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Chamber Dance Project’s Virtual Chat Series
Like so many people working from home during the pandemic, choreographer Diane Coburn Bruning sometimes loses track of the days. Except for Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, she wakes up knowing she has someplace to be: in front of her computer at 5 p.m. Since late March, Bruning’s D.C.-based Chamber Dance Project has offered a weekly series of “Virtual Chats.” Some weeks, an artistic partner leads talks about dance history or costuming; once they attempted to share a Zoom rehearsal, where dancers learned new steps in their living rooms and kitchens. This week, composer Chris Rogerson will discuss collaborating with choreographer Claudia Schreier, who has a new piece scheduled to debut with Chamber Dance in July. Schreier’s choreography was last seen locally at the Kennedy Center, when Dance Theatre of Harlem brought her formidable “Passage” to Ballet Across America last year. Rogerson just had a trio performed at the National Gallery of Art. Featuring these two rising talents on one program was quite a coup for Chamber Dance in what would have been its longest season yet. The company was scheduled to perform in D.C. for two weeks, then travel to the now-canceled Jacob’s Pillow dance festival in Massachusetts. Bruning is determined to resurrect the run, even if abbreviated. Tune in to see what Rogerson and Schreier have accomplished so far, and hope for a chance to see their finished project live. Email RSVP@chamberdance.org to view the chat on Zoom. Free. —Rebecca J. Ritzel
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Virtual tours from the National Trust for Historic Preservation
In quarantine, it’s easy to get lost in a spiral of the contemporary: Netflix, YouTube, TikTok, and the coffin dance meme. But in times of crisis, reflecting upon history becomes even more important, and one of the most engaging ways to connect to history is to visit historical sites. Naturally, the D.C. area has a wealth of sites worth visiting, but most are inaccessible during the outbreak. Enter the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to saving America’s historic places. The National Trust’s website hosts a variety of “virtual tours” that offer glimpses into the most fascinating corners of American history. For instance, the Trust links you to a walkthrough of the Pension Building (a.k.a. the home of the National Building Museum), which has hosted upscale events—including presidential inauguration balls—for more than 100 years since its completion in 1887. You can also tour the Decatur House, the only private residence ever built in Lafayette Square, which the Trust owns. After the man who commissioned it was killed in a duel (cue coffin dance meme), Decatur House was home to Henry Clay and Martin Van Buren. Finally, you can virtually travel to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and see a museum opened by President James Monroe’s descendants. The Monroe Museum is stuffed with fascinating artifacts, including a musket that Monroe (probably) used in the Revolutionary War, a chess set gifted to Monroe by Thomas Jefferson, and the court clothes Monroe wore to the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. You can also see the desk where Monroe wrote the 1823 message to Congress, which included what would later be known as the Monroe Doctrine. The virtual tours are available at savingplaces.org. Free. —Will Lennon