11th Day School Extravanganza Features Ballethnic Dance Company

Local area students welcomed Ballethnic Dance Company at the Savannah Civic Center for the 11th Day School Extravaganza event on Friday, February 3rd.

Ballethic Dance Company is an organization that has two components, Ballethnic Dance Company and Ballethnic Academy of Dance. Both organizations were founded by African Americans, Nena Gilreath and Waverly T. Lucas II, who were both former members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Atlanta Ballet.

Students ranging from grades four through nine were filled with excitement and anticipation throughout the performance. The dancers entertained the students with performances featuring music from R & B legend Mary J. Blige and the renowned Pink Panther theme song.

Dancers also invited students on stage to teach them a few dance moves. The crowd participation really hiked the interests of students with dance and the arts.

Libby Miller, International Baccalaureate Coordinator for Marsh Point Elementary School felt that the experience helped the children gain more culture. “I think that they really learned how to bridge sports and dance, so hopefully, they got a lot out of that,” said Miller.

The performance was sponsored in part by the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs and presented by Savannah Black Heritage Festival. The festival goes from February 1st – 16th, 2012.  For a complete event schedule please visit http://www.savannahblackhertiagefestival.com/

Photos Provided by D & D Media Group

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Coffee Bluff Marina

Coffee Bluff Marina always takes me by surprise. The drive from City Hall to the marina is a tour of Savannah’s growth and development. I pass dozens of neighborhoods and businesses. And then the road comes to an end, and right there tucked into Savannah’s southside is this pristine stretch of untouched river and marsh. Coffee Bluff Marina reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in coastal Georgia and have access to so many natural amenities. It’s just plain beautiful out there.

I visited recently to see the area as it stands now and to chat with the operator, Captain Ray Golden, about the City of Savannah’s plans for improvement.

The City of Savannah purchased the marina to preserve public access and prevent over-development. Draft plans for updating and improving the marina were recently completed. Everyone has the opportunity to review and comment on the plans at a public drop-in meeting, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, at the Crusader Neighborhood Center, 81 Coffee Bluff Villa Road. You can drop in any time during the meeting to see the plans, speak with City officials and provide your input.

I hope everyone takes advantage of this public review and comment period. And I hope everyone takes a visit out to Coffee Bluff Marina, now and in the future after improvements take shape. Like River Street or the historic district, Coffee Bluff is another place like none other, uniquely and distinctly Savannah.

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S.P.A.C.E. Studios Presents Raku for You

When translated the word Raku can mean joy, enjoyment, pleasure, comfort, happiness, or contentment. According to Rubens Raku, the word “Raku” originates from the ideograph engraved on a gold seal dedicated to the founder Chojiro from the first generation of the Raku dynasty in the 16thcentury.

Raku Pots

Chojiro created tea bowls for tea ceremonies using the Raku firing technique which involves bisque ware being glazed and heated in extremely high temperatures.  Now that you know the history of raku, seize the opportunity to experience a firing in person at S.P.A.C.E. Studios. Participants have the option to bring their own bisque ware to glaze, or purchase a pot from the studio.

10$ per piece fired (small pieces)
Saturday, January 21, 11am-3pm
9 West Henry Street, Savannah GA


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Be Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh

"Starry Night" by Andrew Middleton

Vincent Van Gogh is a famous artist known for his painting “Starry Night”.  This painting is one of the most well known images in contemporary culture and the most replicated. Van Gogh became an artist between 1860 and 1880. During that time frame, Van Gogh made over 900 paintings during his lifetime and only sold one.  His purpose was to give happiness by creating beauty.  

S.P.A.C.E Studios is now offering young students to create their own “Starry Night” painting. Participants will have the chance to express themselves through mixed mediums through the stroke of a brush. Class details are as follows:

Youth Workshop
Starry Night, Ages 7-10
Instructor: Layla Mayville
Cost: $10
Time: 10am -12pm
When: January 21, 2012
Where: 9 W. Henry Street, Savannah, GA
Contact: http://www.savannahga.gov/arts  – 912-651-6783
Advanced Registration required.

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2012 New Year! New Hobby!

Jewelry Class

Happy New Year! The countdown to 2012 has passed and people are looking forward to a New Year and their new resolutions. Every year, millions of people have resolutions and less than half of them obtain it within the first six months.

While most people do not achieve their new year’s goals, research shows that making resolutions is useful. According to an article at Proactive Change, people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not make resolutions at all.

