Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
FAMILY SATURDAYS: CAPTIVATING CHOREOGRAPHY at the David H. Koch Theater (May 25, 11 a.m.). Children are natural dancers, but many may not understand the term “choreography” or the techniques artists use to pair movement and music. Here, they’ll get a lesson from the experts: members of New York City Ballet. Hosted by Daniel Ulbricht, a principal dancer and the creative director of the Family Saturdays series, the program will introduce the work of some of the company’s most influential choreographers. Recommended for those 5 and older, the hourlong presentation will feature excerpts from the troupe’s spring season repertory, including Jerome Robbins’s “Dances at a Gathering,” George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Alexei Ratmansky’s “Concerto DSCH” and Justin Peck’s “The Times Are Racing.” Young balletomanes can even learn a few steps themselves.
FLEET WEEK ACTIVITIES at various locations (through May 27). Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor not only fallen military heroes, but also the men and women who currently serve. Celebrated annually, Fleet Week focuses on the armed forces’ maritime branches, with family events showcasing the work of the United States Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. Among the highlights are ship tours at piers in Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn; and a military island in Times Square, with attractions that include daily Navy band concerts and, on Friday and Saturday, a dive tank where children can observe Navy divers and learn about their gear. On Saturday, the Marine Corps will host Marine Day in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, with interactive displays, a mixed-martial-arts program and military dogs. On Sunday, Fleet Week at Liberty State Park in Jersey City will feature music, exhibits and demonstrations, as well as youth and family running events. (All activities are free except the Jersey City runs, which also require preregistration; a full Fleet Week schedule is on the website.)
‘I MIGRATION’ at the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge (May 23-25, 7 p.m.; May 26, 3 and 7 p.m.; May 27, 3 p.m.). Most Americans have ancestors who arrived from somewhere else. At a time when the word “immigrant” has become politically charged, this stage production — presented in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on a converted 1914 railroad barge within view of the Statue of Liberty — explores what it means to be a citizen in a nation of multiple heritages. Directed and developed by Reg Flowers, the artistic director of Falconworks Theater Company, in collaboration with the composer Alex Siesse, the choreographer Thaddaeus Abbott and the cast, the show uses original music, images, historical sources and the words of immigrants past and present. Recommended for theatergoers 10 and older, it also involves the audience in its inquiry.
‘PIP’S ISLAND’ at 400 West 42nd Street (ongoing). “To the lighthouse!” is the rallying cry for participants in this immersive theater spectacle, but the show is nothing that Virginia Woolf might have imagined. A fantasy adventure that invites children to become little Indiana Joneses, “Pip’s Island,” which opened for a limited New York run in December 2016, is now back for an open-ended stay in an even more elaborate production. Created by Walter Kudrop and the siblings Rania Ajami and Rami Ajami, the hourlong experience enlists theatergoers in a mission to help save the island’s lighthouse, its energy source, from the clutches of a cackling villain. Along the way, children encounter characters that include Pip and Finn, the story’s heroes, and Pebble, its heroine, who has regrettably little to do. Young attendees, however, have plenty: Walking, crawling or frolicking through a succession of detailed environments, they collectively execute simple challenges to advance the plot. Filled with puppetry, animations, animatronics, lighting effects and digital flourishes, the show is like a high-tech “Sleep No More” for 4- to 10-year-olds.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘RICITOS AND THE 3 BEARS’ (‘RICITOS Y LOS TRES OSITOS’) at Teatro SEA (May 25 and June 1, 11 a.m.). Theatrical adaptations of fairy tales often try to subvert expectations, either by modernizing the stories or by adhering to the works’ sometimes morbid original versions. Teatro SEA, the Latino theater for children, takes an entirely different approach: It gives the narratives some Spanish twists. In its musical interpretation of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” the heroine, Ricitos, still has that yellow hair, but she speaks two languages, and when she enters the animals’ home, she doesn’t taste their porridge but their sancocho (stew). With Latin ballads and new costumes, this bilingual revival teaches both good manners and a little Spanish vocabulary.
STORYTELLING: DESIGN AND MAKE YOUR OWN BOOK at Brooklyn Historical Society Dumbo (May 25, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). The Brooklyn shoreline may not resemble a Caribbean beach, but the two will overlap, at least imaginatively, in this program at the historical society’s Dumbo branch. Michael Manswell, artistic director of Something Positive Inc., a nonprofit devoted to Afro-Caribbean culture, will visit the society’s “Waterfront” exhibition, where he and a drummer will perform stories from the African diaspora that feature marine spirits and other fantastical beings. The event, which is free but requires preregistration, will invite children to create and decorate their own books as well as explore the show. The “Waterfront” displays offer opportunities to touch and smell coffee beans and other imported goods, make videos reflecting the maritime past and dress up like the female welders of the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.
‘A YEAR WITH CHILDREN 2019’ at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through June 2). It’s usually a long journey from drawing pictures and modeling clay in elementary or middle school to having art exhibited at the Guggenheim. Yet more than a hundred young New Yorkers make that leap every year as a result of Learning Through Art, a program in which teaching artists from the museum work with students who are in the second through sixth grades in 12 public schools throughout the five boroughs. Each spring, the Guggenheim displays select pieces that pupils created during the artists’ residencies in its “A Year With Children” show, which this year addresses questions like “How can art empower communities?” Expect installations, found-object works, poetry and prints, as well as paintings and sculptures.
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