If you’ve never been to see Shut Up and Dance, you better get your tickets now! The annual event downtown at the Forrest Theater is this weekend and it is a big anniversary. Philadelphia Ballet’s dancers have been presenting this fundraiser for our city’s MANNA organization for thirty years, and April 30th will be the final curtain for the partnership in this format. (Future charity work together continues but will take on a new life). Festive, spicy, and beautiful the performance boasts the world class talent of the dancers of the Philadelphia Ballet, other big stars in the ballet world, Charles Askegard, Matthew Neenan, plus incredible local companies and artists, including Brian Sanders’ JUNK, ARTIST HOUSE and more. The University of the Arts will also present work.
Tickets range from $50-$3,000 depending on your package, which you can get here: https://mannapa.org/event/shut-up-dance-2022/
But don’t let these numbers scare you. The Metropolitan Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (FB MANNA, Twitter: @MANNANourishes, IG @MANNAnourishes) is a meaningful cause, impacting the many who so need the work of this organization. Everyone wins with this event. “Shut Up & Dance is an opportunity to see a number of incredible local dancers perform unique choreography for attendees, while supporting MANNA’s life-saving mission of providing medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling to those battling critical illnesses”, said a MANNA spokesperson, and this has been true for thirty years.
Join the event and get set for a night of serious fun. It’s not your typical ballet experience. Not all the dance pieces sway towards the serious. The night is hosted by the one and only, the charismatic, the legendary, larger-than-life John Jarboe of Bearded Ladies Cabaret! Dancers often auction off tricks, show their playful side onstage and all the who’s who movers and shakers of Philadelphia will be there. A VIP Pre-Party, hosted by The Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity Powered starts at 6pm at the Jefferson Alumni Hall. The performance follows at 8pm, with Jacqueline Callahan at the production helm along with co-producer Peter Weil, both talented dancers, taking over for predecessors Alex Hughes and Ian Hussey.
Everyone is excited to be back in-person after shifting to a virtual format during the pandemic. But even with all the playfulness, eclectic variety and breezy attitude of the night, the importance of the mission remains the solid underlayer. At the final rehearsal, original founding member Michael Sheridan thanked the dancers for their dedication and hard work. "It is beyond words", he exclaimed, praising the performers for being artist-activists and providing inspiration for carrying on the tradition.
This final Shut Up and Dance is not to be missed! Vaccination and masks mandatory.