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Weekend In Entertainment: Virtual Latin Dance Class, African Drumming & More!

Latin Dance

It's time to take a look at the weekend's entertainment lineup. There’s African drumming by Drums4Life, one of many groups hosting virtual events this weekend -- along with art workshops, theater performances, and a Latin dance class. Joining WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn for this edition of Weekend In Entertainment to discuss these virtual events is Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve. 

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi Ryan.

Ryan Pitkin: Hi Gwen. Great to talk to you again.

Glenn: Same here. I hope all is well. 

Pitkin: Yeah, can’t wait to get back in the studio. For now, this will do. We'll get some cool virtual events. 

Ryan Pitkin
Credit Ryan Pitkin
Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve.

Glenn: So, North Carolina is in Phase 2 of its reopening plans. However, large gatherings are still not allowed. But artists and organizations have been creative in sustaining themselves during these unprecedented times with things like virtual events that people can participate in from the comfort of their homes. The African drum circle is one of those events going live on Saturday. Ryan, tell us about it. 

Pitkin: Right. So this is a cool, family-friendly event that they do every weekend where you can tune in and you can sort of just make drums with whatever you've got at home. If you have African drums you can use them. You can use pots, pans, water jugs, whatever you like. And this is an event sponsored by Mecklenburg County's Culture Block. They hold all sorts of things across the city when we can go outside. But they're doing this now, sort of to adapt. 

Glenn: So, Ryan, people seeing each other on Zoom. How's it working? 

Pitkin: This is something you can tune in with them through either their Facebook or Instagram pages. And that's Drums4Life with the numeral four. Search for them on either of those social media platforms. 

Glenn: And what time will it be held?

Pitkin: That's every Saturday at noon. So a good way to let off some steam at the end of the week. 

Glenn: Oh, yeah. That sounds great. And also on tap online, the Connected Art Workshop: Abstract Acrylic Painting put on by the McColl Center.

Pitkin: Right. So this is their latest workshop. They've been hosting some different things online. And this is hosted by the great Charlotte artist, Laurie Smithwick. And she's going to have you put down the brushes and teach folks how to do simple abstract composition using only palette knives. If you're not familiar with what palette knives are, they're sort of self-explanatory in the name. But this will actually teach you how to use them. They are knives used for artistic purposes, but this will let you learn different techniques of how to apply the paint to the canvas beyond just the brush. And you can also sort of master the basics. This is a cool way to learn a new skill and put it in your repertoire as an artist during the quarantine. 

Glenn: And there is a cost with this one, right?

Pitkin: Right. So that one costs $70-75 a person. And it will be held on Saturday, at 10 a.m. and you can find it at mccollcenter.org/art-workshops

Glenn: Ryan, I know a lot of people are like me, missing live staged theater productions. So to fill that void this weekend, there's the TC@Home: Quarantine the Musical with Theatre Charlotte this Sunday. This weekly show is a mock musical. Sounds like fun. Tell us about it. 

Pitkin: So, yeah, they've been doing this every week for a little while. It's a nice, lighthearted thing that they're doing at Theatre Charlotte. The mock musical each week sort of features interviews and performances from cast members there and they bring in special guests. One of my favorite things they do is to share some of their audition videos that they think are the funniest -- blooper videos if you will. 

Glenn: What time and where can people log in?

Pitkin: So the next one will be this Sunday at 7 p.m. And that's on Theatre Charlotte's Facebook page. Just remember, when you're searching for that, that theater is spelled with an R-E at the end. 

Glenn: Finally there’s a virtual Latin Dance Class with the Charlotte Ballet. With gyms closed, we can all use a bit more of exercising. Tell us about that, Ryan. 

Pitkin: You're right. And that we could all use a little bit more exercise, while we've been at home for the last couple of months. But then imagine also you come out of this quarantine and folks are allowed to hit the dance floor again and you suddenly have these new dance skills. I think that would be pretty amazing. So you got local teaching artist Lorraine Crittendon, and my apologies if I butchered that pronunciation, but she is going to be leading a free virtual Latin dance class that's open to dancers, all ages, all skill levels. And this is another one also sponsored by Culture Blocks through Mecklenburg County. 

Glenn: Where do folks sign up for this one?

Pitkin: That's going to be at Charlotte Ballet Academy's portal. And you can find that through charlotteballet.org.  

Glenn: Well thanks Ryan for joining me today.

Pitkin: Thanks for having me.

Glenn: That’s Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve.

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