Monday, August 6, 2012

Urban Artistry Goes to Artland

The summer months for Urban Artistry means more barbecues, outside jams, sweat, and of course opportunities to connect directly with local neighborhoods within our community.   

We continue our work in NE Washington, DC  by participating in yet another art festival---Artland.  

Artland is a 12 week public art celebration offering free cultural events and promoting creative expression. The events are housed in temporary art spaces (Temporiums), animating public areas and this time revitalizing two vacant store fronts in the Monroe Street area on NE Washington, DC.  

Artland is presented by Dance Place with guest curators from all over the creative community. 

These events will be going on until August 26, 2012.

At Dance Place just a few blocks away, one of our Apprentice Artistic Directors, Desmond Howard drummed for an African Dance class with Coyaba Dance Theater, while others from Urban Artistry gathered at Island Jim’s to perform our educational performance and workshop, Surviving the Times. 

One family brought their 70 year old aunt to celebrate her birthday. She danced with UA and taught us a thing or two!! The audience was especially excited when we played funk music and at the end of the show one woman thanked us for not just doing the dance, but for really going into the history and heritage behind the steps.

This moment in the show stands out, because it really speaks to our mission. 

Nick, an Assistant Operations Director for Urban Artistry and Martial Arts specialist in Chinese Kung Fu, reflects on the importance of creating a living history and archive for our movement.

“Events like this are important, because without the continual refreshment of arts, their respective histories would be lost. The last person who knows how it's taught may pass on and all that remains are their stories.  It is important to keep it going with demonstration, as well as the story. One of the special things about Urban Artistry‘s participation in cultural heritage events is that they are keeping alive traditions that are often 500 or 600 years old. For example, Capoeira, is the descendant of what enslaved Africans in Brazil were doing to hide their fighting discipline and preserve their culture. The same holds true with Shaolin Kung Fu, there is a story there, a story of  thousands of years of struggle and cultural preservation.”

Urban Artistry is committed to keeping the roots and heritage of urban dance forms fresh in the heart of everyone we encounter. One way to reach this goal is to continue bringing a cultural perspective to up and coming arts neighborhoods, like the Monroe Street section of NE Washington, DC. 

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