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Music & Concerts

FALL ARTS 2015: dance

Regional troupes explore culture, collaboration in fall offerings



dance, gay news, Washington Blade
dance, gay news, Washington Blade

Step Afrika! performs at VelocityDC’s Dance Festival in October. (Photo by Edward C. Jones; courtesy Bucklesweet Media)

The fall brings an abundance of dance performances from classical ballet and contemporary dance to cultural dances from India and Latin America.

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater hosts a free Latin America dance party on Sept. 13 at the Catwalk Café at the Mead Center for American Theater (1101 6th St., S.W.) following the 7:30 p.m. performance of the play “Destiny of Desire.” Dance instructors will teach the Cha Cha Chá, Rueda de Casino, Afro-Cuban Rumba and more. There will also be cocktails. The dance party is free with a ticket purchase to “Dance of Desire.”

VelocityDC holds its seventh annual Dance Festival at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St., N.W.) on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m., Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m. Performers include Step Afrika!, the Washington Ballet’s Studio Company, Shannon Dunne Dance, Malayaworks Dance Theater, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and more. Tickets are $18.

Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh holds its 12th annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts at Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., N.E.) this fall. On Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., C. V. Chandrasekhar gives a dance performance in the Paul Sprenger Theatre. On Oct. 31at 7:30 p.m., Rama Vaidyanathan gives a classical Indian dance performance. On Nov. 1 at 4 p.m., Mallika Sarabhai also performs. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $20 for students.

Dissonance Dance Theatre presents Dance Noir, dance performances accompanied with dark and dramatic classical music scores, at the Joy of Motion Dance Center (5207 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) on Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15-18 online and are $25 at the door.

Dance Place (3225 8th St., N.E.) presents an evening of Cuban dance with dance company  D.C. Casineros and Ernesto “Gato” Gatell in tribute to Cuban guitarist Ernesto Tamayo on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. After the dance performance, Gatell and his band will perform Son, Mambo and Guaracha music for the whole audience to dance along with Yudisleidy Valdez Mena and member of the D.C. Casineros dance company.

On Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., Dance Place presents “2 Decades” by Bowen McCauley Dance. The performance will include excerpts from “Lucy’s Playlist” and  “Bach Chaconne in D Minor.” The National Chamber Ensemble will also play music as accompaniment to the performances. General admission advanced tickets for the Dance Place performances are are $25. Advanced tickets for Dance Place Members, seniors and artists tickets are $20. Tickets for college students and children under 17 years old are $15. Tickets at the door are $30.

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) holds many dance performances this fall.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company presents “Fluency in Four” on Sept. 19-20. The company will perform Burgess’s works “Picasso Dances,” “Mandala,” “Confluence” and his latest work “We Choose to Go to the Moon,” a collaboration with NASA. Tickets range from $28-45.

Sivam Inc. presents “Utsav: Celebrating India’s Maestros of Music and Dance” on Oct. 2-4. The dance performances are on Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. with Bharatanatyam Ballet performing a dance, poetry, music and theater version of the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel Cervantes. On Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal and her dancers perform classical Indian dance. Tickets range from $40-50.

On Oct. 28-30 Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon perform “Jason+” a mix of dance and jazz. Performances include “Why You Follow,” an Afro-Cuba dance, “One Shot,” a dance interpretation of Charles “Tennie” Harris’s life and more. Tickets range from $29-59.

Tony Award-Winning choreographer Twyla Tharp celebrates five decades of her work on Nov. 11-14. Dancers will perform her choreographed works that span Broadway musicals, Hollywood films, television and modern and ballet dance companies.Tickets range from $34-65.

dance, gay news, Washington Blade

Daniel Singh and his eponymous troupe perform at their 12th annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts later in the month. (Photo courtesy Dakshina)


Music & Concerts

The Atlantis to showcase musical legends of tomorrow

New venue, a near replica of original 9:30 Club, opens next month



A look at the interior of the original 9:30 club. (Photo public domain/Library of Congress)

A new nirvana for music fans opens next month adjacent to the 9:30 Club. Dubbed The Atlantis, this intimate venue embraces a 450-person capacity – and pays homage as a near-replica of the original 9:30 Club.

The $10 million venue comes courtesy of I.M.P., the independent promoter that owns and operates the 9:30 Club and The Anthem, and operates The Lincoln Theatre and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The Foo Fighters will inaugurate The Atlantis on May 30, which is also the 9:30 Club’s anniversary. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, during a concert in 2021, kicked off speculation that I.M.P was planning to open a new venue, noting that, “We’ll probably be the band that opens that place, too, right?”

Other big names on the inaugural 44-show run roster: Franz Ferdinand, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Spoon, and Billy Idol.

To thwart scalpers, The Atlantis utilized a request system for the first 44 shows when they went on sale two weeks ago. Within four days of the announcement, fans had requested more than 520,000 tickets, many times more than the total 19,800 available. All tickets have been allocated; fans who were unable to snag tickets can attempt to do so in May, when a fan-to-fan ticket exchange opens.

While I.M.P. oversees multiple larger venues, “We’ve been doing our smallest shows in other peoples’ venues for too many years now,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. “We needed a place that’s ours. This can be the most exciting step in an artist’s career.”

The 9:30 Club holds 1,200 people, while The Anthem has space for up to 6,000.

