Walter’s World: Weekend Picks- Fun for the Entire Family

February 7, 2012

By Walter Rutledge

This weekend runs the gamut of arts events happening in the city. There are free dance, music, and film events for the entire family taking place in the village of Harlem. You can also hear music that echoes the African- American experience near Lincoln Center. On Sunday you can spend time soaking in something cultural, and still make it to your Superbowl party before kick off!

Apollo Open House Weekend,
Sponsored by Target, will take place on
Saturday, February 4 & Sunday, February 5 from 12 – 5 p.m. The two days of free events will include
 dance, music, film, tours, health screenings and family workshops. Events will take place on the main stage and on the soundstage.

The community Dance will take place on Saturday, February 4
from 12 noon – 5pm in the Apollo Theater. 
It will be a salute to the dance genres and greats that have graced the Apollo Theater’s stage. Enjoy performances and dance lessons taught by Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Millennium Dance Company and Amateur Night at the Apollo winner Devastation Dance Crew. Hosted by the Apollo’s Billy Mitchell with personalities from Fox 5 and the Amsterdam News.

There will also be a Family Dance Party in the Apollo Soundstage Saturday, from 12 noon to 3pm.
Dancer and choreographer Mickey Davidson leads family workshops in classic dances from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s such as the Lindy-Hop, Boogie Back,Twist, Cool Jerk and Hand Jive. During this Family Workshop children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver, and adults must be accompanied by a child. This workshop is appropriate for ages 5 and over. Space is limited. Pre-registration is strongly suggested via

The Community Jam on Sunday February 5 in the
Apollo Theater from 12 noon to 5pm. is a celebration of music and instruments featuring Amateur Night contestants the Professor (Blues) and Mavis SWAN Poole & Soul Understated (R&B), Apollo Music Café artists Bugnanas (Hip-Hop), MTA MUNY’s The Body Electric (Afro-Pop), Refining Faith (Gospel), and Speaking in Rhythms (World Music). Hosted by the Apollo’s Billy Mitchell with personalities from WHCR-FM.

The Family Instrument Making Workshop in the
Apollo Soundstage from 12 noon – 3pm will feature
Musician Kevin Hylton and visual artist Miah. They will teach participants how to create and decorate handmade instruments. During this Family Workshop, children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver. Adults must be accompanied by a child. This workshop is appropriate for ages 5 and over. Space is limited. Pre-registration is strongly suggested via

African American Spiritual on Sunday, February 5 at 3:30pm in Merkin Concert Hall at The Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street @ Broadway). Tickets are $75 ($65 for senior adults, students and groups of six or more) and can be purchased by calling 212.501.3330, visiting, or in person at the Kaufman Center Box Office. There is a special reduced rate Tickets are just $49 (reg $75) when you use code SPIRITUALS.This offer is based on availability and cannot be used in combination with other discounts.

The African American Spiritual will feature three world-class artists, Sherry Boone (Lost in the Stars, Marie Christine), Harriet D. Foy (Mamma Mia!, Once On This Island) and Brandie Sutton (Metropolitan Opera National District winner) who will grace the stage for one inspirational afternoon of music and song. Under the musical direction of Darius Frowner, these three outstanding singers will take the audience through a four-part program: The Middle Passage and Slavery (Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” “Standing in the Need of Prayer), Escape and The Underground Railroad (Steal Away, Great Day), Northern Freedom (Witness, Hush! Somebody’s Calling My Name) and the ultimate transcendence, Heaven (In Bright Mansions Above, Swing Low, Little David).

Of special note on this glorious program honoring The African American Spiritual is a performance of a present day Spiritual composition from the opera Ellen Craft, lyrics by Sherry Boone and music by Sean Jeremy Palmer. Ellen Craft is a love story based on actual events in 1848, Macon County, Georgia. Ellen Craft, the offspring of an African slave and a white plantation owner escaped from slavery disguised as a white man traveling with “his

As always, thank you for letting me share my world with you.

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