Sunset’s Wednesday Mornings on the Hill wrap up summer in style

August 18, 2016 Jaime DeJesus
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Bringing dance to Sunset Park youth!

Friends of Sunset Park and the CityParks Foundation concluded the 21st anniversary season of Wednesday Mornings on the Hill with a final performance of the summer by four performers from the  Starchild Dance Lindy Hop Project.

The initiative, which began in the summer of 1995, was designed to give children a place to enjoy activities and musical events while school was out.

On Wednesday, August 17, local camps and kids from around the city sat on the Sunset Park lawn to learn the history of jazz and hip hop dance and watch them performed. The foursome also performed the Charleston and line dancing.

“It’s always a highlight of our summer to do these children’s performances and this is a beautiful park to come to,” said Traci Bartlow, artistic director of the Starchild Dance Lindy Hop Project, which performed in Sunset for the second consecutive summer.

“It’s important to me to keep on inspiring different generations of youth from different backgrounds because New York is so full of culture that we need to tap into,” added dancer Ray Davis.

Performer Rehema Trimiew discussed the joy of sharing unique music with the youngsters. “It’s great because the kids are not exposed to this type of dance,” she said. “Some of these are older dances and they think that this stuff is new and as we say in the show, these are based on older styles.”

“The kids are the ones that are going to keep this dance and history alive,” added dancer Samuel Coleman. “The theme of our show is what was old is new again. A lot of times kids think it’s something new but they don’t realize that it has roots in something from before them.”

Attendees were also part of the show as, during several portions, kids were encouraged to get up and dance along with the professionals.

“We came from Harlem to see them,” said Juan D., who brought two children to the show. “We saw them on Monday, and loved them so much that we decided to come here and see them again.”

Founder of Friends of Sunset Maria Roca is happy that another successful summer of activities has concluded. “(Music history) doesn’t always get covered in schools and children need access to all the ingredients,” she said, adding that the tradition remains strong. “We have young adults who come up saying, ‘You don’t remember me, but 20 years ago, I was that five-year-old in the audience.’ They remember what a great time they had and some of them are bringing their own children here now.”


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