Volume 19 • Issue 3 | May 2 - 8, 2006

Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

P.S. 124 fifth graders got “a little bit louder” in the aisles while performing “Shout” as part of their version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Friday.

Chinatown dancers add a little funk to Shakespeare

An unusual performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was held last Friday at P.S.124 in Chinatown. And it was obvious to the delighted children filling the school’s auditorium that this was not your father’s Shakespeare.

Over 100 fifth graders bright blue, yellow, orange and green tee-shirts, filled the stage and both aisles for the very modern interpretation of the Bard’s classic. Different classes represented different portions of the play, including Greek gods and goddesses, trees of the forest and love and betrayal.

“The Ultimate Shakespearience” was the year-end celebration of the National Dance Institute, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 by the world-renowned, New York City Ballet dancer Jacques D’Amboise to bring dance education programs to city schools.

An actor playing Shakespeare, center, introduced “The Ultimate Shakespearience” to the audience.

The first dance, a fight scene between lovers Hernia and Lysander, was performed to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” When Puck took the stage to spread love dust, the character of Shakespeare sang a rocking version of “Love Potion Number 9.” And, when the lovers briefly part, the children in the aisles sang “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.”

Gina Carlette, an N.D.I. teacher and choreographer, said the students have participated the entire school year. “We started the early steps in October,” she said, and each class was held once a week since then.

—Jefferson Siegel


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