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29 Mar, 2018   |   

On the Road: Bringing Music and Dance to Washington D.C. [VIDEO]

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel

It is this same healing, explosive expression of humanity that Up with People’s cast is sharing with people across the globe on our world tour. And Washington D.C., the cast’s last stop in the United States before traveling to Mexico, was no exception.

Washington D.C. was our busiest stop yet with three performances in one day – two appearances at schools and a full performance that was open to the public.

Our cast performed at H.D. Cooke Elementary School and Theodore Roosevelt High School, a global studies campus, before ending the day with the public show. It was apparent the students and cast members were more similar than they thought.

Cooke Elementary strives to integrate music curriculum in and out of the music room. For example, in the International Baccalaureate unit about civil rights, fourth-grade students also research the music of the era and write about how particular groups affected social change in American history. The correlation between music and social change is what Up with People demonstrates on each of our tour stops.

Roosevelt High School encourages and challenges students to become intellectually curious, multilingual, internationally aware, and globally responsive. Much like Up with People, the school’s vision is to engage students in an educational experience that fosters international understanding and welcomes diversity of thought, while preparing students for a globally interconnected world.

Because of these shared visions, this was a great opportunity for our cast to share stories about their travels, the different cultures they represent, and why spending a gap year with Up with People has been so rewarding.

“We also had the awesome opportunity to have The Washington Ballet performing with us on stage in our full show,” says Josh Villanueva, of the Philippines. Joining forces with talented, professional dancers definitely added a unique aspect to the D.C. performance.

Another great partnership included week 6’s sponsor, the Planetary Gigs Society, an organization making connections through music with the intention of creating peace. The Society believes humans have experienced too much conflict and division throughout history and that music can be a powerful healing force.

“We loved having the Up with People cast here for the first time in ten years,” says Tara Gorman, the Society’s “Goddess of Awesomeness.”

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