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n Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century, European (more specifically French) influence and the permanence of the conservative fin-de-siècle spirit were beginning to bother young people, and they started to oppose all of that. Thus was born the so-called Modernist movement, which was formalized in the city of São Paulo in February, 1922 as the Week of Modern Art. Examples from several fields of artistic endeavor were presented at the Municipal Theater there.

Invited by Graça Aranha (Brazilian writer and diplomat), Villa-Lobos agreed to participate in three shows in "the Week", presenting, among other works, his "Danças Características Africanas" ("Characteristic African Dances").

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