For almost 50 years, Virginia Ballet Company and School has borrowed from the rich, centuries-old traditions of Russian ballet to mold fledgling tip-toers into strong, agile, and graceful dancers. Following the expertly adapted choreography of the studio's late co-founding artistic director, Tania Rousseau, a cast of professional dancers prepares students ages three and up to participate in school-run classical productions, granting them the opportunity to twirl into important roles such as The Nutcracker or The Helicopter Propeller. The company hosts classes of varying difficulties in a studio with raised, spring-loaded floors that reduce injury, fixed and portable handrails, and wall-length mirrors for checking and correcting posture.
The 2nd Annual Art, Wine & All That Jazz Festival promises a day of world-class jazz and the chance to sample an array of palate-delighting wines. This year's line-up includes soulful jazzy vocalist Ericka Ovette, Maryland blues 'n' boogie musician Deanna Bogart, and jazzy axe-shredding group the Dan Leonard Trio. Fermentation fans can smell, taste, and fill squirt-guns with the wares of regional wineries such as Lexington Valley Vineyard, Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, and more. More than 125 artists will be on-hand and eager to issue high-fives, do demonstrations, and chat about their work. Lectures covering art and wine will take place in the performance tent throughout the day.
To paraphrase an old adage, it takes a comedian to catch a comedian. Luckily, Rahmein Mostafavi, the commander of Cool Cow Comedy, has a bounty hunter's savvy when it comes to curating standup showcases. As a lifetime professional comic, Rahmein has graced the stages of institutions such as Caroline's on Broadway, DC Improv, and the Cape May Comedy Festival, and worked with everyone from Tim Meadows to The Sklar Brothers and Godfrey. He culls from this experience to deliver expertly vetted comedy shows to suburban venues usually bereft of big city laughs.
Maestro Barry Hemphill guides the 100-voice Metropolitan Chorus through stirring vocal performances, opening the chorus’s 45th season with "Music to Move the Soul." The century of trained crooners will join forces with skilled musicians to take on Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, a 2003 composition that layers a Latin mass over jazzy melodies in the style of Virgil’s early beat poetry. Soprano Linda Maguire’s high notes soar as saxophonist Irvin Peterson bends bluesy notes and pianists’ fingers fly across keyboards against harmonies ringing through the church’s towering ceilings. The conductor’s waving hands cue musicians through rousing crescendos, hushed diminuendos, and commands to steal second, and audiences relax in comfortable pews on the ground floor or lean forward to catch the action from tiered seats in the mezzanines.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary season, Wolf Trap regales lovers of the arts with masterful performances, innovative education, and swinging social events at the Filene Center and The Barns. Wolf Trap's young-professional organization, Club 66, gathers emerging leaders and former infants, primarily aged 21–39, for networking, socializing, and special events united by the leitmotif of furthering arts enrichment. Members clear their calendars and cleanse their opera glasses before partaking in benefits that include opportunities to buy tickets for Filene Center events before they are released to the general public, a new group of friends to discuss conspiracy theories about Les Misérables, and a subscription to the member newsletter, "The Wolf Trap Experience." Club members enjoy discounts on pre- and post-performance events, gift-shop discounts, a special rate for the Annual Bash, and invitations to interludes, networking parties, and other members-only events.
Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn’t even exist 20 years ago, much like “I survived Y2K” bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn’t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.