It always feels good to give back, but it feels great when you get to do so at an event like Shut Up & Dance—MANNA’S annual fundraiser, which happens to kick off this weekend.
MANNA (Metropolitan Area Nutrition Alliance) has been servicing the Greater Philadelphia region since 1990, following the impact of the AIDS pandemic. At a time when many were affected and in isolation, members of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia began delivering meals to their neighbors—and that’s when the idea for this charitable institution was born. Since then, MANNA has been staying true to its core mission for three decades, having served 19,787,315 meals to over 39,964 clients with over 85 different illnesses.
The organization is known as a leader in evidence-based nutrition services as well, offering much more than just meal deliveries: MANNA also offer hands-on cooking classes and nutrition counseling while bringing together dietitians, chefs, drivers, and thousands of volunteers.
To help keep the mission of the foundation going for the past three decades (although COVID halted the production for some time), Shut Up & Dance has become a meaningful tradition for both MANNA and their partner for the event, The Philadelphia Ballet. Now in its 30th year, this will be the last time the curtain will rise for the showcase, and there is still time to buy tickets.
An official statement from the event’s website reads: “The legacy of the generosity and commitment of the Dancers of Philadelphia Ballet and the love they have shown to MANNA for the last 30 years means so much to us. We look forward to working together to figure out what comes next in this important partnership. We hope you will join us for our 30th Anniversary and final performance. It is one to not be missed. Let us celebrate this incredible journey together.”
Shut Up & Dance takes place this Saturday, April 30, at The Forrest Theatre (1114 Walnut St.) at 8 p.m. Presented by Dancers of Philadelphia Ballet and hosted by John Jarboe of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, this spirited showcase will also feature performances from the Almanac Dance Circus Theater, BalletX, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Gunnar Montana, Jacob Taylor and UArts. Shut Up & Dance is led by Producing Director and Philadelphia Ballet Demi Soloist Jackie Callahan, Assistant Director and Philadelphia Ballet Soloist Peter Weil, and Assistant Director and Philadelphia Ballet
Demi Soloist Jack Sprance.
Before the curtain rises one last time, there will also be a Pre-Party at Jefferson Alumni Hall (1020 Locust St.), and tickets are available in their VIP packages online. Ticket packets range in prices and what they offer depending on which color you select (Gold, Silver or Bronze.) Any tickets purchased this week leading up to the show can be picked up at MANNA (420 N. 20th Street) the business day following your purchase, or at the Forrest Theatre Box Office from 4 -8 p.m. on April 30.
If you can’t make it out this weekend however, there is still a chance to donate online, or, make it out to future MANNA events, such as their Guac Off on May 26. In partnership with Morgan’s Pier, Philadelphians will be able to sample fresh guacamole crafted by some of the city’s best restaurants, all with the backdrop of the Delaware River Waterfront. Judges include Jose Garces, Jen Carroll and more, and with your votes, MANNA will crown 2022’s “Guac Master.”
The organization’s Chef Radio Live showcase is also coming up on May 4, and with this event, Chefs Ange Branca of Kampar Kitchen, Chefanie Nicole of Everybody Eats Philly, Diana Widjojo of Hardena, Randy Rucker of River Twice, Scott Calhoun and Dave Feola of Ember & Ash, and Yehuda Sichel of Huda will join High Street Hospitality in preparing appetizers for a cocktail hour.
As their website states, after a reception, Nok Suntaranon of Kalaya, Kurt Evans of Everybody Eats Philly, and Jen Carroll of Carroll Couture Cuisine will then serve a family style dinner and join Chef Eli Kulp on stage for a live recording of ‘The CHEF Radio Podcast.’ The evening will then round out with dessert by Franklin Fountain, Christopher Curtin, Eclat Chocolate, Monica Glass and Abby Dahan.
For information on MANNA and upcoming events, visit mannapa.org
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