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NY Family Arts Festival Offers Events 6/11-28

Currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary, The Riverside Theatre is presenting its 12TH Annual New York Family Arts Festival, a festival of interactive multicultural weekend activities for families to enjoy from Friday, June 11 - Monday, June 28 at the Theatre, 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd St.), Morningside Heights. All Festival events are free of charge to attend.

Incorporating the Theatre's anniversary theme, From Legacy to Promise, all Festival events and activities will feature not only established artists, but new, up and coming talent as well. The Festival continues to empower and celebrate family through fun culturally innovative performances, workshops and dialogues offering opportunities to share creative experiences and improve communication. The Festival will feature performances from multicultural artists and interactive workshops ranging from dance and storytelling to music and theater. Following is a schedule of the fun and exciting events that families will be able to enjoy during the month-long Festival:

Friday, June 11: Artz, Rootz, Rhythm - 7:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored by the Harlem Arts Alliance, outstanding young talent and seasoned performers will bring the Theatre's Legacy to Promise theme to life. Experience the delightful emerging dancers of Uptown Dance Academy and the sensational 14-year-old guitarist Solomon Hicks. Then swing to the superb jazz music of the 100-year-old New Amsterdam Musical Association. Hosted by Phyllis Yvonne Stickney.

Saturday, June 12: Iranian Cultural Village - 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Co-Sponsored by Iran Heritage Magazine, the Persian Arts Festival and PAAIA, the Iranian Cultural Village will feature a day of cultural activities, performances and food celebrating the rich arts and culture of Iran-a culture whose civilization dates back thousands of years.
2:00 p.m. Exhibits & Displays (calligraphy, books and art, Persian artifacts, traditional and regional costumes)
3:00 p.m. Iranian Dance Workshop - Learn Mahali and Gilan folk dances, including the Qashqa'l scarf dance.
4:00 p.m. Crafts Workshop - Learn backgammon and how to write your name in Persian.
5:00 p.m. Classical Persian Music Demonstration with Dr. Iraj Jannatei Ataet
6:00 p.m. Crafts Workshop - Enjoy making various beaded creations.
7:00 p.m. Ballet Afsaneh & Ranna Dance Group Performance - Niloufar Talebi and Bobek Salehi present a dynamic, theatrical spoken word and music performance bridging the ancient world with the now. Also enjoy the riveting sounds of Haale's Persian Sufi Rock.

Sunday, June 13: Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company: "Imaginary Beings from Japan" - 2:00 p.m.
Dances of fascinating creatures (RYU (Dragon), DARUMA, Fire-eating Bird and more) in colorful costumes followed by the audience participating in a workshop to learn traditional Japanese children's games.

Friday, June 18: Power of Drum V, "Next Generation" - 7:00 p.m.
In keeping with its 50th Anniversary theme, Power of Drum -hosted by Michael Wimberly-showcases the next generation of up and coming drummers and percussionists. Enjoy young artists who have been mentored by some of New York's finest musicians-playing jazz, rock and music from around the world. Hear the funky textured precision of Brooklyn's top drum line, the BK Steppers. Witness the percussive virtuosity of 7-year-old Miguel Russell, features with the dynamic percussion of Baba Don Eaton. Experience the explosive youth division of the Harambe Dance Company led by the powerful Frankie Malloy Jr.

Saturday, June 19: Stories on Stage, Memories of Nueva York Childhoods - 7:00 p.m.
These delightful stories from four award-winning Hispanic authors evoke the spirit and voices of our community's past, present and future: 'A Very Special Pet' by Nicholasa Mohr, 'Lunch at the Biltmore: An Outing with My Father' by Pulitzer Prize-winner Oscar Hijuelos, 'Fiesta 1980' by Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz, and 'The Maid's Daughter' by Julia Alvarez

Sunday, June 20: THE CLOWNS (Los Payasos) - 2:00 p.m.
Featuring Dr. Glory's Youth Theatre, families enjoy an original musical written, directed and choreographed by Dr. Glory Van Scott. In the mythological planet of "WuTalway" live the people called: "WuTalwaylalaeezers," who along with their queen called "oh yeah - sis," decide that the only emotion they will allow to be expressed on their planet is laughter. In order to accomplish this, they kidnap famous clowns from Earth--Los Payasos, Harlequin, Scaramouche, Pagliacci Pierrot, Emmett Kelly and their leaders Columbia Alpha, Columbia Beta, and their Joyous Creature called Appearance. Find out what shocks the WuTalwaylalaeezers, and how Los Payasos teach them about the beauty and marvelous wonders of humanity.

Saturday, June 26: Aesop Family Fable - 7:00 p.m.
Join M.C. D. Cross for a Jazzed, Popped, Hip-Hopped and Beat-Boxed version of Aesop's fables, with performances from award-winning actress and activist Vinie Burrows, and FABLE (Ronnie Haynie, Lorenzo Von Smith, Tequan Worthen). Families get to form performance teams and help bring randomly selected Aesop fables to life with only their creative voices.

Sunday, June 27: Harlem Speaks: Latin Jazz - 2:00 p.m.
In collaboration with The Jazz Museum in Harlem, audiences will enjoy a captivating interview with one of the most sought-after musicians on the contemporary Brazilian jazz scene, drummer Vanderlei Pereira. Combining a prodigious knowledge of Brazilian rhythms with dazzling technique and a distinctive touch, Vanderlei has captivated audiences with his unique and electrifying performances. Attendees are invited to bring their dancing shoes to swing to baião, ciranda, the syncopated maracatú and the driving, straight-ahead xote...the richness of Brazil rhythms-as Brazilian Jazz Quintet masterfully performs.

Tuesday, June 1 - Monday, June 28: Latin Roots: Washington Heights/Inwood
The Latin Roots: Washington Heights/Inwood exhibit celebrates the diverse cultural and historical importance of Washington Heights and Inwood by honoring three remarkable local heroes: Edilio Paredes, master bachata musician; Moises Perez, public advocate, community leader and founder of Alianza Dominicana; and Rosita Romero, pioneering feminist, community leader and founder of the Dominican Women's Development Center. Their dedication to supporting and encouraging the development of Washington Heights and Inwood has had a major impact on Northern Manhattan and beyond.

The New York Family Arts Festival is a June celebration of interactive multicultural performances and events, sponsored by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York Times Community Affairs Department and JPMorgan Chase. All events of the New York Family Arts Festival are free of charge. For more information or to RSVP to attend Festival events, the public can call 212-870-6784 or log on at To get to The Riverside Church by subway take the 1 to 116th St. and walk to 91 Claremont Avenue (bet. 120th & 122nd St.) one block west of Broadway.

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