By Michelle Richardson,
Special to the AFRO
The Dance Institute of Washington (DIW), a minority-led dance organization in the nation’s capital, will stage its annual holiday performance celebrating Kwanzaa, the annual celebration of African American culture.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
‘The Spirit of Kwanzaa’ is a winter holiday celebration that draws on the agricultural ceremonies of Africa.
“The Spirit of Kwanzaa is always such an amazing event for DIW,” stated Executive Director Kahina Hanyes. “It’s a perfect opportunity to bring the community together while celebrating everything enduring and beautiful about Black culture and creativity.”
DIW has adapted the principles of Kwanzaa to showcase the struggles and creativity within the Black experience. Through dance, music, and spoken word performances, the production will celebrate the holidays seven principles which are- Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ukima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).
This year’s theme for the performance is “Celebrating Life and Harmony.” Earl Mosley and Katherine Smith are directing and the cast will be made up of local dancers from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area.
The holidays aren’t the only reason the DIW is celebrating, as the institute was just awarded $1 million via measures that were steered through the House Appropriation Committee Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
The funding, which is part of $21 million earmarked for Washington D.C. organizations under a program that funds the arts, nutritional guidance and mental health.
The Spirit of Kwanzaa will hold two shows Dec. 16 and 17 at 7:00pm at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, 2455 6th Street, NW. Tickets to The Spirit of Kwanzaa cost $30 and can be purchased at: https://danceinstituteofwashington.org/thespiritofkwanzaa/
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