Next Stage 2022 Artist-in-Residence Amirah Sackett and MR MiC present “BeatBox MEETS Popping” on July 2nd at SIT

The Next Stage Bandwagon Summer Series, Brattleboro School of Dance, and SideStream Studio present Next Stage’s 2022 Artist-in-Residence, Amirah Sackett.

International artists Sackett and Ahmed Zaghbouni aka MR MiC join forces to bring a fun and energetic performance entitled “BeatBox MEETS Popping.” Amirah is a hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and educator based in Chicago, IL. Her signature style is the funk style dance known as ‘popping’. As a proud Muslim American, she combines Islamic themes with her dance to share the universal beauty of her faith with audiences of different faith backgrounds to promote unity and understanding. Ahmed Zaghbouni is an international beatboxer and filmmaker from Sousse, Tunisia. His performance always entertains the audience with disbelief by the sounds he creates only using his mouth and voice as an instrument. He is proud of his Muslim heritage and the Sufi faith traditions native to his home of Tunisia. These two Muslim artists, bonded by faith and their love of hip-hop, offer a counter narrative to the media’s portrayal of Muslims. Both Ahmed and Amirah are dedicated to preserving and sharing hip-hop culture with the next generation and audiences around the world, as well as being examples of using art for social change.

“Amirah’s Muslim faith and her passion for hip hop merge to tell a uniquely American story,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “She’s a professional dancer unapologetically merging her identity as a woman, Muslim, and American and showing us all the connection between hip hop and dance culture. We’re so proud to bring her to the area. It’s an event that people won’t forget easily.”

An internationally recognized hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Amirah Sackett explores and embodies her Muslim American identity through combining hip-hop movement and Islamic themes. She reached viral video fame after being featured on POPSUGAR Celebrity, The Huffington Post, AJ+, and Upworthy. Amirah was named one of “17 Muslim American Women Who Made America Great in 2016” by The Huffington Post. Sackett was honored to be a TEDx speaker, guest lecturer and teacher at Harvard University, and a cultural diplomat with the U.S. State Department in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Kuwait. Most recently, she had the honor to represent the U.S.A. as a cultural performer, in the United Arab Emirates, at the Expo 2020 Dubai, the SWANA’s region’s first World’s Fair. Based in Chicago, Amirah continues to teach the next generation and encourage emerging artists to use hip-hop culture as a way to uplift, inspire, and create social change.

Ahmed Zaghbouni, known as MR MiC, is a multi-talented beatboxer and filmmaker originally from Sousse, Tunisia. He received international fame for creating his own style called “Megatron” beatboxing. MR MiC has performed his theatrical style of beatboxing on major stages throughout the world including the renowned “Theatre Plein air Sidi Dhaher” in Sousse, Tunisia, and “The Kennedy Center” in Washington D.C. He was the first beatbox artist to be interviewed and featured on multiple television shows and networks in Tunisia including Elhiwar Ettounisi. Zaghbouni has collaborated and shared the stage with major performing artists such as Tunisian rapper, RedStar Radi; Turkish bouzouki player, Orhan Osman; Tunisian singer, Nader Guirat; Tunisian violinist, Mahdi Tfifha, and American dancer Amirah Sackett. MR MiC was honored to represent his country and the entire Arab region as a featured artist on multiple online platforms, including Human Beatbox and Swissbeatbox. Continuing to represent his country and Arab artists, Ahmed was chosen to compete in the 2019 World Championship of Beatboxing, “Looping Masters”, hosted by Beatbox Battle TV, in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to music, Ahmed pursued his passion for film making by obtaining a degree in Media Arts and Cinematography from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in his hometown of Sousse. His versatility as a filmmaker and director is evident from his work ranging from cinematic short art films to commercials, to music videos. Ahmed was honored to have directed a short dance film entitled, “Sikeena”, with dancer, Amirah Sackett, which was chosen to be part of the American Muslim Futures exhibit created by Shangri La Doris Duke Foundation for the Arts and the organization Muslim Advocates. In 2021, Sikeena, won an Official Selection, and a finalist Award at the Lift-Off Global Network international Film Festival.

The Bandwagon Summer Series is a family-friendly outdoor cultural performance series running from early May through mid-October. More than 20 performances ranging from a diverse group of musical styles, circus arts, dance, and theater will take place at ballfields, farms, and parks throughout Windham County. Kids under 12 always get in for free, and a dedicated play area will be available at all shows. Refreshments are sold onsite, including the return of last summer’s hugely popular Barr Hill cocktails, and the new addition of some selections from Mad River Distillers.

This performance is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

Support for the Bandwagon Summer Series is provided by VTDigger, Brattleboro Reformer, Oak Meadow, Whetstone Craft Beers, Barr Hill, Mad River Distillers, The Porch Café and Catering, and Halyard Brewing Company.

Next Stage serves southeastern Vermont as a regional cultural hub, arts producer, and instigator of meaningful cultural experiences. Founded in 2010 as a nonprofit organization, Next Stage Arts is a transformative, community-centered project dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through excellence in arts programming valuing diversity as a springboard for nurturing community.

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