibrancy of Brazilian culture to the United States. Performing a number of styles of Brazilian dance—from traditional samba de roda movements of Bahia to the Afro-influenced pulsing samba reggae rhythms of Pelourinho to the intoxicating carnival batucada styles of Rio de Janeiro.

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Jean-Francis Varre

Jean-Francis Varre

Jean-Francis is a singer multi-instrumentalist who holds BA in Sociology with a focus on postcolonial studies. Jean-Francis Varre was born to Senegalese and Cape Verdean immigrants in Washington, DC. He began singing at 13 years old, at first in English, and later in Spanish and the languages of his heritage: French, Wolof, and Portuguese. A self-taught singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Jean-Francis has performed musical genres including American soul & rock, Cuban salsa, and Senegalese mbalax in multiple local and international projects such as DC rock groups Lucy Brown and Sitali, Brazilian samba/axé celebrity Tonho Matéria, British soul icon Omar, Grammy-nominated hip hop fusion artist Christylez Bacon, and Grammy-nominated salsa/timba ensemble Gonzalo Grau y la Clave Secreta. Jean-Francis currently leads the band Sahel which performs a fusion of his influences. In 2017 and 2018, Sahel shared bills with international artists such as Les Nubians, Habib Koite & Bamada, Bombino, and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Sahel is presently in the process of recording its first original release.

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Kate Spanos Frevo 2023

Kate Spanos

Kate Spanos, Ph.D., is a dancer and dance scholar with a passion for studying dance and music styles from around the world. She earned her doctorate from the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies in 2016, with a focus on dance ethnography and performance studies. She received a postdoctoral Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to study frevo and popular dance in Recife and Olinda in Pernambuco, Brazil in 2018. Her doctoral work was about carnival and the masquerade tradition of the Caribbean island of Montserrat. She earned her Master’s degree in Traditional Irish Dance Performance from the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music & Dance in 2008. Her dance training is based in Irish dance, but she continues to explore other dance genres through a combination of practice and research, especially Brazilian and Caribbean styles. She aims to make traditional performing arts accessible to the DC metro community through teaching and promotion of cultural events. For more information, visit www.thekatespanos.com.

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Pablo Regis de Oliveira

Pablo Regis

Pablo Regis is a cavaco player and percussionist performing Brazilian music in the DC metro area. He grew up in Los Angeles and Brasília, surrounded by Brazilian music and culture. Over the years, he has worked with numerous Brazilian musicians and organized events and concerts to bring Brazilian music to the United States. He is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council 2018 Individual Artist Award. He has also trained in a variety of Brazilian movement styles, including the martial art of capoeira, and frevo and cavalo marinho from the state of Pernambuco. Pablo also brings professional experience in communications and marketing. He is contributing a combination of his business and artistic expertise to Samba Jig Productions. For more information, visit www.pabloregis.com.

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Brian Falkowski

Brian Falkowski

Brian Falkowski performs with a wide variety of groups at many top venues throughout the DC metropolitan area. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Music where he studied saxophone, flute, and clarinet with Chris Vadala and Dale Underwood. Since then he has traveled the world playing all styles of music on cruise ships, and has won top prizes at the Takoma Park Jazz Festival, DC Blues Festival, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and Mu Phi Epsilon Soloist Competition, and recently was named winner of the 2020 Emergent Seed competition in the Instrumental Category. Equally at home in the studio as on stage, Brian’s playing can be heard on 33 albums by various artists, including his 2011 debut album Transitions, the Zeitgeist Media progressive music documentary Romantic Warriors, and Tosin Aribisala’s 2018 album Africa Rising, which received a Grammy nomination for “Best World Music Recording.” In addition to performing/recording and teaching privately, he currently leads his own group “Kaleidoscope,” which features his original compositions, dynamic improvisation, multi-textured electronic experimentation, and mixed-media visual art.

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