This Saturday, September 9th, Dance Place is hosting an Open House as part of their Family Day. The tweet below gives an overview of activities. Check out their websites for specifics. Come on out and have some fun!
Since 1986, Dance Place has been more than our local dance training and performance venue. It has provided the Brookland community with free artsy activities as well as after-school programs and summer camps.
This August, Dance Place founder Carla Perlo will step down after 37 years leading the organization. In early September, Dance Place will welcome its new executive artistic director, Christopher K. Morgan.
A dancer, choreographer, and arts educator, Christopher will be responsible for the Brookland area-based institution’s overall vision. He’ll also curate over 40 weeks’ worth of performances and programming.
As Christopher prepares for this next stage of his creative and professional career, we caught up with him for a chat about his background and future plans for this cultural institution.
How did dance become your artistic passion (as opposed to, say, painting)?
As a child I danced the hula and dances of Polynesia with my family. Both of my parents were born and raised in Hawai’i but had moved to Southern California during their service in the U.S. Marines. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, they gave my brothers and sisters and I the opportunity to connect to our cultural heritage through the dance and music of our ancestors.
I came to Western-influenced forms of dance (ballet, jazz, modern dance) at the age of 17. While participating in high-school theater, a choreographer suggested I take a ballet class. Recognizing a talent in me I didn’t know I had, the ballet teacher invited me to take classes from her for free. Before I knew it, I was consumed by this passion I felt for these ways of moving my body and expressing myself.
I studied in a studio throughout my senior year of high school. I had been studying dance and writing at the University of California at Irvine for two years when I was offered my first full-time job as a dancer for Malashock Dance & Company, a modern company in San Diego. I leapt at the opportunity, as dance had become my all-consuming passion – and has been ever since.
How did you first get involved with Dance Place?
I first learned of Dance Place in 1998 as a young dancer living in San Diego preparing to move to D.C. to dance for what is now The Dance Exchange. A few months later, in January of 1999, I found myself onstage at Dance Place in an evening of dancer-choreographed works.
Of course, I’ve attended many performances at Dance Place over the years, but since I began my dance company, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, in 2011, Dance Place has played an important role in presenting our work multiple times. Most significantly, Dance Place was one of the two lead commissioners and the site for the world premiere of my 2016 work, Pōhaku, which has now toured to nine venues around the United States.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve felt a growing call to arts leadership emerging in my life, which drew me to the executive artistic director role at Dance Place. In order to achieve equity for under-represented artists, diverse representation must be at the decision-making tables. As a person who identifies with multiple marginalized groups, I take very seriously my role to serve artists, students, and audiences of all types.
What are your hopes for the future of Dance Place?
I’m approaching this new role with a philosophy of inclusivity and service, which is essentially continuing Dance Place’s existing mission. I’m excited how this evolution in my career will allow me to support and serve artists, students, and audiences.
One thing I hope for is to help Dance Place and the greater D.C. dance community increase their visibility on the national scene as an important center for dance. After all, we’re in our nation’s capital, and D.C. has the second-highest concentration of choreographers in the country. The work being presented and made here is noteworthy, and it should be recognized more.
What should the relationship be between an arts organization and its surrounding community?
Nothing exists in isolation. I like to use the image of concentric circles. The concentric circles of community Dance Place inhabits begin with the Brookland and Edgewood neighborhoods and expand from there out to D.C., and from there to the region, and from there to the nation.
Dance Place’s relationship with Brookland and Edgewood has to be strong in order for the organization’s role in the greater D.C. community to be strong. In turn, that creates an open environment that’s ready to receive what the artists who come from outside this particular community bring to our neighborhood. The circles can be porous when they’re strong, allowing ideas and information to flow inward and outward.
What do you like most about the Brookland and Edgewood neighborhoods?
As someone who’s worked at and patronized Dance Place, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Brookland and Edgewood. It’s amazing to see how the neighborhood has evolved since I first set foot in it back in 1998. I hope it can continue to keep its long-time residents while it grows and embraces new neighbors. I’m a big fan of the nearby Busboys and Poets location, and I love grabbing a beer over at Brookland Pint and seeing the Arts Walk alive with people.
As I step into this new role, I’m looking forward to getting to know the residents and local business owners around here. In fact, if you’re reading this and want to meet, let’s do so in the neighborhood. Or better yet: Stop by a performance at Dance Place when our new season starts in the fall and say hi!
Last spring we wrote about the groundbreaking of the Arts Park, a project by Dance Place that turned an empty alley between their building and the Brookland Artspace Lofts (3305 and 3225 8th Street, NE) into an artistic, playable green space. Now, a year later, there is a full spring/summer line up of activities for the whole family. Check out the flyer below and the Dance Place event calendar for further information.