“This will be where we help introduce new artists to the world… our smallest venue will be treated as important, if not more, than our bigger venues. If the stories are told right, both the artists and the fans begin their hopefully longterm relationship. Its stage will support bourgeoning artists and the legends of tomorrow,” Hurwitz said. Hurwitz and the team developed a tagline for the new venue: The Atlantis, Where Music Begins.

Hurwitz got his start at the original 9:30 Club, originally located at 930 F St., N.W. He was an independent booker of the club for the first six years and then he bought it, and managed the move from its original location to its current location in 1996. The venue first opened in 1980.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P. communications director, provides further insight. “We were missing small venues in our umbrella. Big acts don’t start in stadiums. We need a place for emerging artists and for the community to discover new acts. The Atlantis can help new artists grow.”

While design elements are still coming into focus, Schaefer says that the space will be intimate, with almost no separation between the artist and the crowd. “There will be energy on both sides of the stage,” she says.

Although The Atlantis is set to be a replica of the original 9:30, I.M.P. has spared no expense. Schaefer notes that the sound and light systems use the latest available technologies, similar to next door at the current 9:30 Club.

The Atlantis takes over the footprint of now-closed Satellite Room. The venue will have at least two bars flanking the stage; cocktails but no food will be available.

Schaefer notes that since its early days, 9:30 Club and I.M.P. “has always been a place where people are welcome. People come and feel safe with us.” 9:30 Club has hosted several LGBTQ Pride parties, the BENT dance party series, and other events for LGBTQ patrons. Particular acts of note during the kickoff run include Tegan & Sarah and Tove Lo.

The Washington Blade was a neighbor to the 9:30 Club at its original F Street location back in the 1980s. Despite their proximity, noise wasn’t an issue for on deadline nights, when Blade staff worked late hours.

“We would of course work later hours back then,” said Phil Rockstroh, a longtime Blade staffer, in a 2016 Blade interview. “Everything was typeset and done by hand without computers and fax machines so getting through deadlines was much more time consuming.”

Rockstroh said the noise wasn’t a distraction.

“It wasn’t too bad as older buildings were constructed more solidly,” Rockstroh said. “There was only one entrance to the building and you entered so far to the elevator that went up to the other floors and then continued down the hall to the entrance to the 9:30 Club. Frequently at night if I was coming or going, there were people spilling out the doors.”

“The Blade has always had a friendly relationship with the 9:30 Club,” he added.

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Music & Concerts

National Philharmonic to perform classical, contemporary works

Violinist Melissa White returns



The National Philharmonic will host “Beethoven’s 7th” on Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m. at Strathmore.

Past and present will collide in this performance of contemporary works and classical masterpieces. Maestro Piotr Gajewski will direct Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem for Unity for Orchestra” Violinist Melissa White will also return to the Philharmonic to perform Florence Price’s sweeping, melodic “Violin Concerto No. 2.”

Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased on the Philharmonic’s website.

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Music & Concerts

Bruce & Janet & John Legend, oh my!

Slew of iconic acts hitting the road after pandemic cancellations



Janet Jackson is among the iconic acts touring this spring.

Pop and rock icons are releasing their pent-up pandemic frustrations by mounting huge tours this spring and summer. After three years of canceled and postponed shows, everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Janet Jackson is hitting the road at long last. But save your coins because the TicketMaster algorithms are driving ticket prices to astronomical highs. Here are a few highlights from D.C.-area venues this spring. Although some of the iconic acts aren’t coming until summer — Beyonce, Madonna, Pink — several others are hitting the road this spring.

Betty Who plays March 10; Keyshia Cole headlines the All Black Extravaganza 20 Year Anniversary tour on March 18; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs come to town on May 3; Seal brings his world tour to town on May 10; and the beloved Pixies are back on the road with a new North American tour stopping here on June 10.

9:30 CLUB
Don’t miss Gimme Gimme Disco, an Abba dance party on March 18; Inzo arrives on March 31, followed by Bent on April 1; Ruston Kelly brings his The Weakness tour on April 17 along with Purr; The New Pornographers show on May 19 is sold out but there are tickets available for the May 20 show; The Walkmen have added a fourth show on May 23 because the other three shows are sold our;

Living legend Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are back with a vengeance, playing one of four area shows on March 27. (They’re in Baltimore the night before.) If you missed out this time, don’t worry, Bruce is playing Nats Park in September as well as at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. April 1 brings the R&B Music Experience, including Xscape, Monica, Tamar Braxton, and 112. Blink-182 comes to town on May 23. And this summer watch for Sam Smith to continue his hot streak, bringing his “Gloria” tour to town on Aug.4.

Janet Jackson makes her highly anticipated return to the stage this spring, arriving in our area on May 6 along with guest Ludacris. The LGBTQ ally and icon has promised new music on her upcoming “Together Again Tour,” which follows the pandemic-related cancellation of her “Black Diamond Tour.” Jackson also plays Baltimore’s newly renovated CFG Bank Arena on May 13.

John Legend plays two nights at Wolf Trap on June 2 and 3; Charlie Puth follows on June 4. Wolf Trap also hosts the Indigo Girls on June 7 just in time for Pride month. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Smithereens at the Birchmere on March 17. Fans of ‘80s alternative will be lined up for the Church also at the Birchmere at April 4, followed by Suzanne Vega on April 26. Amy Grant returns to the stage this spring and plays the Birchmere on May 2. Echostage plays host to a slew of buzz worthy shows this spring, including Ella Mai on April 8 and Fisher on May 12.

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