Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably hear about the big name acts taking part in the Columbia Festival of the Arts, which began its 11-day run last night. But somewhat obscured by the glamour of headliners like the Alvin Ailey AmericUnless you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard about the big name acts taking part in the Columbia Festival of the Arts, which began its 11-day run last night. But somewhat obscured by the glamour of headliners like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, or the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are the free lakefront events scheduled for afternoons and evenings this weekend and next.
And if the bucolic setting alongside Lake Kittamaqundi and the relatively tame outdoor entertainment at past festivals suggests tepid programming, festival officials have something else in mind.
"Formerly, the material presented has been relatively easy to digest," said artistic director Donald Hicken. "I wanted to make -- this year's lakefront program more challenging."
Indeed. Along with such standard fare as classical music and arts and craft exhibitions, the festival has added storytellers, dance and theater companies to this year's program. For example, the Jai Poong Ryu Dancers, composed of five members of the Korean Dance Company of the Korean Arts and Language School of Baltimore, will perform traditional Korean court, folk and shamanistic dances tonight at 7:30.
At 9 p.m., Spiderwoman Theatre -- comprised by three American Indian sisters -- will present "Sun, Moon, Feather," a story of growing up an American Indian in Brooklyn, N.Y. The troupe derives its name from the Indian goddess of creation, who according to lore was the first to create designs and teach her people to weave. Similarly, the company's technique, called story weaving, uses words and movement to create design and weave stories together.
Tomorrow's schedule kicks off at 4 p.m. with the African-American stories by author and poetess Mary Carter Smith. Following her performance, Interact Story Theatre will present, with some help from the audience, their dramatic performance, "Stories on Stage."
On Sunday, the lakefront program will return briefly to dance with Columbia's Dance Dimension, a modern dance company created to express the energy and dynamics of youth. Then the program returns again to storytelling with New England's Judith Black, a comedic storyteller who will perform her lively and intimate tales of contemporary life called "Teetering on the Edge."
All performances for the lakefront program, which also include classical, jazz and rock music, will be presented on a temporary stage, which, according to Mr. Hicken, has an improved sound system over last years and includes the addition of theatrical lighting.
Mr. Hicken sees the lakefront program as the hub of the festival. Though the offerings there run concurrent with the other events, the lakefront jazz concerts -- by such performers as Tim Eyermann & East Coast Offering, Aleta Greene and the Assassins -- take place Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m. so patrons may, after visiting the other facets of the festival, drop by for late-night music.
All events are free unless otherwise noted. Tickets are needed for open rehearsals, master classes, seminars, workshops, symposiums and lecture-demonstrations. For tickets and more information, call 381-0545 (TDD number 251-4030.)
FRIDAY, JUNE 28
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, master class. Slayton House. 10 a.m.
Choreographers Seminar with Judith Jamison. Howard County Center for the Arts. Noon.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, open rehearsal. Smith Theatre, Howard Community College. 2 p.m. Tickets: $5.
Artisans Exhibition. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Columbia Pro Cantare. Hammond High School. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15; $7 students.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Smith Theatre. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16; $8 students.
SATURDAY, JUNE 29
Mum Puppettheatre, master class. Slayton House. 10 a.m.
Artisans Exhibition. Noon to 10:30 p.m.
Mum Puppettheatre: "A Boy, A Dog, A Dinosaur." Wilde Lake High School. 2 p.m. Tickets: $7.
VOICETheatre: "Pushing Through." Slayton House. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15; $8 students.
Bolcom & Morris. Smith Theatre. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17.50; $8 students.
SUNDAY, JUNE 30
Artisans Exhibition 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
VOICETheatre: "Pushing Through." Slayton House. 2 p.m. Tickets: $15; $8 students.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, open rehearsal. Smith Theatre. 2 p.m. Tickets: $5.
VOICETheatre: "The Dialogue Project: Middle East Peace." Symposium. Slayton House. 4 p.m.
Mum Puppettheatre: "From the Ashes" (followed by an informal Q&A session.) Wilde Lake High School. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $12; $6 students.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Smith Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $16; $8 students.
MONDAY, JULY 1
Shakespeare/Oxford Symposium. Smith Theatre. 6:30 p.m.
Kinetics Junior Company, "All that Dance" lecture-demonstration. Wilde Lake High School. 7 p.m.