DC Artswatch: National Gallery & Blues Alley

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The Atlas, a Joy of Motion location. Photo by Smallbones.

NATIONAL GALLERY REOPENS GROUND FLOOR

The National Gallery of Art will reopen the ground-floor galleries in its West Building — the floor below the fountain level in the museum’s original building — on July 20. Free passes for timed entry between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. will be released on Eventbrite on Mondays at 10 a.m. for the following week, subject to building capacity and safety. Face coverings are required and visitors are to practice six-foot social distancing. No passes are needed for the adjacent Sculpture Garden, also open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

IN-PERSON SHOWS AT BLUES ALLEY

Currently streaming shows, legendary Georgetown jazz club Blues Alley is taking reservations for a limited schedule of live, in-person performances in August, with face masks, social distancing and other precautions. Two shows per night are currently available on Aug. 4 (Unit 3 Deep), 6 (Jeff Kashiwa), 8 and 9 (Melba Moore), 11 (Got My Own Sound Band), 13 and 14 (Sy Smith), 15 and 16 (Art Sherrod Jr.) and 27 to 30 (Cyrus Chestnut).

SIGNATURE THEATRE CO-FOUNDER LEAVES

Former Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer.

Eric Schaeffer, 57, artistic director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, which he co-founded in 1989 with Donna Migliaccio, left the company on June 30. Schaeffer’s retirement followed social-media posts by actors Thomas Keegan and Joe Carlson regarding alleged incidents of sexual assault on them by Schaeffer. The incidents, said to have taken place at events in 2016 and 2018, were the subject of a third-party investigation by Signature in 2018, which found the allegations “not credible.” At press time, a new artistic director had not been named.

DANCE CENTER ROILED BY RACISM CLAIMS

Joy of Motion Dance Center — with locations on H Street NE at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, in Friendship Heights and in Bethesda, Maryland — is investigating claims of racism at the nonprofit, DCist reported on June 25. Among the examples were alleged racist remarks made by longtime instructor Helen Hayes, who was named director of Joy of Motion’s Dance Institute in 2016. Earlier last month, former faculty member Lorianne D’Orazio launched a change.org petition calling for new leadership. The center was founded by Michelle Ava in Dupont Circle in 1976.

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