Perfect your footwork at the DC Tap Fest, hear civil rights icon and Vernon Jordan discuss his life and work at the National Portrait Gallery and see the Occupy movement in the performing arts world at Gala Hispanic Theater. Here are some highlights of the arts events in the next few weeks.

Grammy winner and Washington native Mya will show off her tap skills at this weekend’s DC Tap Fest (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

The National Postal Museum will host a free “Mysteries of Mail” family day at noon on Saturday. The program, tied to the exhibit “Systems at Work,” will show participants what it takes to get a letter to its destination. Attendees will learn about the inner workings of mail and shipment, from sending letters from the battlefield to sending eggs across the nation. Hands-on activities include learning how to sort mail like a railway postman, a scavenger hunt, and more beginning at Noon in the museum atrium.

DC Tap Fest workshops

The fourth-annual DC Tap Fest will arrive Friday - Sunday for a weekend of workshops, performances and more at DC Dance Collective. Highlights will include learning about the history of tap and perfecting your toe-tapping skillswith classes dedicated to improv and musical theater techniques; an All-Star performance concert featuring Grammy-award winner and Washington native Mýa, and a student showcase and cutting contest to close the weekend.Three-day packages start at $185; individual classes are $25 and can be purchased online. For more information, visit


The fifth annual DC SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) day

will take over Washington on Saturday to bring an afternoon of live music, theater, film and more to the city. Spread across six venues,the day’s highlights will include a staged marathon reading of 13 short plays at the National Museum of Women in the Arts at 1 p.m., theater and performance art demonstrations by local artists at D.C. Arts Center at noon and dance performances and poetry readings at Grace Church starting at 12:30 p.m. The opening reception will be held Friday at Baked and Wired, where attendees can view the art exhibition “Singles Faire,” by Jenny Walton. All events are free and open to the public; the play readings require a $10 entry fee to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. For the full list of events, visit

Vernon Jordan

Share the experience of being a “Living Self-Portrait” on April 9, when civil rights icon and portrait subject Vernon Jordan shares his story with former museum director Marc Pachter in a lecture at the National Portrait Gallery. Jordan, whose image hangs in the gallery as part of the exhibition “The Black List,” will discuss his experiences in the civil rights movement and its impact on American history. The free event will begin at 7 p.m. in the McEvoy Auditorium. Tickets can be reserved online at

Puppetry From Bulgaria

Experience the arts and culture of Bulgaria on April 1 when the Ambassador Theater hosts “Hopa Tropa: Kukerica!,” a masquerade experience of puppetry and music in the Masonic Theater of the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Puppet shows will be at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., with workshops at 12:30 and 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for children and students.

Paper Airplane Day

Take your dreams of aviation to the sky - or at least to paper - on April 6, when the College Park Aviation Museum hosts Paper Airplane Day. Starting at Noon, brush up on your folding and aiming skills using materials provided by the museum, test your plane out in the museum’s paper airplane launcher, and then put your skills to the test in the Paper Airplane Derby at 3 p.m. The best planes will win prizes, and the fun will continue until 4 p.m. The Day is included in museum admission - $4 adult; $2 for kids 18 and under.

Titanic Survivor’s Fashion

While fashion was probably the last thing on passengers’ minds when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, fashion designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, who survived, didn’t lose her focus on bringing her latest collection to New York. Learn more about her work on April 13 at Hillwood Museum when costume and textile curator Howard Vincent Kurtz discusses Gordon and her clothing, of which eight pieces were owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post and her daughters. 20 general admission, $10 for members and $7 for students.

‘Occupy Gala’

Gala Hispanic Theatre will be responding to modern politics and society through song, dance and spoken word when it hosts “Occupy Gala” on April 13 and 14. Each evening will include a prelude of puppetry, percussion and live music on the sidewalk at the entrance, and performers will be positioned from the sidewalk to the parking deck and everywhere in between for two nights of reggae, hip-hop, poetry, visual art and more. Tickets cam be purchased online at $15 general admission.

Shakespeare for Kids

Step into Shakespeare’s shoes at the Folger Shakespeare Library on April 14, when children ages 6-13 will immerse themselves in the playwright’s language through performance-based techniques. Attendees will also observe stage combat by swordsman Brad Waller and see his skill put to use during a fight scene from “Macbeth.” Register by e-mailing or calling 202-675-0395. $35 for one adult and one child, with $10 for each additional child.

Civil War Encampment

Tudor Place revisits the Civil War on April 14, when the grounds of the museum will be transformed into an 1860s encampment where guests can observe the daily lives of enslaved workers and Union and Confederate soldiers, talk with them and hear their wartime stories. Kids can attend the “School of the Soldier” to learn the manual of arms and participate in military drills, slip into period costumes and learn how to play games from the era. Visitors can also hear lectures on Victorian women’s dress and the role of African American women during the war, meet Civil War novel authors, and more. $10 for adults and $5 for children 4-12.