Words of wisdom from Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., help set the stage for a new Kwanzaa dance production called “Ma’at” which the Lula Washington Dance Theatre (LWDT) will perform as part of its 2018 Kwanzaa Dance Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 28, 29, and 30 at 7:30 pm.
All three concerts will be at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre studio, 3773 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016.
This exuberant, exciting program features a blending of African dance; ballet and modern dance. It uses talented youth from the LWDT School and exceptional performers from Lula Washington’s international touring dance ensemble.
The culminating second act of the show, “Harambee Suite” has been passed down from generation-to-generation by LWDT for the past three decades. Master drummers fill the theater with rhythms that make audience members want to jump up and dance.
In honor of Kwanzaa, master drummer / composer, Marcus L. Miller has created a new musical suite exploring each of the seven principals of Kwanzaa. Each musical selection provides a soundtrack for a specific one of the seven Kwanzaa principals. Lula Washington and her daughter, Tamica Washington-Miller are both choreographing sections of the seven-part dance.
Renaldo Maurice, who spent 10 years dancing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre before moving to Los Angeles, is also choreographing dances for the suite. The title “Ma’at” refers to the Egyptian word for seeing balance.
The music and dance are broken into seven sections – one for each of the specific days and principles of Kwanzaa.
“Our Kwanzaa performances show the beauty, creativity, energy and discipline of our children and our company dancers,” said Lula Washington, artistic director. “Our kids get to show how great they can be when given the proper creative leadership and guidance.
People walk out of our Kwanzaa concerts happy, smiling, dancing, and saying how wonderful it was,” she added.
Lula Washington Dance Theatre will follow its Kwanzaa concerts with a tour of performances in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Mexico, locally in Rancho Cucamonga, and in Anchorage, Alaska.
The Kwanzaa celebration is a non-religious holiday observance. It is a cultural event rooted in a celebration of family; children; community; African roots; a principals for building strong communities. It centers around seven principals: Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility); Kujichagulia (Self Determination); Umoja (Unity); Ujamaa (Cooprative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); and Imani (Faith).
“We hold this concert in our own community, in our own studio theater because we practice the Kwanzaa principal of Kujichagulia – Self Determination; and “Ujima” to build and maintain your own community,” said Washington-Miller, associate director. Furthers Erwin Washington, co-founder and executive director, “We could take this show anywhere, but, we feel it is important to happen right here in a space that we own right in our own community. He added that the Kwanzaa performances tend to sell out quickly and urged the public to buy their tickets as early as possible before they are gone.
Kwanzaa tickets range from $100 for persons who wish to donate to the LWDT school and scholarship fund; to $10 for children who sit in the lap of an adults. General tickets are $35 and $25 for seniors and students. Those wanting early seating and vip free refreshments can buy tickets at $45 and $65. Tickets are on sale online 24 hours a day at www.BrownPaperTickets.com or by calling BrownPaperTickets.com at 1-800-838-3006.