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Yes, Crabs Can Tango

Circle May 15-16 on your calendar if you live in central Virginia. Heck, circle it on your calendar wherever you live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Something really cool is brewing that you’ll want to see.

Minds In Motion, Richmond Ballet's education and outreach program for school students, is in rehearsal for a spectacular dance performance about…the Chesapeake Bay. Dancing about the Bay? Indeed. Minds In Motion is doing it all – crabs, oysters, underwater grasses, runoff, dead zones, the whole Bay story – through dance, music, and video.

You’ll get a flavor of what’s cooking from their press release:MIM 09-402crop

Hundreds of Richmond-area school students will combine their best dance moves with a “Save the Bay” message this May in a spectacular performance of “Dancing for a Brand New Bay” at the Arthur Ashe Center in Richmond.

The performance, which will culminate with a show-stopping finale involving more than 700 students on the stage at once, is the result of a year of dance instruction and Chesapeake Bay education by Minds In Motion, an education and outreach program of Richmond Ballet. Minds In Motion teaches movement and dance to fourth-graders in more than 20 Richmond area public and private schools.

Each year, the Minds In Motion program focuses instruction around a theme; this year, it is the Chesapeake Bay. Partnering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Minds In Motion instructors and students have been busy all year learning about the Bay, going on CBF field trips, and creating ways to express in movement and dance the Bay's many creatures, wonders, and woes.

It all comes together at the Arthur Ashe Center May 15 and 16 with four performances of “Dancing for a Brand New Bay,” a spirited, moving tribute to the Chesapeake Bay through dance, music, and video. Students from all participating schools will team up to perform, among others, “The Brackish Hoedown” to the music of the Dixie Chicks, and “The Blue Crab Tango.” Audiences will be “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” with Otis Redding and the underwater grasses.

Would you want to miss crabs doing the tango? The Brackish Hoedown? Seven hundred students dancing all at once? Is that even possible?

As you might guess, CBF is fully supportive of the Minds In Motion program and has been working with the student dancers and teachers over the past year to help them better understand and appreciate the Bay, and to explore other ways they can make a difference for the Bay – beyond dancing their hearts out in “Dancing for a Brand New Bay.”

“CBF is tremendously excited to be a partner with Richmond Ballet,” says Cindy Duncan, CBF Virginia teacher professional development coordinator. “Minds In Motion is a wonderful educational and cultural experience for students and such an effective way to teach and learn about the Bay. Bravo!”

And Cindy doesn’t even have a child in the show!

I can’t wait for “Dancing for a Brand New Bay.” I hope you’ll feel the same way and join us at Richmond’s Arthur Ashe Center, May 15, at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and May 16, at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

If that’s not possible, stay tuned. Minds In Motion will take “Dancing for a Brand New Bay” on the road next year to schools in the Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Martinsville, Va., areas.

I wonder if jellyfish jete?

By Chuck Epes

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