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Kate Spanos, ‘16 has been awarded a postdoctoral Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to study dance in Brazil. Spanos completed her PhD in Dance and Performance Studies from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, where she is currently the coordinator of marketing and communications.

Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Awards are open to U.S. scholars who have recently completed their doctoral degree within the past five years and present new scholars with the opportunity to deepen their expertise, to acquire new skills, to work with additional resources and to make connections with others in their fields. Grantees are expected to engage with graduate students in the host country and to continue their specialized training in cutting edge research.

Spanos will be based at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife for six months, starting in January 2018. Her project is entitled “The Frevo Tradition and Pernambucan Cultural Identity in Recife, Brazil." Frevo is an energetic music and dance that is performed at Recife’s annual Carnival and it is symbolic of the culture the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil. Frevo originates from capoeira, a better known Afro-Brazilian art form, but it represents a particular regional variation on Brazilian national identity. Spanos’ research aims to understand the political role of such performed cultural expression, how it serves to engage communities, create value for popular culture and empower marginalized individuals.

The project is an extension of Spano’s dissertation research, which focused on similar themes in dance, music and festivals on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

Spanos would like to acknowledge the support and mentorship of Associate Professor Laurie Frederik (UMD TDPS), Professor Larry Witzleben (UMD Ethnomusicology), Gracelyn Cassell (University of the West Indies, Montserrat), Professor Carlos Sandroni (UFPE Ethnomusicology) and Assistant Professor Miriam Phillips (UMD TDPS).