Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Calling ALL Performers!


Now that the dog days of summer are closing in on us and the grind of school schedules are upon us, we kick off our 2014-2015 season with one of the best festivals in Virginia next to the State Fair, the Fall Festival of Folklife in Newport News, VA.  Even better, YOU can perform with us as Atumpan Edutainment holds auditions for performers of all ages, genders, and experience levels.  If you are in need of audition and performance help, here are a few tips from one of our community collaborators, the Hurrah Players:
  • The purpose of auditions is to see each student in his or her best light, performing as comfortably as possible.
  • Regarding dance and movement auditions: the students are given routines and steps consistent with the requirements of the show. Frequently the dance for groups is not difficult and simply demands rhythm, counts and stage presence. At other times, dances may require more trained students with specific abilities
  • Be proud of your work. Work on it until it becomes outstanding
  • Become aware of your progress and show a desire for improvement
  • Concentrate. Be happy, thoughtful, cooperative and pleasant
  • A panel of judges will review your audition piece
   Ready to audition? No worries, over the last three months, Atumpan Edutainment invited regular folks just like yourself to join our Rhythms of Life series as we hosted a World Music & Dance Circle at the end of June, July, and August.  This slideshow shows the comfort of the stage.

Friday, June 20, 2014



      As we complete our successful 2013-2014 season, there's lots of reasons to celebrate and we hope you can join us in class next Wednesday or at the World Music & Dance Circle on Thursday.
     We'd love to hear how you like our CD cover for our new, Christ-centered release, S.A.F.A.R.I., either here in the comments or on our Facebook page.  If you'd be so kind to LIKE the page while you're there, that'd be just dandy.  It releases in NYC, MIA, and VA next week!


     With this being the 20th year that Corey the Talented Blind Guy has been without sight, we appreciate all of your support to make it the best year so far.  Atumpan, through your support, continues to support the Malala Fund, Feed the ChildrenOperation Smile, and Art & Abolition amongst several other organizations that are making a difference in the lives of others.  A heartfelt THANK YOU to you all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wild Out Wednesdays are HERE

     Wild Out Wednesdays are here, compliments of Atumpan and the endless edutainment they offer.  The assistant choreographer for Atumpan is VCU dance major Fannese Britton who lends her Zumba certification to helping YOU get your best beach body before its too late.  
     As with Atumpan African Dance classes, all ages will dance together from 6:30pm-7:30pm so bring your friends and family.  If you don't register early, just show up and pay in class.

If you're wondering what good a beach body does if you won't be hanging out there this summer, then have no fear, the answers are here:
  • Enjoy walking up and down stairs, hills, and through theme parks without tiring
  • Reinstate your New Year's Resolution to 'get it together' in only four easy weeks
  • Learn dance fundamentals during warm up sessions as a perk
  • Feel like the dancers in this video and say 'I can do that with my eyes closed'
We hope to see you at the Attucks Theatre tomorrow or an upcoming Wednesday...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Atumpan African Dance Honors Nelson Mandela

      The wind blew across the savannah plains and elephants trumpeted in the background as villagers gathered to celebrate the arts in creative ways.  Young and old were in love and respect of one another as Atumpan African Dance graced the plains in colorful garb to perform West African and South African dance.  The South African song, Siyahamba, was in tribute to the late great Nelson Mandela as we embrace his legacy of acceptance and equality for all people.
      Okay, so the savannah plains were actually the Field Stage area of the Norfolk Zoo, but there really were elephants (quietly) hanging out in the background.  The event was hosted by Young Audiences of VA, one of our favorite arts-in-education companies, entitled Arts are Wild.  We had load of fun performing and enjoying the puppet shows, folk music, and colonial dances of other artists as well as the authors and books there to promote  the joys of reading. 
      Join us sometime for ongoing classes suitable for all ages at the Attucks Theatre in Norfolk, or for onsite educational programming related to antibullying, world literature, and history.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BEST Blind Man's Bluff - Highlights from Spring Break Performance Camp

      Disability awareness was the focus of the original play script written by Corey the Talented Blind Guy for the Performance Camp hosted by Atumpan.  Campers enjoyed the rotation of classes for theater/acting, props/set design, and choreography/step in order to perform Three Blind Mice On-Site for parents, Crispus Attucks Cultural Center board members, as well as community walk-ins.  Loads of creative fun for teens, tweens, and jumping beans for sure. 

