Let's Go / Best Bets: Dance week in London
Stars and Stripes June 19, 2007
Put on your dancing shoes and head to England’s capital city July 5-13 for the annual Big Dance London festival, a series of dance-related events throughout the city.
The festival includes a series of workshops, performances and shows, and has as its grand finale a huge choreographed dance at Trafalgar Square. (According to the event’s Web site, in 2006, the last time the event was held, it set a world record for the biggest piece of mass choreography performed to one track of music).
Workshops are varied and most are free. For example, from 1 to 2 p.m. on July 8, Bollywood dance choreographer Jay Kumar and his troupe will lead an Indian Bollywood dance class on the concourse of the British Library. If you prefer a 1950s rock or classical style, there will be 45-minute dance lessons given by professionals on the lawn of Kensington Gardens lawns beginning at 11 a.m. the same day.
Budding ballerinas 7 to 11 years old can join a Cinderella ballet workshop at the Central School of Ballet from 1:30 to 3 p.m. July 5. Professionals will guide them through the fairy-tale world with creative movement and dance. The workshop is free but children must be registered. Phone: (+44) (0) 20 7837 6332; Web site: www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk.
According to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Supremes were the most successful American pop group during the rock ’n’ roll era, second only to The Beatles on the record charts and in sales. Motown moguls shaped their image, one that evolved from wearing velvet and chiffon to glamorous sequined evening dresses. These extravagant outfits could cost between $13,000 and $26,000 at today’s prices.
One Supreme, Mary Wilson, kept many of the dresses in storage for more than 30 years. Fifty are on display at the museum’s exhibition "The Story of The Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection," showing at the museum through Oct. 19.
The exhibition also spotlights The Supremes’ album covers, performance footage, television appearances and magazine spreads. Sections also are dedicated to the group as black role models in the 1960s, the success of Motown Records and The Supremes’ influence on today’s girl bands.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets cost 5 pounds (about $10). Visits are timed. Find more details at www.vam.ac.uk.
On June 18, 1815, Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo by an allied force put an end to the French emperor’s bid for power. Today, many of the battlefield’s features remain the same, creating the perfect site for this weekend’s historical re-enactment of the famous battle.
About 1,200 soldiers from 12 countries will make up two bivouacs, where history enthusiasts can get a look at period weapons, equipment, cannons and camp life. On both days, battles will take place between the French and allied troops. In addition to the military scenarios, visitors can view exhibits, take bike tours of historical sites, assist in preparing imperial meals, watch period doctors tend to the wounded and join in other historical activities.
Weekend tickets are 5 euros for adults, 3 euros for children age 7 to 17, and free for those younger than 6. On-site tickets are available at the entrance of the two bivouacs at Dernier Quartier-Général de Napoléon and Hougoumont’s farm. Find more details on the program, with times, at www.waterloo1815.be.
The historical center of Ceský Krumlov is an ideal backdrop for the town’s Five-Petalled Rose Celebrations, a festival that harks back to the Renaissance.
On Friday, Renaissance group Blackmore’s Night (featuring Ritchie Blackmore formerly of Deep Purple) plays at the Eggenberg Brewery Gardens, the center of the festival’s activities. At 3 p.m. Saturday, a costumed procession makes its way through town. That night, torchlights will burn for the evening’s midsummer celebrations with fireworks at midnight from the Krumlov Castle. On Sunday, a children’s program with film stunt professionals and a jousting tournament are the main activities.
Admission to the festival on Saturday is 200 Czech crowns (about $13.25) for adults, 50 Czech crowns for children 11 to 15, and free for those younger than 10. Admission is free Friday and Sunday and for those wearing historical costumes.
The concert costs 650 Czech crowns. See more details at www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/atr244.xml.
Music will fill the air throughout the country as France celebrates Saturday’s midsummer evening with La Fête de la Musique, a series of free concerts and free performances in the streets, bars and cafes.
For a listing of sites, go to http://fetedelamusique.culture.fr. The information is in French, but you can recognize concert sites and music genres for Paris or a particular region. Click on "Programme," then "Le programme en France" and "Les concerts en France." From there, choose the region you want.
Mainz, the city of printer Johannes Gutenberg, celebrates the midsummer days with its Johannisnacht Fest (St. John’s Night Festival) Friday through Monday. In the city center you’ll find a continuing program of music, folklore groups and artists on five stages.
During the festivities, printing apprentices are initiated into the trade after completing their training by being dunked in water near the Gutenberg Museum. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through Monday, you may find that out-of-print book at a book fair at Ballplatz and Schillerplatz. Or from 2 p.m. to midnight daily, you can peruse the crafts market along the Rhine River. Get more details at www.stadt-mainz.de.
"Art in the Canal House Garden" is the theme of this year’s Open Garden Days in Amsterdam, during which 30 semi-private gardens are open to the public Friday through the weekend.
You can enjoy not only the grounds that originally were meant for family viewing during the winter months but also works set up by local artists.
Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is 12 euros. Find more details and a map at www.opentuinendagen.nl.