“It is a time to celebrate the energy of Washington Square Park and the community,” says Naomi Goldberg Haas.
Last weekend, professional dancers and guest artists teamed with the locals who have been taking the WSP summer classes with Goldberg Hass’ Movement Speaks® for an exciting and expressive series of performances at Garibaldi Plaza.
Classes started in early June when older Village denizens welcomed the opportunity to emerge from COVID-driven hibernation. Through a series of exercises and prompts for interpretative movements, these New Yorkers are enjoying the park through movement.
REVIVAL 5 performed in-person, the fifth end-of-summer dance celebration, to a full audience seated in the Park’s Garibaldi Plaza. The afternoon of eleven pieces included guest artist solos and duets and collaborative works with students.
Guest artist Ellen Sackoff commented on how motivated her small group of students were. “We only had three rehearsals at the Ballet Hispanico rehearsal space,” she reported. Also noting that the two additional Zoom and one park rehearsal gave the student dancers confidence.
Performing participants find their way to Movement Speaks® classes in a variety of ways.
At summer’s start, owner of Arturos Lisa Guita happened on the WSP class while walking her dog. She’s been creatively moving—and her dog watching—with the weekly morning class ever since.
Traveling to the class, a one-hour trip from Queens is not too much to attend for Marlene Medina-Bassis who reveals, “My soul comes back to my body when I dance.”
Greenwich Village resident Qiuxia Shea spotted the class just by passing by and began dancing with the classes every Tuesday. When she took Saturday’s artist-led dance workshop a couple hours before the REVIVAL 5 performance she “was surprised to see so many in the workshop. Even young people joined the class.”
“Performing in this beautiful setting, outside and given the state of the world was marvelous! ” says Celia Michels who danced with the guest artists. “And, so much fun.” For the second year, this bi-national (London-New York) New Yorker has been taking the outdoor classes whenever she’s in the city.
First-time ever performer in public, Terri Henry was a weekly regular at the Dapolito classes before it shut down commented, “It was a thrill to see so many of my classmates and to watch the joy with everyone who was performing. It was exhilarating.”
And, for East Village resident Judy Josephs, the weekly classes are giving her energy, a place to go, and helping her get out of a depression. She was so glad to be part of the performance last weekend, “It was great!”
The program of dances on a perfect Indian Summer day delighted a full and enthusiastic audience as Goldberg Haas sums up the afternoon, “It was wonderful to see old friends and new enjoying themselves.”
Movement Speaks® has found a new collaborator with Greenwich House, and these weekly classes of movement and dance will continue at Garibaldi Plaza on Tuesday mornings from 9:30-10:30 am through the beginning of December.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.