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Harvard Squared | Roundup

Falling for Art

September-October 2018

Photograph courtesy of ImprovBoston

Photograph courtesy of ImprovBoston

Photograph by Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Photograph by Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet

School’s back in session for students—but those of us with diplomas can learn new things, too, thanks to autumn classes, lectures, and workshops at cultural hubs in Harvard Square and beyond. Here’s where to brush up on ballet, practice poetry, or even design your very own Greek animal-head mug.

Stuck in a recipe rut? Visit the Cambridge for Adult Education to cook staples from the American South, the Caribbean, and Africa in a six-week, three-hour Sunday night class. “Oldways: A Taste of African Heritage” focuses on spices and herbs, leafy greens, whole grains, beans, tubers, fruits, and vegetables. Cook, eat, and take home recipes from Roxbury-based chef Samantha Anson.

Or bring smaller chefs to the Boston Public Market to cook alongside vendors at the family-friendly, hour-long Saturday morning Kids in the Kitchen series, each with a theme that spotlights local products. Make chocolate éclairs using ingredients from Somerville’s Taza Chocolate, or join farmers from Phillipston’s Red Apple Farm to bake apple bread pudding. Classes are geared toward “toques” ages 6-12.

Speaking of novices: Brush up on ballet at the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, which holds 10-week, 90-minute introductory fall sessions for adults—no experience required. If you’re confident, drop into 90-minute classes designed for dancers who have mastered the basics and want to sharpen their skills.

Or leave dancing to the professionals and visit the Boston Ballet for Genius at Play, a celebration of choreographer Jerome Robbins, staged at the Boston Opera House. The performance highlights three Robbins works: Interplay, set to jazz; Fancy Free, a collaboration with composer Leonard Bernstein set in 1940s New York; and Glass Pieces, a tribute to urban life scored by Philip Glass. The company joins the audience for a lecture on September 7.

If you long to adopt a pet but worry about maintenance, consider Plan B: form and decorate ceramic vessels in the style of ancient Greek animal-head mugs, guided by Harvard Ceramic Studio’s Kathy King. Tuesday and Saturday workshops dovetail with the Harvard Art Museums’ exhibition “Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings.”

For a more laid-back experience, visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Bertucci Education Studio, which hosts drop-in art-making activities every Saturday throughout the fall, inspired by current exhibits. The workshops are family-friendly and free with museum admission.

The Museum of Fine Arts launches a collaboration with advocacy group Mass Poetry this season. Notable poets guide guests through writing exercises during free drop-in classes on Wednesday evenings through the fall.

Or find your voice (literally) at the New School of Music. Their weekly, audition-free group vocal classes focus on classical and folk songs. They’re designed to help beginners learn basics such as breath.

Meanwhile, Cambridge comedy studio ImprovBoston—known for its interactive shows—hosts free, introductory workshops for aspiring comics on Saturday afternoons throughout the fall, led by the theater’s improvisers. No experience is required, but as with any new class, a sense of humor always helps.

Harvard Squared

A guide to the arts and culture, history, cuisine, and natural beauty of Cambridge, Boston, and beyond