How about a spring break outing that gets kids moving, introduces artistry from different cultures and costs almost nothing? We'll take it!
Cultural traditions from around the globe will take center stage at the Seattle Center Amory during Movin’ Around the World, a festival of fun for families taking place April 7–13, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. daily.
Set to coincide with the many local school districts' spring break — including Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Highline and North Shore — this is the first program from Our Big Neighborhood, a partnership between Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center. Local master tradition bearers will teach and demonstrate songs, dances and art to kids and their caregivers during this interactive festival.
“Our goal is to offer really cost-effective programming for families when all of a sudden the kids are around for a week. Everyone can actually participate in dancing and make some art projects while learning about cultures and traditions that exist in our region,” says Anna Buxton, Programs Coordinator at Northwest Folklife.
There is a suggested donation of $5 per person, though everyone is welcome.
Each of the seven days of the festival focuses on a different region or cultural traditions. Visitors can explore dances of India on Monday and the artistic traditions of Polynesia on Wednesday.
But it's not just performances to watch. Local teaching artists get kids moving and learning. Northwest Folklife fans will recognize many performers holding workshops. Kids can learn break dance moves from North City Rockers and tap dance steps from Northwest Tap Connection on Thursday, April 12. Kids can try out African drumming and dancing on Friday, April 13, then join in with Gansango Music & Dance, known for inspiring crowds of people to their feet. Learn Aztec dance with Ixtli White Hawk on Saturday, April 7, and hula on Wednesday, April 11. Several daily hands-on workshops include button-making, weaving, paper flower-making and lots more.
The event is designed both for families who plan to attend and for Seattle Center visitors who happen to wander in. Each morning starts with either a music or dance performance; there’s a dedicated dance workshop on the dance floor at 12:45 p.m. daily; and the last event is a combination of dance instructors and performers doing demonstrations and teaching participants steps and movements. See the full schedule of performances, workshops and craft stations on the festival's website.
“Staff members station themselves on the outskirts of each performance and activity to look for interested but shy kids. We’ll offer a big smile and wave them into joining in the action. Once I helped a parent coax a toddler to try beatboxing and she ended up performing at the mic,” says Buxton. The Seattle Center Armory has a unique ability to seem big and inviting but also small and intimate for a more one-on-one workshop feel, adds Buxton. So join in and get moving' around the world!
If you go...
When: Saturday–Friday, April 7–13, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle
Cost: Suggested donation of $5 per person, per day, though everyone is welcome
Getting there: Pay parking is available at Seattle Center lots or on the street. Consider transit for for stress-free travel.
Tips for parents: