Oakland dance troupe channels Haitian rhythms

At the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in downtown Oakland, Portsha Jefferson and the Rara Tou Limen Haitian Folkloric Ensemble use dance and performance to educate the Bay Area about Haitian culture. The ensemble is organizing a fundraiser this Wednesday, October 21, at San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Choir competes for gospel gold

Eight choirs. One night. Fifteen thousand fans. Watch the singers of Oakland’s Genesis Worship Center as they take the stage in the “Best Choir in America” competition.

Green Day’s rock opera hits home

Midway through the rock opera “American Idiot,” the main character Johnny, his rebel girlfriend Whatsername, and an ensemble of urban youth belt out their message of isolation in the city: “My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me, my shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating, sometimes I wish someone out there will find me, till then I walk alone.” The song, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” was written by Oakland-based Green Day, a band that’s succeeded on a global…

Busking for ballet lessons: Meet the Hoffman four-kid string quartet

Grand/Lake traffic bustled by on a recent sunny Saturday.  Parents pushed children in strollers; women carrying yoga mats chatted as they headed home from class; the coffee shops and cafes did a brisk business in iced beverages.  But in front of the Lakeshore Ave Peet’s Coffee, there was a small crowd of stillness as passersby stopped to listen to the Hoffman children, a four-sibling string quartet, who were busking to raise money for ballet lessons. Their mother, Jodi Hoffman, hovered…

For talented kids, a chance to dance, rap and show their skills

It seems like a tall order. Wanted: fifteen volunteer hip-hop or modern dance performers willing to learn spoken word theater for a Spring show in Oakland and possible national tour. Song, rap, martial arts and aerial dance skills could also come in handy. Oh, yes–and actors must be 12 or younger. The group will be known as “Destiny Junior Company,” and the idea emerged out of Destiny Art Center, a non-profit that runs dance, theater and martial arts classes for…

It’s (still) Hammertime at the Fox Theatre

Oakland native Stanley Kirk Burrell, a.k.a. MC Hammer, but now preferring simply Hammer, brought his dance and rap show to the recently reopened Fox Theatre in downtown Oakland Friday night. The scene on the street outside was atwitter with Hammer talk. Oakland North posed this question to the Hammer faithful: What makes the rapper so great? We asked the fans attending the show talk about what makes their beloved Oakland icon special.