danceDC Weekend Event Guide 4/9-4/10

New York City Ballet performs at the Kennedy Center this weekend.

Looks like The Kennedy Center is the place to be this weekend. The New York City Ballet is in town to perform and also to teach a creative movement workshop for non-dancers. I’ll be at the Sunday matinee. It’s my first time seeing them perform so I’m really excited! The Washington Ballet will also be in the house finishing out their production of Le Corsaire. If you follow them on Twitter, you may have been amused by their pirate tweets  promoting the show. Finally, if you love cultural dance then make your way to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Performance Stage at Sylvan Theater. Hawaiian, Panamanian and African step dance performances are scheduled for the closing weekend.

Saturday, April 9th

Sunday, April 10th

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 3/5-3/6

Washington BalletTonight I’m heading to Joy of Motion Dance Center for Street Jazz with Maurice Johnson then chilling with my girl Liz. Saturday, I’m excited to see The Washington Ballet perform WAM 2! as part of INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. As always, a shout out to Baltimore Dance Crews Project. Their monthly community workshop Dance 4 B’More takes place tomorrow. Have a good weekend!

Saturday, March 5th

Sunday, March 6th

WashingTina Takes Class at The Washington School of Ballet

Tuesday night I took the train to Bethesda and instead of making my way to Joy of Motion, I walked further south for a get together at BD’s Mongolian Grill. Local blogger WashingTina was in attendance and had a funny story to share about taking a beginner class at The Washington School of Ballet. Check out an excerpt of her story below and click here for the full story. Have you taken class at The Washington School of Ballet? What was your experience?

Excerpt of WashingTina: Pointe of Contention

The Washington School of BalletThe instructor came in and greeted everyone in the class by name. Everyone but me. Clearly I had found my way into a class of not-so-beginning beginners. “Let’s pick up where we left off last week, with blah, blah, blah something French,” the instructor said. And with that we all spread out across the studio floor to get our ballet on. I stood as close to the back as I could, trying to blend in as we went through the five positions (hey! I remembered something!). Then it was time for barre work, which was great. I found my space at the barre and we went through more of the motions. The woman standing next to me even told me that I had great turn-out (she was wearing a near-tutu, so I was pretty sure she was an expert). About 20 minutes later, it was time for the hell I had forgotten. The part of the class where everyone runs across the room doing various ballet things (that’s the technical French term for it, I’m sure) while everyone else watches.

I hung back and watched the others do their graceful moves, studying their feet so I’d be ready to join in eventually. Then there was nobody left in my corner of the room and the teacher finally noticed me. “Are you new? I’m so sorry! I didn’t know we had a new student today! What’s your name?” Grrrreat . . . now the whole class of beautifully appointed dancers was starting at me. I wanted to hang myself from the barre. After I told my name, the instructor insisted that he and I do the moves across the room together. While everyone watched. I’m pretty sure the shade of red that I turned doesn’t actually occur in nature. And I was so bad, he made me do it three more times back and forth, back and forth, while everyone else stood there, probably wishing I had hung myself from the barre. This kind of awful dancing was cute when you are three, but in your 30s, it’s just tragic. The instructor was patient and easygoing, but the pressure was too much for me. I didn’t care how much I wanted a tutu, I wasn’t going through this kind of humiliation every week.

Dance Performances at DC Arts on Foot Festival

Sidney Harman HallThe Washington Examiner’s Arts on Foot is a free festival held every year to showcase upcoming works from the District’s visual and performing artists. Yesterday, several dance performances took place at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Center for the Arts at 6th and F Streets NW. I didn’t make it to the festival until about 2pm and left around 4pm so missed out on dance previews from Step Afrika!, Tehreema Mitha and Jane Franklin Dance, but was able to catch both the 2pm performance in Sidney Harman Hall and the 3pm show in the theatre’s smaller venue The Forum.

