Virginia Arts Festival plans busy weekend in Downtown Norfolk

bandaloop norfolk
Posted at 11:28 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 11:34:38-04

NORFOLK, Va. - From dancers suspended 200 feet over the street to Hampton Roads coming alive with the Sound of Music, it's a busy weekend of performances for Virginia Arts Festival in Downtown Norfolk.


Friday night marks the start of over a week of performances that's sure to turn the world on its side.

Bandaloop is a group of performers that's spent decades dancing and performing intricate choreography on the sides of man-made and natural structures.

Once the music starts, the group will descend from the top of Norfolk's Wells Fargo Center and perform a free show for the surrounding community, despite some of the dancers having a fear of heights.

"We put fear in the passenger seat so we're able to really move forward and dance," said Melecio Estrella, Bandaloop's Artistic Director. "Once you start dancing up there, the fear really goes into the background, but fear is important. It keeps us vigilant."

Estrella says he's been working on the current show for two years. Dancers train for their gravity-defying routines with numerous core exercises.

Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m.
Thursday, May 19, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 20, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 21, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 22, 6 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center, corner of Monticello Avenue & Charlotte Street, Norfolk
Performance run time: 35-40 minutes

The Sound of Music

How do you solve a problem like...a rainy weekend? Find something indoors and fun.

The Sound of Music in partnership with Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Opera is both.

Shows run Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Matt Kunkel, stage director for the show, tells News 3 he began production in November and in December casted talent in Hampton Roads and New York.

The cast is diverse, with some performers as young as six years old.

Kunkel says he's most excited to have the orchestra back the stage performers.

"To do these iconic songs that everybody knows — 'Do-Re-Mi', 'My Favorite Things,' 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' — with the whole symphony is thrilling. You don't really get that experience anymore in theatre and just to be able to have 40 pieces celebrating the score is gonna be a treat," he said.

Mikaela Bennett is starring in the role of Maria.

Tickets are still available for The Sound of Music, but Virginia Arts Festival says they are nearly sold out.