This Sunday May 7 there will be a fun event bringing wine and a great cause together. From an email from Wardman Wine:
We are hosting a fundraiser for Dance Place. Wardman Wines will host a tasting of 12 rose wines, after hours May 7th, from 6:30-9pm. Part of the proceeds goes directly to benefit the programming at Dance Place.
Check out the Facebook event page here and get your tickets ($20 each) here – not bad considering you get to try 12 rosé wines. Dance Place is one of our favorite neighborhood amenities, not only do they present a wide variety of programming but they offer tons of programs for kids often at low or no cost. Wardman Wines is located at 625 Monroe Street NE.
Here is great local event taking place this Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 at 8pm. From the event page:
Going into its 16th year, Dance Place hosts five emerging hip-hop dance artists as part of Hi-ARTS’s annual DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Artists Charise Pinkston, Christopher Law, Briana Stuart, Makeda Abraham and AwE connect words with dance through this year’s theme: “Word is Bond.”
Founded as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival in 2000, the Hi–ARTS mission is to support hip-hop as a vibrant urban art and culture movement. Hi–ARTS invigorates the arts and culture field by nurturing the creation of innovative work within the hip-hop aesthetic; presenting and touring artists whose work addresses the socio-political issues relevant to the hip-hop generation; and serving young, urban communities through outreach and education.
Get your tickets here. Dance Place is located at 3225 8th Street NE.
Great news neighbors, Art on 8th returns with free music, dance, and arts events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through the end of September, brought to you by Dance Place. Check out this video about Arts on 8th:
Every Thursday, from May 5 to September 29, 6:30 pm-8:00 pm: Arts on 8th live music performances will be held on the Arts Walk plaza each week. Each performance will feature a new group. In the event of rain, music will be moved into the Artist Lounge on the Arts Walk. The Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market is located at 716 Monroe St NE.
Every Friday, from May 6 to September 30, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm: Arts on 8th interactive dance performances. These events will take place at O’Connell Plaza located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street or in front of Busboys and Poets. Rain location will be inside Busboys and Poets.
Every Saturday, through September 24th, 1:30 pm: Get Creative workshops in arts & crafts, movement & gardening
at Dance Place, located at 3225 8th St NE.
We have been following Arts Park, a project by Dance Place to turn the currently empty Kearny Street Alley between their building and the Brookland Artspace Lofts (3305 and 3225 8th Street, NE) into an artistic, playable green space. On Thursday March 31st from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. there will be a groundbreaking event for the park and the community is invited to attend. You can RSVP for the ground breaking by emailing artspark(at)danceplace(dot)org or call 202.269.1600.
Closely modeled off of Dance Place’s super popular Art on 8th Programs, the Park will host interactive programming for all ages, including games, music concerts, movie nights, community gardens, dance presentations, workshops and more. The Grand Opening of the park is expected to be in Fall of 2016.
We have been following Arts Park, a project by Dance Place to turn the currently empty Kearny Street Alley between their building and the Brookland Artspace Lofts (3305 and 3225 8th Street, NE) into an artistic, playable green space. Now it looks like the project is moving full steam ahead after Dance Place was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to create the park. Construction will begin Winter/Spring 2016. From a press release:
The space will be converted into an artistic, playable green space. Design features include lighting and canopy overhead, entirely new colorful surfacing, a convertible outdoor stage, film screen and five public art commissions by local artists. Dance Place and the Arts Park Steering Committee are delighted to be working with CBE firm Lee & Associates Landscape Architects, who are providing a large portion of their services pro bono. Check out some of their past work at http://www.leeandassociatesinc.com/
Closely modeled off of Dance Place’s wildly successful Art on 8th Programs, the Park will host interactive programming for all ages, including games, music concerts, movie nights, community gardens, dance presentations, workshops and more.
Sounds like another great new amenity for the area! We will let you know when we hear anything new.
We thought neighbors would like to know about this opportunity to learn safe and realistic self defense techniques that can be used in everyday situations while brunching and meeting neighbors.
The class will be held at Dance Place (3225 8th Street, NE) on Sunday, November 8th from 12 -2 PM. The cost is $45 per person and you have to register here ahead of time. From an email:
The one hour class will begin promptly at 12 PM after which we will sip mimosas and enjoy a light brunch. Please wear workout attire and plan to arrive 10 minutes early to fill out the appropriate paperwork.
Back in January we wrote about a project by Dance Place to turn the currently empty Kearny Street Alley between their building and the Brookland Artspace Lofts (3305 and 3225 8th Street, NE) into an artistic, playable green space. Now that they have gathered neighborhood feedback, they are moving forward with the project. From a community notice:
Dance Place is seeking artists to create semi-permanent (2-5 years) public art works for an Arts Park that will be in the public space between Dance Place and the Brookland Artspace Lofts. The Park is scheduled to open in September 2016, with construction on the Park in Winter/Spring 2016. Installation of selected public art works is anticipated for May-June or August 2016.