The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has announced the schedule for their 2015 Kwanzaa celebration, featuring a day of free activities and family-oriented performances on Saturday, December 19 from noon to 5:00 pm. The celebration looks to honor the rich and vibrant heritage of Newark’s African-American community.
The festivities will include a variety of programming that honor the African diaspora’s traditions of family, community and culture, including an array of no-experience-necessary workshops exploring African dance and music, storytelling, jewelry making, drumming and more for both adults and children. An Arts and Crafts Village will be open all day, and the Artisan Marketplace will offer one-shop shopping for holiday gifts.
NJPAC will also present a lively line-up of performances from talented area youths singing seasonal classics, marches, and gospel, including appearances by The NJPAC Youth Chorus, The NYC Marching Cobras, The Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts Middle School Concert Choir and The National Liturgical Dance Network.
Other highlights of NJPAC’s Kwanzaa festivities will include their annual Tribute to the Elders, honoring three pillars of the Newark community: Earl “Street Doctor” Best, founder of Street Warriors Inc.; Deborah Smith Gregory, retired Newark Public School teacher and NAACP Newark Chapter President; and Stanley Terrell, former Star-Ledger editor, author and journalist.
The day will also feature two performances at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in NJPAC’s Victoria Theatre from the acclaimed Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, joined by their special guest, the acclaimed poet and author Sonia Sanchez.
“Kwanzaa is an African-American tradition that focuses on family, so we are understandably excited to be able to invite you and your family to join us at NJPAC for a Kwanzaa Celebration that serves as part of Newark’s 350th Anniversary Celebration,” said Junius Williams, chair of Newark Celebration 350 and the director of the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University.
Schedule of Events
Friday, December 18
Saturday, December 19 – 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Sunday, December 20 – Noon to 10:00 pm / 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Prudential Hall Lobby
Kwanzaa Children’s Festival
Saturday, December 19 – Noon to 5:00 pm
At NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education (24 Rector Street in Newark)
FREE Performances in Prudential Hall Lobby
12:15 pm – 12:45 pm: NJPAC Youth Chorus led by NJPAC Faculty, Pastor Chantel Wright
1:15 pm – 1:45 pm: NYC Marching Cobras led by Director Terrel J. Stowers
2:15 pm – 2:45 pm: Folilaye African Drum & Dance Company; Foluso Mimy, Artistic Director
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts Middle School Concert Choir directed by Jean James
4:15 pm – 4:45 pm: National Liturgical Dance Network
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre: Kwanzaa Celebration with special guest, poet Sonia Sanchez
2:00 PM & 7:30 PM in NJPAC’s Victoria Theatre
Celebrate Kwanzaa with this daringly theatrical company, which combines the element of modern dance, traditional West African dance, ballet, hip-hop, and even martial arts. Visually inventive and creatively brilliant, the multi-ethnic dancers and drummers of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre perform one-on-a-kind programs that are “sizzling…nothing short of sensational, “ says The Washington Post. For tickets: call 888.GO.NJPAC(888.466.5722); online at njpac.org; or in person at the NJPAC ticket office.