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A variety of cultural events this fall at JCC


A variety of talent, ranging from plate-spinning, foot-juggling acrobats, a classical Indian dancer, a classical pianist and a former child star of the television show “Diff’rent Strokes” will highlight cultural events this fall at Jefferson Community College.

The events include shows hosted by the Student Activities Center and three shows that are part of the Campus Activities Board’s Cultural Arts Series.

All events are free. Unless noted otherwise, they take place at 7 p.m. in the Robert R. and Jean S. Sturtz Theater, McVean Center.

The lineup:

Sept. 20: An Evening of Dance

This show, part of the Cultural Arts Series, will feature a classical Indian dancer and a Russian dance-and-song ensemble in separate performances.

Bharati Jayanthi was born in Bombay, India, and when she was 8 began training in classical Indian dance. She graduated from Bombay University with a master’s degree in fine arts, majoring in bharata natyam, one of the classical Indian dances.

After immigrating to the United States, she became active in cultural arts in this country and in Canada. Most recently, she has worked on a fusion of Eastern and Western performing arts by choreographing bharata natyam dance movements to Big Band orchestra music.

The ensemble Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukranian, Jewish, and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, songs and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion) and balalaika contrabass.

Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the United Nations in New York City, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institute of America and the Russian embassy in Washington D.C. Eacch dance is performed in a different set of handmade costumes made especially for the numbers.

Each performance includes audience participation.

Oct. 4: Todd Bridges from the television show “Diff’rent Strokes.”

This former child star, best known as Willis Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes,” shares the details of his struggles with addiction, brushes with the law and his fierce fight to carve a path through the darkness to find his “true identity.”

One of the first African-American child actors on shows like “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Waltons,” and “Roots,” Mr. Bridges, 48, burst to the national forefront on “Diff’rent Strokes” as the subject of the popular catchphrase, “What’chu talkin‘ about, Willis?”

When the show ended, he was overwhelmed by the “off-camera traumas” he had faced. Turning to drugs as an escape, he soon lost control.

But he never relented in his quest to fight his way back from the abyss, establishing his own identity — separate from Willis Jackson.

Mr. Bridges’s talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in Sturtz Theater.

Oct. 23: Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret

Mr. Warren is the creator of the blog phenomenon the PostSecret Project, a collection of personal and artfully decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world, displaying soulful secrets.

PostSecret is one of the most popular sites on the Internet and has been featured in USA Today, on “The Today Show,” “20/20,” CNN, MSNBC, CBC, National Public Radio and FOX News.

In 2009, Forbes listed Mr. Warren as the fourth most influential person on the Internet.

Since November 2004, Mr. Warren has received more than 500,000 postcards, with secrets spanning from sexual taboos and criminal activity to confessions. He has written several books on the project.

Oct. 24: Rock ’n’ roll painter David Garibaldi

Mr. Garibaldi had always combined his passion for music and color into his artwork. But it wasn’t until viewing performance painter Denny Dent’s portrait of Jimi Hendrix that he discovered how his passion for paint and music could be an inspirational experience for more than just himself.

He will strive to amaze the audience as he transforms canvas into a work of art — usually a 6-foot portrait of a pop icon — on the Sturtz Stage.

The show takes place at 12:30 p.m. in Sturtz Theater.

Nov. 22: Chinese Acrobats

Chinese cultures and customs will be narrated throughout this show while contortionists perform amazing stunts. Children will especially enjoy this high-energy acrobatic performance. The group will be accompanied by an interpreter.

The show is part of the Cultural Arts Series.

Dec. 6: An Evening of Classical Piano Featuring Isaac James.

Isaac James, Champion, has received acclaim from audiences throughout the United States. He made his Carnegie Hall debut last year. He is the founder of the annual P. Owen Willaman International Piano Competition, named after his late friend and Shapiro Award recipient of Watertown who died in 2009.

Mr. James’s performance is part of the Cultural Arts Series.

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