Dancing all night at PLA, Lunar New Year, and more cultural festivities

The Weekly BSR Arts and Culture Roundup, January 18-24

4 minute read
Three Black women dancers in reddish gold leotards leap in unison against a red backdrop.
Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to Philly this weekend. (Photo by Rachel Neville.)

Coming up in Philly this week are a variety of cultural festivals and exhibits, and performances with impact. Simpatico Theatre’s new play offers personal insight into one of America’s biggest crises while the Weitzman extends its winter exhibit about American Jewish history (and futures) through the summer. Musicopia hits Afro-Brazilian beats and Penn Live Arts swings films and performances on the dance stage. And be sure to check out CultureFest! for the Lunar New Year.

A Shadow that Broke the Light
Through January 28, 2023
Drake Theatre, 302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia

Simpatico Theatre opened its new play last week that explores the personal effects of the ongoing overdose crisis in America. The one-man show is “part performance, part art installation.” Co-creators Adam and Charlie DelMarcelle lost their brother to an opioid overdose, and their loss is at the heart of the story—Charlie, who is the lone performer in the show, shares first-person accounts collected from the family and friends of victims of the crisis. Reporters, clinical health professionals, and artists will be in tow to discuss support resources for the audience.

The Future Will Follow the Past
Through July 4, 2023
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia

Jonathan Horowitz’s art exhibition that explores the significant changes in America since not only 2020 but in its decades prior is getting an extension through the summer. The exhibit addresses antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and more, and offers “new perspectives on history and raises—but does not answer—questions related to themes, ideas, and events” found in the Weitzman’s core exhibition that interprets over 360 years of American Jewish life. The Weitzman exhibits remain free.

Dancing with Penn Live Arts
January 19-21, 2023
Penn Live Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

This weekend, Penn Live Arts will host three compelling dance events. To start off, an evening of short films will screen at the Bruce Montgomery Theatre on January 19. The films include We Dance, a love story between two dancers “distilled into its most elemental ingredients: dreams, memories, family, and environments.” Then, there’s Nicholas Brothers: Stormy Weather, which looks at a dance routine in the 1940s that prefigured hip-hop through the perspective of tap dance phenom Savion Glover. Downstage shares the story of 11-year-old Aedan as he preps for his first solo ballet competition.

Then, Italian contemporary theater company Teatro delle Albe pays a visit to Philly with the US Premiere of fedeli d’Amore (Love’s Faithful). The performance reflects on Dante Alighieri and his last visions during his final passage from life to death.

To close it out, the iconic Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to the PLA stage with the world premiere of Blake Works IV (The Barre Project), a “love letter to dancers, to technique, to the possibilities of the ballet barre.” The performance runs January 20 and 21.

PONDora’s Fish Sauce Bottle 3
Friday, January 20, 8pm
Chi Movement Arts Center, 1316 South 9th Street, Philadelphia

Aaron Pond’s series of experimental music and movement pairings returns this weekend with Fish Sauce Bottle 3. Featured artists include songwriter Salina Kuo, a self-taught guzhengist and classical percussionist, and Maddy Mikami, a Philly-based dance and performance artist. Be sure to check out one of Kuo's performances on YouTube below.

Disclaimer: Aaron Pond contributes to BSR.

Community Paint Day
Thursday, January 19, 4:30-7pm
Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 North 5th Street, Philadelphia

Get your painterly skills going with artists from Amber Art & Design and Taller PR to help paint a new mural in North Philly. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, January 21, 10am-12pm
Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

The Ologundê ensemble brings Afro-Brazilian music, dance, and martial arts to the Kimmel this weekend for a free, family-friendly event. You’ll have the chance to check out capoeira martial arts dance, samba de roda, candomblé, and more.

CultureFest! Lunar New Year
Saturday, January 21, 10am-4pm
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia

It’s the year of the rabbit this time around, and the Penn Museum kicks off its Lunar New Year celebration this weekend. Arriving at its 42nd year, the festival features live music, dance performances, storytelling, art-making, and a marketplace with vendors. The traditional Lion Dance concludes the afternoon.

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