Dance and Comedy at SummerStage in East River Park This Weekend

The Niles Ford Urban Dance Collective is one of four dance companies performing this weekend in the East River Park Bandshell.

As we noted Monday, the massive free arts festival SummerStage is moving into the neighborhood, bringing a truly eclectic mix of performers to the East River Park Bandshell over the next two weeks. As part of the new, annual SummerStage Downtown series, the Bandshell will host acts as distant in genre as hip-hop producer-savant ARAABMUZIK and salsa crooner Jose Alberto (nick-name: “El Canario”) on consecutive evenings.

Tomorrow is opening night, dance is the focus, and the spirit is inclusive. White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, fresh off a tour of Korea and China, is presenting “Here NOW So Long,” a collaboration with composer Mark Cappelli that aims to illustrate the body’s endless potential for expression. It will be followed by work from members of the DoubleTake Dance Company, who update classical dance styles with modern flourishes. And there is education to match the entertainment; a free master class with the dancers and choreographers will run from 7-8 p.m., followed directly by the performances, and all ages and abilities are welcome to participate.

On Saturday: more movement, with performances from Philadelphia-based Eleone Dance Theater and the Niles Ford/Urban Dance Collective, robust, kinetic performers with a political edge. These performances will also be preceded by a master class at 7pm. It’s taught by fitness and dance specialist Calvin Wiley, so participants should prepare to perspire as they groove.

Then on Sunday things take a turn for the comic. Upright Citizens Brigade, the troupe that’s launched the careers of comedy heavyweights like Amy Poehler, is putting together two acts of fully improvised comedy from 7-8:30. The performance is being billed as an “all-star” show, with distinguished members past and present. Given the star-power of some UCB alumni, audiences may just get the chance to see some big names perform unscripted.

Current cast members of Upright Citizen’s Brigade, performing improv at the Bandshell on Sunday

Stay tuned for more coverage of SummerStage events at the East River Bandshell; we’ll have more info as the series continues.