On May 6-12 of this year, the Kennedy Center – which is dedicated to John F. Kennedy and produces plays, musicals, ballets and orchestral concerts, among others – takes its eccentric and inspiring performances to the streets during its Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America festival. Here is a quick list to point out just why this celebration of song and dance is a May must-see in Washington DC.
1. Easy access. Locations or performances abound, from Farragut Square and Yards Park to Woodrow Wilson Plaza and Nationals Park. This means you almost don’t even have to plan on catching it, if you’ll be touring the city on those days already – but to make sure you make the most of your trip, checking the schedule in advance is best to know which parks have the artists you’re most interested in.
2. Clothes made of twigs, feathers and human hair. Nick Cave, a Chicago-based trained dancer and influential artist, is showing off his wacky ‘Soundsuits’ – wearable fabric sculptures – in Yards Park on May 12.
3. People doing crazy moves on the side of a building. That is to say, Project Bandaloop, a brave and talented group that specializes in ‘vertical performance,’ will be making people gasp by dancing on the exterior of the Old Post Office the night of May 11. Live music, beautiful choreography – consider bringing a chair for this one.
4. Stunt dogs. Mutts Gone Nuts brings the entertainment of a circus-style canine show without the cringing feeling of animal cruelty – these dogs were all adopted from shelters or rescued, and thus one of the organization’s mission is to spread the message of animal rescue and responsible pet ownership. Dog-lovers shouldn’t pass by this little show!
5. Puppets. We’ve come a long way from Punch and Judy. The Vermont-based but NYC-originating Bread & Puppet Theater, which is one of the oldest self-supporting troupes in the U.S., will be performing on May 12, Saturday afternoon in Yards Park. Oh, and everyone in the audience gets bread to eat as they watch – for a very cute reason.
There are also juggling workshops, contortionist acts, chalk drawings, magicians, and parades… just another zany week in our nation’s capital. If you miss the festival in May, consider looking into other performances by the Kennedy Center.
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