By Lookout Staff
September 5, 2014 – Swing, hop and bounce atop Tongva Park’s Gathering Hill during a free dance lesson led by National Jitterbug champion Stephen Sayer as part of this month’s cultural programming.
The latest addition to the Santa Monica Parks system will also offer a Saturday morning comedy show and a workshop for kids to create their own puppets.
“This ongoing series of intimate, Tongva Park events offers attendees the opportunity to experience this major new addition to Santa Monica’s park system from different points of view,” City officials said.
On Wednesday, September 10 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to join a free swing dance lesson at Gathering Hill in the center of the park followed by a community dance.
Sayer, winner of the 2014 Collegiate Shag and Strictly Lindy National Jitterbug Championships, and his partner Fancy Dougherty will lead a 45-minute dance class.
After the brief workshop, the public will have a chance to dance and enjoy live music in the park by highly-regarded swing band California Feetwarmers.
On Saturday, September 13 at 10 a.m., families are invited to experience Unstrung Heroes, a puppetry performance collective, which will provide an interactive, strolling, improvisational comedy experience for all ages in the park’s Discovery Hill play area.
“Unstrung Heroes takes the magic of puppetry straight to the spectator and is ‘guaranteed to bring out the hero in all of us!’” according to officials in a press release.
Puppet School, the only puppeteer-training center in Los Angeles, will then lead a workshop for children of all ages to craft their own puppets and performances on the spot.
Designed by the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner’s Field Operations, Tongva Park opened to the public in September, providing a distinctive park experience for patrons. (“Tongva Park is a Unique Experience in Santa Monica,” September 10, 2013)
A month after opening, the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) gave Tongva Park, along with neighboring Ken Genser Square, its 2013 Project of the Year award for “Recreation and Athletic Facilities.” (“Santa Monica’s Public Works Department Wins Three Awards,” October 29, 2013)
In January, City Parks Alliance, a national urban park advocacy organization, named Tongva Park as a “Frontline Park.” (“Two New Santa Monica Parks Win National Recognition,” January 27, 2014)
Since its opening, the park has been featured in major publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine,and the New York Times, according to City officials.
Tongva Park is located at 1615 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California. For more information on the park, visit www.smgov.net/tongvapark.