Everyone was already seated when I arrived around 2pm, but I was able to sneak in the back and get a seat in the second to last row. I missed the first pointe solo from The Washington Ballet, but was able to catch their other two pieces. One was a traditional ballet solo with a woman on pointe. The piece was fun and festive with a tambourine as her prop. The choreography also demonstrated the ballerina’s core strength as it involved several balances on releve. The second piece was a contemporary ballet solo performed by one of The Washington Ballet’s male dancers. The dance started and ended with an awkward squatting pose, and included several impressive moves that showcased his flexibility.

The Washington Ballet ended their time on stage by inviting several members of the audience to learn and perform a dance inspired by things you do first thing in the morning like brushing your teeth, yawning and walking the dog. This was definitely a crowd pleaser that also spoke to the director’s broader point that “choreographers organize movement to express a moment in their lives.”

CityDance Ensemble performed an excerpt from Paul Taylor Dance Company‘s Esplanade, which was inspired by the sight of a girl running to catch the bus. Needless to say, this dance involved a lot of running but also included several movements influenced by every day motions such as walking, tripping and falling. The first movement of this piece is very light and happy – both in the music and the choreography. This in contrast to the second movement which is more fast pace with dancers jumping and sliding all over the stage. In addition to paying tribute to one of the most famous modern dancers in the world, CityDance Ensemble also reminded us that their is dance in everything – even the most mundane of moments.

Arts on FootI left Sidney Harman Hall after CityDance Ensemble ended their set and made my way downstairs to The Forum for the 3pm dance preview. This venue was much smaller than the auditorium, but made for a more intimate experience with the  performers. Furia Flamenca started the preview off with a  fiery performance accompanied by a sick guitarist. The dance – and the music – was a huge hit with the audience. I’m sure people will check them out in the future at Happenings at the Harman or at Joy of Motion where the company teaches flamenco classes.

Eureka Dance Festival performed next. Their first piece featured four females dancing barefoot in little black dresses. The movement was extremely interesting, but I didn’t feel any emotion in the piece. The music stopped abruptly during the set, but the dancers kept going like pros. I’m almost positive that was a technical glitch. If not, I’m not sure what the break in music was for. Three females wearing pink and red dresses with intense red makeup over their eyes performed the second piece.  The feel was almost sci-fi with the music and costumes. It was also eerie at the end as the dancers kept moving without music and the audience could only hear the sounds of the dancers’ breathing.

Silk Road Dance Company brought the dances of Tajikistan to the District. The first dance was influenced by the story of Alexander, The Great who met his wife Roxanne at the watering hole. Apparently, that was a good place to pick up chicks since during that time people would only send their females to fetch water. This piece involved more acting than dancing, but featured pretty elaborate costumes with long braided wig extensions. The second piece had a bit more dancing and was inspired by the tulips covering the countryside of Tajikistan. I didn’t really see the connection, but there was one move that looked like they were mimicking a seed blossoming into a flower.

Ballet Teatro Internacional closed out the dance preview with two duets choreographed by Francisco Castillo. The first was a dance choreographed as a poem to the nature of Lain America. Some of the arm movements reflected waves in the ocean and their one strapped multicolored unitards seemed appropriate for the piece. Alvaro Maldonado, Artistic Director and Founder of BTI Dance Institute on 14th Street NW, was an impressive partner – holding the female dancer over his shoulder while she did an attitude. The second piece was set to beautiful Spanish music with the dancers sporting more formal attire. The dance ended with an over the shoulder lift again displaying Alvaro’s strength.

If you missed this year’s Arts on Foot Festival, definitely be on the look out for next year. The previews were a great way to get a taste of what the District has to offer in the world of dance and you know you can’t beat FREE.

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 09/11-09/12

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange The Matter of Origins

source: Enoch Chan (http://www.danceexchange.org)

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presents the world premiere of The Matter of Origins at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland on Friday, September 10th. Sad that tickets are sold out as I heard that it is an amazing show (and they serve chocolate cake in the second act).

Don’t worry though! Lots of other events going on this weekend including several dance performances at Sidney Harman Hall for the DC Arts on Foot Festival. Excited to see some of the biggest names in DC dance including The Washington Ballet and CityDance Ensemble for FREE. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, September 11th

Sunday, September 12th

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