Tippi Toes (Photo via Tippi Toes)Students in the D.C. franchise of Tippi Toes Dance Company are preparing to shoot a music video this weekend with an Emmy Award-winning video producer.

The video will be released nationally along with the fourth dance CD from Tippi Toes, a dance company that hosts classes for children 18-months to 12-years-old.

Members of the D.C. Tippi Toes franchise will film this weekend with Jay Lyons, an MTV video producer. The video will feature several Tippi Toes franchises in different cities. Last year, the D.C. franchise was named Franchise of the Year by Tippi Toes.

The video will feature choreography as well as footage from Tippi Toes classes and events around the Capitol Hill area, according to D.C. franchise owner Claire Portolese.

“It’s going to showcase what it’s like to be in a Tippi Toes class and feature a lot of behind-the-scenes footage from actual Tippi Toes classes,” Portolese said.

Filming will begin on Thursday and run through the weekend. The video is set to be released nationally this summer. Portolese said that her staff, students and students’ parents are all excited for the opportunity to star in Tippi Toes’ first music video.

“It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done,” Portolese said. “My old career was in government consulting, so obviously that didn’t involve any music videos or film crews. It’s very different and exciting.”

Photo via Tippi Toes


Ocopa (Photo via Facebook/ Ocopa Restaurant)A Peruvian eatery on the H Street corridor is looking to offer some Latin dancing with its cebiche and pisco sours.

Ocopa at 1324 H St. NE submitted an application to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration this week to host live entertainment. The entertainment will include Latin dancing and “occasional live music,” according to the application.

A representative of the restaurant could not be reached immediately for comment.

If approved, the application would allow them to host live entertainment every day of the week between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Photo via Facebook/Ocopa Restaurant


Hill residents can spend their early mornings learning to hula hoop and even dance with fire from a Burning Man performer.

Professional hula hooper and fire entertainer Caitlin Matanle, aka Spinnabel Lee, is teaching lessons at CrossFit Capitol Hill (1502 Massachusetts Ave. SE). The private sessions offer playful cardio exercise and creative expression, she said.

“Depending on your personal style, you can run away and join the circus for an hour, or have a meditative experience, or dance, or all three,” she said.

Dancers learn to twirl hoops around their waists, arms, hands and legs. Once they master basic moves, they graduate to spinning multiple hoops and even working with hoops set on fire. Those students get extensive safety training in the physics of fire and how to avoid burns, Matanle said.

“There’s no secret,” she said, noting that spokes on the hoops are set on fire, not the hoops themselves.

Matanle, 30, started offering lessons on the Hill in September and will start small-group sessions soon. She teaches outdoors in the warmer months, on the tennis courts at Payne Elementary School (1445 C St. SE).

The Reston resident first saw fire performance in 2006, in Guatemala. She learned hoop dance in 2009 and now teaches and performs full time, doing shows everywhere from “buttoned-up” corporate events to weddings to churches. She has performed three times at Burning Man, the wild festival held annually in the northern Nevada desert.

Hula hooping offers much-needed play to people with serious jobs, Matanle said.

“The thing about hula hooping is it’s not just good exercise — it’s playful and fun,” she said. “You kind of forget that you’re exercising. I never forget that I went to the gym.”

Photos courtesy of Caitlin Matanle/Devon Rowland Photography/Heather Coburn Photography

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Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker (Photo via Momentum Dance & Fitness Studio)Locals can listen to jazz, mingle with neighbors and support the “Jazz and Hip Hop Nutcracker” tomorrow (Saturday).

A concert and food event at Momentum Dance & Fitness Studio at 534 8th St. SE will support the 15th annual performance of the dance created by studio owner Roberta Rothstein.

Food from the 8th Street SE restaurant Tash and rum drinks will be served, and the Brazilian and American jazz quartet Batida Diferente will play at the event scheduled for 8 to 11 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit the “Nutcracker,” which is set to be performed next month by more than 35 children and adults of all technical levels.

“This is not your mother’s ‘Nutcracker,'” Rothstein said. “It’s an original script about transformation through the arts.”

In this version of the classic, a wizard gives two alienated but talented youth “gifts that help them create the rest of the show from their imaginations,” Rothstein explained. It will be performed at Wilson High School on Dec. 13 and 14 and at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly on Dec. 20 and 21.

This year’s dance will be set to a combination of Duke Ellington’s version of “The Nutcracker Suite” and contemporary hip-hop and pop by Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and others.

For more information on the fundraiser and the “Nutcracker,” visit Momentum’s website.


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