     Even though camp is over, performance opportunities with Atumpan are ongoing.  This memorial day weekend will be our fifth year opening the 24th Annual Umoja Fest in Portsmouth, VA.  If you want to join us, sign up to AUDITION as we engage the audience in world music, folklore, and dance!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sinte (Guinea, West Africa) dance tutorial

    People are shy when it comes to African Dance.  It's the fear of the unknown, but no worries dark-corner-dancers, you can try these simple dance moves in the broad daylight of your living room.  As you will see and enjoy, there are two, young, wiggly assistants dancing right along.  If they can, YOU CAN TOO.
    I encourage you to have fun with this tutorial and let me know how confident you felt afterward.  My teaching skills are exercised several times a week with my dance troupe, Atumpan African Dance so I really did attempt to talk you through as though I'm teaching in Norfolk, VA.

    If you had fun and you are in our area, come JOIN US in class.  The first class is FREE, so you can't go wrong with a trial.  Classes are affordable with an $85 yearly membership that allows you to pay once and play a lot.  All ages dance together, so the parents can even dance with the children rather than trade off waiting for each other's fun to move along.  Performances opportunities are numerous and totally optional.    Subscribe to this blog to always receive updates on auditions, performances, and more.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Perform with Atumpan (Yes, YOU)

Come one
Come all
Join the great performance ball! 
     Ball of fun, that is.  You guessed it, friends, fans, and foes:  Performance Camp with Atumpan is open to the talented first few to brave the stage with the limitless onstage fun that Atumpan is renowned for.  School-age and young adult campers will attend a 3-day camp from 10am-3:00pm where they learn an original show, create props and costumes, and learn several genres of dance to perform a theatrical presentation at the historic Attucks Theatre.  The author of the "3 Blind Mice Onsite" production is Hampton Roads' favorite, Corey the Talented Blind Guy.  As his wife, I manage all logistics, creativity and otherwise, but we haven't come up with a catchy name for me yet. Camp instructors and volunteers will guide the campers through a fantastic frenzy of creativity from Wednesday through Friday, April 16-18, so that the masses can appreciate the onstage talents  Saturday morning, April 19, 2014, at 11:00am.  JOIN US.  Really, sign up to be onstage with us.
      Okay I get it, you are a little nervous about performing with some of the best creative minds without an absolute guarantee that you can perform again with us soon thereafter.  Have no fear, The Arts are Wild, performance opportunity is here! If you didn't read that last line in your Super Hero announcer voice, please reread in the appropriate fashion.  You must understand that the host of this event, Young Audiences of Virginia, is one of our favorite Arts in Education supporters and this event is BIG as it supports art, literacy, and animals so it just don't get no better. [yes, that's intentional incorrect grammar for effect]  On Saturday, May 3, 2014, Atumpan performs several times at the Norfolk Zoo and you can perform with us.  Just watch the calendar for rehearsal dates once you've committed to performing.  A tribute to Nelson Mandela is even part of our (your) performance, WOW.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

American Honey (Whiskey) leads my Path to Freedom

     No shame in my game folks, just ask the dude at the counter ringing up people's weekend libations and giving me the side-eye for my enthusiasm towards the pictured Freedom Fighter.  If you know my hectic schedule then you know that I must, at all times, be free of germs and mental illness and cancer and much more.  The aforementioned reference to this American Honey (whiskey) as a Freedom Fighter does all of that.  At least for me anyways.  I only drink the liquid gold at the onset of an illness and have been free to do the following 3 things: 
  1.     Corey the Talented Blind Guy is sitting there next to one of our dancers (DJ) in a recent birthday celebration that we performed for.  Not only does DJ speak Japanese, Spanish, mediocre Chinese, and real good English, he's also an amazing performer that we adore.  He's one of the stellar performers in this weekend's best show onstage entitled The Path to Freedom.  I agree, he does look free of most of his clothes, but that was at the specific request of the Birthday Girl for the male African dancers to be "...as natural as they can."                                                               
  2.      Speaking of freedom, there's nothing more free than Mardi Gras with all of the interesting things that can happen in New Orleans.  When Corey and I last visited New Orleans it was November and we only did respectable upstanding things when in the company of those of who knew us.  For Atumpan African Dance, we will be recreating Congo Square for next Saturday's Mardi Gras performance.  We made masks at our Marvelous Mardi Gras Mask-Making with Lynn Ruehlmann and one of our lucky dancers, Harmony, found the baby in the King Cake!  It looks like her mom and grandmother will host next year's party.  Join us at a discount for the show.
  3.      This interview with the Hurrah Players' namesake and founder, Hugh Copeland, sums it all up for you when it comes to Freedom Fighting.  Our relationship with him over the past 15 years has given us the freedom to be creative and to be challenged artistically.  Corey's production of The Path to Freedom shows us how if we open our minds to the possibilities rather than inabilities then we are always free.  Heck, Corey has an obvious disability that hasn't stopped him.  I'm still praying for a cure for his handicap in "listening to the wife" and I solicit your fervent, effective  prayers as well in this ongoing and debilitating inability of his!  If you're attending the show, use this coupon for a discount on merchandise from Atumpan.    

