A Musical Tour Through Latin America - Havana Son.jpg

Aurora Children’s Playhouse returns this summer with performances for all ages. Pictured are performers from the group “Havana Son” who will take audience members on a tour of the music and culture of countries such as Cuba, Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico and more.

Here is another great indication that Gwinnett arts are prevailing over pandemic blues: the Aurora Theatre’s special programming for kids returns this summer on the newly renovated Lawrenceville Lawn Stage.

“Aurora Children’s Playhouse Summer 2021” offers Manga African Dance, amazing juggling, and a musical trip through the tropics. These entertaining and educational events are perfect for children of Preschool through Elementary School ages as well as for siblings and parents. The dates are June 23, June 30 and July 7.

All shows begin at 11 a.m.

The Lawrenceville Lawn is located at 210 Luckie Street in Lawrenceville, GA. The lawn has its own parking, and it’s free. Seating is general admission on a first come/first served basis. Tickets are $7 with a discount for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased at Children’s Playhouse 2020-21 | Aurora Theatre.

Traditional music of the Malinke people of Guinea and Mali is featured in June 23’s “Rhythm In Motion.” This performance by Manga African Dance features festival music and the pulsing sounds of Sunu. Audiences will be transported to the villages of West Africa where popular American dances, such as moves incorporated into Hip-Hop, were born.

Manga African Dance was founded in 1990 by Ramatu Afegbua-Sabbatt and incorporated in the State of Georgia in 1999. This nonprofit organization, based in Atlanta, has a mission to preserve, present and teach indigenous African cultural arts through dance, drums, fashion, drama, songs, and more. For more information, visit www.mangadance.org

“Cirque du Todd” offers a special experience for all ages. Imagine a man balancing on a small, thin board, performing rope tricks, interacting with the audience, and juggling the “Ten Most Dangerous Objects in History!” Todd Key will bring his extraordinary talent and amazing skills in the art of juggling to entertain the Aurora Children’s Playhouse audience on June 30.

Key is a “legendary fixture” at the Atlanta Renaissance Festivals as a part of the act “The Zucchini Brothers.” As he juggles, Key maintains a conversation with the audience that will have them crying with laughter.

The third show, on July 7, takes the audience on “A Musical Tour through Latin America.” Havana Son invites children to participate by clapping, singing, dancing and playing percussion instruments. This musical journey “visits” Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama and Puerto Rico as children sample each country’s unique sounds, rhythms, and cultures.

Havana Son was created by former Mercury Records recording artist and Cuban native Rene Herrera. For the past 15 years, Havana Son has performed all over the Atlanta area at such events as the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Centennial Olympic Park Music at noon and more.

Joining Rene Herrera is Lilian Herrera, also of Cuban heritage. A graduate of Columbia University, she studied Opera at Boston University and has performed in the Classical Music world as well as the Latin Music world.

For more information about Havana Son, visit http://www.havanason.com

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.

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