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Summer for Holland and Germany

Imported into New York this June: Dutch dance troupe 4-ISH, German motivational speaker Johannes Galli, and Russian ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov. logo
Lottle Lammers and Chris Frank in 4-ISH
Photo © Sophy Cousin
Let's hear it for Europe, which is bringing so much interesting children's theater to New York this month. First, the indispensable New Victory Theater hosts a dance group from Holland, and then the Sage Theater presents no less than six children's plays by an internationally known German motivational speaker. Also scheduled is an event at the Joyce Theater that will feature the world-renowned Russian ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov.

What comes from Amsterdam and ends in -ISH? It's 4-ISH, a dance troupe that combines hip-hop dancing with Xtreme Sports. Their show has people skateboarding, rollerblading, beat boxing, and break dancing, as well as a DJ. Founder Marcos Gerris explains the troupe's quirky name in the press materials; to find out for yourself, go to the New Vic from June 2 to 18.

Frankfurt-born Johannes Galli has unique insights on how to use theater for personal growth, and he's shared them around the world as a motivational speaker. His methods are on view in a festival of plays at the Sage Theater, called Galli in the City. Among the shows aimed at kids, three of them are adaptations of the classics Snow White (June 2), Little Red Riding Hood (June 3), and The Frog Prince (June 4). Three others are Galli originals: Who Nose? (June 2) is about an authoritative professor and a clown. Can these very different personalities find common ground? Till the Butterfly Is Free (June 3) delves into a young girl's diary to find some of the issues that teenagers face in the area of diet and fitness. Finally, in Life Goes On (June 4), a young man is having difficulty with school, family, and girlfriends until two mysterious figures help him out of his rut.

Mikhail Baryshnikov will be making some appearances during the first week of BalletTech's Mandance Project at the Joyce Theater (May 31- June 11). Although not every show in the festival is suitable for children, three of them are part of a program called Kids Dance. Choreographed by Eliot Feld, they are Meshugana Dance, which is set to Klezmer music; Hello Fancy, inspired by John Playford's "The English Dancing Master"; and Apple Pie, baked with traditional bluegrass tunes.

Now that the weather is nice, you might not want to stay indoors. Fair enough! Take yourself downtown to Walk on White Street (Sunday, June 10, 11am-11pm), the title and location of what is being billed as the first annual celebration of Lower Manhattan's artistic community. There, the Battery Dance Company will perform Afro-Cuban, Hip Hop, ballet, and modern dance; the Blue Coyote Theater Group will host creative writing workshops for teenagers; and Manhattan Children's Theatre will offer Little Tales from around the world. Families can dine in the various eateries, visit cultural organizations, and patronize shops in the area.

Out in Long Island, icons of American pop culture take the stage in Care Bears Live: Caring and Sharing Friends, playing at the Nassau Coliseum from June 15 to 18. In this musical, the beloved teddy bears with the illuminated bellies meet a young girl named Lindsey, who has been lonely ever since her best friend moved to a new town. They whisk her away to a place called Care-A-Lot, where they reveal the secret of how to make new friends. The show's uplifting songs include "With a Smile, Smile, Smile," "Everyone Loves the Care Bears," "Wacky Moo Moo," and "It Takes You and Me."

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