Exhibit, walking tour, traveling performance piece to celebrate influence of South Bronx on popular music
Eleven blocks will come alive with Mambo dancers, stickball games and more
BY TANYANIKA SAMUELS / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
An 11-block stretch of fire escapes, stoops and alleys will come alive Saturday with Mambo dancers, conga players, stickball games and more in PASEO , a traveling music and dance celebration set to make its way through Hunts Point and Longwood.
“This is going to be an experience,” said Aviva Davidson, of the group, Dancing in the Streets. “I hope that it would be magical for people. I hope people get swept away.”
The festivities will mark the opening of the first leg of the South Bronx Culture Trail, a joint effort by Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Dancing in the Streets.
Launched last spring, project is designed to highlight the influence the South Bronx had on Latin music, doo wop, hip hop, and Afro Cuban jazz.
The two-year effort will culminate in a physical and virtual trail connecting more than 50 well-known and lesser-known sites that played a significant role in these music cultures.
“There’s so much culture and history that people simply don’t know about,” Davidson said.
“And I think it’s really important, especially for our kids, to understand what an amazing culture and history they come from,” added Casita Maria’s Sarah Calderson. “A lot of them don’t see that. They talk about violence in their neighborhoods and things that aren’t great. But I think if they knew about the talent that came from here, it would be life changing for them.”
PASEO is part of a daylong celebration that kicks off at noon with the opening of the “Casita/HOME”exhibit at Casita Maria, 928 Simpson St. The exhibition will showcase tokens donated by residents that remind them of home.
The festivities continue with a walking tour of the culture trail.
Then PASEO will showcase more than 80 dancers, musicians, poets, and actors, such as dance legend Arthur Aviles and poet La Bruja, who will perform and portray street scenes that show slices of life in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
The production will include 30 community members of all ages who will be playing such popular urban street games as Double Dutch and Stickball.
PASEO is the work of choreographer Joanna Haigood, music director Bobby Sanabria and Davidson. It’s based on Haigood’s interviews with residents about life in the South Bronx between 1945 and 1970.
It will step off from Casita Maria, then participants will follow members of the ensemble , Los Pleneros de la 21, through the streets, ending with a rousing dance party with live salsa music at 52 Park, on Kelly St.
To learn more, visit dancinginthestreets.org or call Casita Maria at (718) 589-2 230.