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Wandering Dance Society Presents!

July 05, 2024

Persip Park, 175 North Street, will feature a variety of interactive performances presented by the Wandering Dance Society as part of the July 5 First Fridays at Five and the free Downtown Pittsfield Summer Music Series. Performances will be 30-45 minutes each. At 5 pm, enjoy an African Dance Lesson with Noel Staples-Freeman. At 5:45 pm, Olawale “Wale” Oladehin will lead a Salsa lesson. From 6:30 to 7:15 pm, the Berkshire Rhythm Keepers will perform led by Aimee Gelinas; and the night will conclude with more Salsa dancing from 7:15 to 8 pm. Dancers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate throughout the evening.

Noel Staples-Freeman is a resident of Pittsfield and a graduate of Emerson College, holding a B.S. in Children’s Theatre/Performing Arts and Dance. Noel has dedicated over five decades to teaching and the performing arts, both locally and internationally. Her formal training started at age 11 at The Billie Pope School of Dance in Roxbury followed by The Boston Conservatory of Music, The Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, The Art of Black Dance and Music, and Koumpo West African Dance Company. Noel’s illustrious career includes notable performances such as Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston in 1990, participation in Dance Africa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and appearances at Jacob’s Pillow. As the Founder and Director of Uprising Dance Theatre since 1983, Noel leads an intergenerational group celebrating the African Diaspora’s traditional and contemporary dance, music, and theater.

Olawale “Wale” Oladehin trained in Salsa and Afro Cuban dance with several Boston companies, including Salsa Y Control, MetaMovements, and Masacote. After several years of training, Wale joined Masacote as an instructor and performer in their professional Salsa company. Masacote’s emphasis on musicality and culture helped Wale better appreciate the interconnectedness of music and dance. With Masacote, Wale has had the opportunity to perform in Canada, London, Istanbul, and across the US.

The Berkshire Rhythm Keepers are an intergenerational, multi-level community drum and song group founded and led by Aimee Gelinas M.Ed, Director of the Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center and co-founder of Gaia Roots and Trio Candela. BRK participants attend Aimee’s weekly Monday evening drum and song classes at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, which is open to beginners and advanced drummers. The group performs traditional music on folkloric instruments from West Africa and the Caribbean, as well as on original creations. Members of BRK have been studying and performing together for 15+ years.

The BRK performance on July 5th will feature stories and the cultural context of the rhythms, audience participation, and may include guest dancers!

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July 5
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Persip Park
175 North Street
Pittsfield, 01201 United States


Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.
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