Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

More than 18,000 fifth-graders from throughout Los Angeles County will attend a modern dance performance, then take part in a synchronized dance, during the 47th annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Tuesday at the Music Center.

The festival — which will run for three days — will mark the first opportunity for many of the participating students to experience a live performing arts event, according to organizers.

The children will attend a free performance by Ailey II, the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Afterward, they will gather in the Music Center Plaza to perform a dance inspired by the “Rocka My Soul” finale section of the Alvin Ailey masterpiece “Revelations.”

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, begun in 1970, has introduced more than 845,000 L.A. students to the performing arts. More than 125 members of the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon support organization volunteer to keep the festival running smoothly.

Fifth-grade classes from 252 schools received advance standards-based curriculum materials, background on the guest artists and classroom activities designed to prepare students for the performance they will be viewing.

Inspired by “Revelations,” choreography is created especially for the students and distributed to teachers for advance instruction. Students also learn about audience etiquette, dance history and terminology, and receive a keepsake book describing the Music Center’s four theaters and various aspects of live performance.

“This year, students explored the evolution of the spiritual, including its earliest roots in slavery and its inspiration of various art forms — jazz, blues, modern rock, classical, the American musical and dance,” according to the organizers.

Alvin Ailey grew up in the rural American South, and the musical influences of his early life shaped many of his most memorable works.

—City News Service

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