Volume 16, Number 2
The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts welcomes the return of the “Neck of the Woods” performance series on Friday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Presented and sponsored by Wake Forest ARTS, Neck of the Woods is a variety performance series featuring emerging local artists. The July 21 Neck of the Woods will feature professional concert dance performer and dance educator Mariya Dashkina Maddux; jazz and gospel artist Ronald Williams; Wake Forest storyteller Drew Bridges; and comedy improv group Free, Loose, and Naked.
Mariya Dashkina Maddux is a professional concert dance performer and a dance educator. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, she was first introduced to dance through the classical Vaganova ballet technique. After moving to United States, she studied under the direction of Ruth Weisen at the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet of Miami, Florida and ultimately graduated summa cum laude with her BFA from New World School of the Arts under the directorship of Daniel Lewis.
Maddux joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2007 and rose to the rank of the principal dancer, performing major roles in classical Graham repertoire along with works created by some of the most influential contemporary choreographers. She is currently working with Wake Forest ARTS to create the inaugural Wake Forest Dance Festival.
Ronald Williams is a native of Wake Forest and graduated from DuBois High School in 1959. Williams, who holds a BA degree in music performance from N.C. Central University, was the accompanist for The Martin Luther King Jr. All Children’s Choir for seven years. He also served as the choral director and pianist at three Baptist churches in North Carolina.
Williams has had the opportunity to perform for four North Carolina governors, including Jim Hunt, Kerr Scott, Terry Sanford and Beverly Purdue. He was also invited to play for former President Bill Clinton. Williams has been a volunteer at the Hillside Nursing Center since 1998. He enjoys sharing his musical gift with those who welcome a spiritual uplifting.
Drew Bridges will perform “Reflections on the Nature of War and Soldiering” – a monologue representation of the ghost of Ambrose Bierce, Union soldier and American journalist and writer, reflecting upon the nature of war and soldiering. Drew is a retired psychiatrist who has restored himself to his default identity of English major. He lives in Wake Forest with his wife, Lauren, and teaches storytelling at the Northern Wake Senior Center.
Drew is a writer and storyteller, the author of four books, including “The Second Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played,” which is his father’s “soldier come home from war” story. His latest book, “The Family in the Mirror,” was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, fiction category.
Rounding out the evening’s entertainment is Free, Loose, and Naked – a fully-clothed, family-friendly comedy improvisation team. The troupe began in July 2016 at ComedyWorx in Raleigh and has since grown to comprise its six current members: Sam Cox, Rick Crawford, Kate Kastelberg, Gary Grrubb, Alec Rokuskie, and Wafeeq Zarif. Each has two to six years of improv experience and all are coached in weekly practices by Jake Finan.
This year the team has performed at venues throughout the Triangle Area, including ComedyWorx, DSI, the Loofa and Mettlesome’s The Racket. Their improvised scenes start in a location suggested by the audience. Subsequent scenes then branch out into closely-associated places – so it is called a “Close Quarters” improv format.
Area residents are invited to come out, enjoy a truly unique and entertaining community event and show your support for our local artists. Refreshments will be available for purchase, including a variety of beer and wine.
Tickets are $5 (plus tax) and may be purchased online at www.wakeforestnc.gov/tickets-events.aspx or at the Renaissance Centre Box Office, 405 S. Brooks St.