Sunday, June 16, 2019
Lula Washington Celebrates Kwanzaa Dec 29 & 30
Published December 29, 2017

Lula Washington Dance Theatre celebrates their annual performance of KWANZAA, with three concerts of an unforgettable holiday show, spirited in ritual dance, song, music, and black culture, at the intimate Lula Washington Dance Theatre Studio A, at 3773 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016. “Kwanzaa is a cultural and social holiday based on the Seven Principles, which each support strong economic and community benefits,” added Tamica Washington-Miller, associate director of LWDT dance company and school. “People are free to celebrate in Christmas and still observe Kwanzaa,” she said.

“We celebrate Kwanzaa every year because it is a cultural holiday that focuses on children, family, and sharing this culture with the community,“ said Lula Washington, artistic director of the dance company. “You will see children from the tiny tots to our teens – all dancing with our adult professional dancers. Together, they perform at incredible levels of excellence.”

Once Lula feels here cast has grasped her vision, they hit the stage and never stop moving the people. The show features high energy dance genres of ballet, African, modern, hip-hop, step, etc., by some of the best young dancers in Los Angeles! “Our professional dancers, students, even some teachers learn the culture of Kwanzaa through the rehearsals.  They, in turn, perform and pass this culture unto to the audience, through the performances. Many of our students first learned about the school as first-time audience members at a Kwanzaa show.  It’s hard to beat this show for its meaningful grassroots approach, Says LWDT Executive Director, Erwin Washington.

Reviewer Tonya Plank called Lula’s Kwanzaa “The best dance show” she’s seen in Los Angeles.” The New York Times has praised Lula Washington as a “gifted original.”

Lula Washington, artistic director Lula Washington Dance Theatre

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga.  It is inspired by African “first fruit” traditions, and the name is derived from the name for the Swahili first fruit celebration, “matunda ya kwanza.” The rituals of the holiday promote African traditions and Nguzo Saba, the “seven principles of African Heritage” that Karenga described as “a communitarian African philosophy”:

  • Umoja (unity)—To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (self-determination)—To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (collective work and responsibility)—To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa(cooperative economics)—To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (purpose)—To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (creativity)—To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (faith)—To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa Information was found on Wikipedia.

Tickets are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets, 800-838-3006; or, online at Ticket prices range from $10 for children sitting on floor mats; to $35 for the general public. Groups of 10 receive a 10% discount.

The Kwanzaa performances are sponsored in part by the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

All photos E. Mesiyah McGinnis


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