Monday, January 20, 2014

TurnUp for Dr. King, King Cake & Kings of Auditions

It's Martin Luther King's...Holiday!
Always on the third...Monday!
Of which month?...January!
Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!
     That was our mantra for today's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  event as I led an edutaining good time with adults and children, complete with Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday salute. 
     With the use of world music, folklore, and dance, and a theme of being fair for all people, we were able to turn up in King's honor.  I'm sure Dr. King would have approved of turning things up in the name of freedom, justice, and equality. We had various ages, races, and religions enjoying each other without judgment.  Well, I did judge that child in the loud-smelling diaper a little, but I made up for it by leaving him an activity booklet.  Download your very own  MLK booklet compliments of yours truly.
       I'm sure you are wondering when our next public event will be so you can enjoy a cake as fancy as the one pictured here.  Wonder no more when you register for a Marvelous Mardi Gras Mask-Making workshop with the master herself, Lynn Ruehlmann on Saturday, February 1, 2013 from 12 noon to 2:00pm.  In order to prepare for our upcoming Mardi Gras at the Museum performance,  Atumpan-The Talking Drums has enlisted the professional expertise of Lynn Ruehlmann.  We will have a fantastic time creating masks and eating King Cake as we all hope to find the baby in our piece of cake.  Per tradition, winner of the baby determines the host of next year's Mardi Gras party so good luck in advance!  If you are looking to score discount tickets for the Mardi Gras at the Museum performance, then it helps to know people like us in high places.
    Speaking of festivities, please [insert fanfare here] as I release long-awaited results of the judges' tallies.  Our auditions for people to perform in the Mardi Gras at the Museum generated a swarm of interest, yet only 6 performers and 2 alternates could be slated.   Performers are listed by score and a 3-way tie landed us with 9 performers (lead dances) and 3 alternates (accessory dances). 
CONGRATULATIONS to the following people.
Score of 15(top score) to 14: Sequoia S., Yaani E., Senait B.
Score of 13.8 to 13:  Tequila T., Anaiyah E, Destinee H ., Crystal S., Kideste W., Nhyjah S.  
Alternates:  Amelia, Brooklynn, Christiana

Friday, January 17, 2014

20 Years Without Vision Makes Things Clear

     The wildly successful onstage production of Harambe for the Holidays filled 600 of the 642 seats of the historic Attucks Theatre on Thursday, December 26, 2013.  The theatrical explanation of Kwanzaa was complete with a talented cast of actors, dancers, singers and Corey the Talented Blind Guy himself.  Surely it was a fantastic way for Atumpan-The Talking Drums to end another busy and productive year. 
    If we're talking about Harambe for the Holidays, what's up with The Path to Freedom picture?  This year, Corey the Talented Blind Guy has been without sight for 20 years.  Rather than muddle in the significant loss that he has experienced, we aim to make this year our best yet. Before the last production could finish, the Hurrah Players made sure that Corey the Talented Blind Guy was working on their latest commission for him - to provide a script for their 2013-2014 season.  How do you say anything but "Yes, of course" to Virginia's Leading Family Theater when they boast such an amazing 30 year track record? 

     As Corey's wife, I am still the 19 year old beauty that he remembers seeing when we dated eons ago, and I am still the boss.  Not a whole lot has changed there. We are both appreciative of the support of folks like yourself throughout our onstage and community, and encourage you to keep up the good work!   Always check our calendar to stay up to date on the fun.  Join us at the Hurrah Players' Perry Family Theater on February 7, 8, & 9 to start our best year yet!

     Okay, back to Harambe for the Holidays. Here are REVIEWS from attendees:

"This was the best organized and performed Kwanzaa I've ever been to.  The program flowed well with the dancers, and the storytelling, and the songs from those children were wonderful."

"Just THANK YOU for allowing us to enjoy this event with all of you! I know my niece and I will never forget it! "

"It was such a joy to watch and celebrate Kwanzaa at the Attucks theatre. Keep up the great work."

     And now, the moment you've been waiting for is here!  A slideshow of some of the Highlights from Harambe for the Holidays for your viewing pleasure with video clips soon to come.