This year, incorporate a hobby with your resolution. January is National Hobby Month and what better way to start your new year off than with a hobby. Hobbies are good for you mentally, emotionally, and physically. The City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) offers a variety of workshops and classes that will allow you to be in touch with your creative side. Classes are for ages 4 and up. Classes such as Ceramic Studio Sampler, Raku for You, Preschool Caterpillar and even Teen Clay are just some of the classes offered.  These classes are a great way to meet new people and learn a new hobby simultaneously. One of the many benefits of a hobby is that it allows you to acquire new skills and discover hidden talents. It also allows you to focus on something else other than your personal problems and reduces stress. Start 2012 off right and begin a new hobby. For class listings and registration forms please visit www.savannahga.gov/arts.

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Morrell Park

You have to keep reminding yourself that this place is River Street. As in, the most visited destination in one of the most visited cities in the Southeast. As in, T-shirt shops, feather boas, Wet Willies, and all the praline samples your sweet tooth can handle.

This respite is on the far eastern end of River Street, before the Marriott, near the old Savannah Electric headquarters. Technically, it’s part of Morrell Park, home to the famed Waving Girl and Olympic Cauldron monuments, located on the other side of River Street. But this place feels separate, removed. For one, few tourists make it this far down River Street, which is blissfully devoid of retail

For another, this park is tucked back – almost hidden –  against Factor’s Walk. The wall’s stone work here, decorated with green moss, feels ancient, like a Mayan ruin. A few towering cypress trees – rare in the Historic District – enhance that feeling. A really old and cool-looking historic drainage feature, still fully operational, protrudes from the side of the wall here.

The park is long and narrow: 243 feet by 26 feet. A row of crepe myrtles shades nice benches that offer unobstructed views of the river. The benches are rarely occupied.

On the park’s edge is a bronze plaque commemorating the schooner “Liberty,” which became America’s first officially commissioned Naval vessel when she set sail from Savannah in July 1775. Soon after

departing, the “Liberty” made the Revolution’s first ordered capture in southern waters when she took the British vessel “Phillipa” off Tybee Island on July 9, 1775. Savannah’s history continues to amaze.

Located somewhat incongruously near this plaque is an oddball feature: a peace pole.

A peace pole is a hand-crafted obelisk that displays the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its four sides, written in a different language on each side. There are more than 200,000 peace poles located across the globe, serving as reminders for us to visualize and work to promote world peace.

This one was installed a few decades ago by a peace-minded Savannah group led by some local Catholic nuns. Occasionally groups rally around the pole to promote peace.

Thus, this long sliver of Morrell Park is often referred to as Peace Pole Park.

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Blackshear Park & Basketball Complex

Meet Gabriella. She’s one of the many Savannah kids spending their summer at the Blackshear Basketball Complex camp.

Today is her birthday. She is five. Tomorrow, she’s having a birthday party at her house. She plans to dance. There will be lots of food. Her whole family is invited. She has a special outfit. She will get presents. And she has been told a few precious details involving a princess cake which plays music and sparkles with glitter.

This preamble to what ends up being an actual invitation to her birthday party tumbles out of her within 30 seconds of our meeting on the courts at Blackshear. She is the perfect five year old. Happy Birthday, Gabriella, you are rad. I wish I could come to your birthday party. But besides feeling conflicted about being a total stranger who would probably freak your mom out by randomly appearing at a family get-together, I’m actually in a funny coincidence hosting my own daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. Maybe next year we can coordinate some kind of joint affair? I know she would like your style.

Being supremely likeable and ridiculously adorable is a trait I find in all the kids I get to chat with during my visit to the City’s Blackshear Basketball camp.

The summer youth programs at the camp serve children from 5 to 12. They play a host of outdoor games and activities, with a special concentration on basketball.

The kids get organized coaching to build skills and good sportsmanship. They’re given a safe environment to burn off some of the boundless energy buzzing inside each of them. The groups take field trips, they visit City pools, they hold camp competitions and win treasured medals. They learn cheers. They trade songs. They all have what I can only describe as superhuman skill with hula-hoops.

And because I promised at least three times before I left that I would definitely, for sure and with total certainty come back to the office and post this video, here’s Laci, Jayda, Rashae, Gabriella, Diamond, Jamesha and Jamyah rocking a few of their recently learned cheers:

In addition to the well-used basketball courts, Blackshear has a playground and sheltered picnic tables.

Blackshear Park & Basketball Complex
820 Wheaton Street

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