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The ‘Center’ of it all! Chinese acrobats, Russian dancers, flamenco dancers and more

The Brooklyn Paper

They say variety is the spice of life — certainly, it’s the spice of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, which is back in action with a delicious new season chock-full of dance performances, theater productions and musical concerts that cater to the many diverse cultural groups that call the borough home.

“The theme of every season is to reflect the cultural diversity of Brooklyn,” said Rick Berube, a representative for the 57-year-old center, which serves as one of Southern Brooklyn’s arteries for the performing arts. “The mission is to serve different demographics.”

Indeed, the programming this year is as eclectic as the borough itself — and here’s a taste of what to expect in the 2011-2012 season:

• A dazzling opener on Oct. 29 with a performance by the National Performing Arts Troupe established by the government of the People’s Republic of China, featuring more than 40 acrobats, contortionists, gymnasts and dancers clad in sequined and brightly colored Spandex jumpsuits;

• A performance by Alan Safier in “Say Goodnight, Gracie,” a one-act play about the life and times of George Burns, a vaudeville comedian from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, on Oct. 30;

• A raucous and infectiously energetic capoeira-inspired dance show by break dance troupe Soul Street Dance on Nov. 6;

• Jose Porcel’s flamenco company presents a ferociously rich, rhythmic and colorful performance of his dance piece, “Gypsy Fire,” on Nov. 13;

• A classically graceful and gorgeous rendition of “The Colonial Nutcracker” on Dec. 11, just in time for Christmas and the holidays;

• Children’s singalong group Hot Peas ‘N Butter will combine jazz, folk, and music from different cultures in a multi-media performance for children of all ages on Jan. 29;

• A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, that will include a presentation that blends Jamaican folklore, modern and traditional movements and classic West Indian music to create a multi-faceted cultural performance on March 24;

• A Russian-inspired performance by the Red Star Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble — a 70-piece outfit of dancers and musicians who will be touring the United States for the first time since 1998 — on March 31;

• African-inspired dance and theater production “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale,” which tells the story of Mufaro’s two daughters and their quest to marry a great African king, on April 22; and much more.

It’s a pretty diverse lineup!

“We are trying to bring shows to Brooklyn that reflect the different cultures that live in Brooklyn — that’s why we’re here,” Berube said. “We think of our season as a reflection and celebration of the borough as a whole and the different groups that make it up.”

The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4600]. For info, visit www.brooklyncenter.com.

Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at jlinderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8309.

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