Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Dance Place Tradition: The Kwanzaa Celebration

Nov 15, 2010 02:43AM ● By Anonymous

Add some spice to your holiday season! In this special holiday showcase, Dance Place resident company Coyaba Dance Theater celebrates Kwanzaa, with a performance featuring adult and youth performers on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 8:00pm and Sunday, December 19 , 2010 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Dance Place.

Featuring 85 performers of various ages and backgrounds, this year’s Kwanzaa Celebration focuses on coming together as a family and as a community. The performance includes dancers from the Coyaba Academy, ages 2 to 16, as well as Sylvia Soumah’s Seniors at THEARC, ages 60 to 80. The celebration also includes dancers from the Washington Ballet at THEARC and the premiere of the Coyaba Youth Ensemble, a select group of Coyaba Academy students. With such a diverse group of performers, this year’s celebration embodies and supports the ideas of family, community, and culture that are central to Kwanzaa.

Coyaba’s director, Sylvia Soumah, has faith in the collective ability of young people to build a caring society.
She also believes it takes community to raise a child – a principle that is evident in both Dance Place and Coyaba’s approach to dance training and performance. Soumah’s own artistic community helped to raise her from an unknown and unfocused future to the leadership role she holds today. Having been shown the way, she wants to provide that same sense of family and community for other young people.

Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration of cultural reaffirmation set in motion by Maulana Karenga in the 1970s. It commemorates family, community, self development and culture with a different principle focused on each day. Kwanzaa claims no ties with any religion and is celebrated December 26 – January 1st. 

Founded in 1997, Coyaba Dance Theater is a contemporary West African dance company with a mission to present dance, music and other artistic/educational programs focusing on the diverse ethnic groups of West Africa. The company is dedicated to providing informative community classes, workshops and performances; to serve as cultural ambassadors through authentic portrayals of music, dance and culture of the African Diaspora. A two-time recipient of the Metro DC Dance Award for Outstanding Group Performance, Coyaba Dance Theater has performed at many venues/places including South Korea, DanceAfrica Chicago, the Kennedy Center and The Barns of Wolf Trap.

Kwanzaa Celebration of Music and Dance

Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests
Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 8:00pm
Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 2:00pm** and 7:00pm

Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington DC 20017; Two blocks from Redline Brookland/CUA stop; Free and convenient parking.

$22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Students, Teachers and Artists; $8 Children (17 and under)

**2pm performance is part of our Family Series, one FREE ticket for a child (12 and under) with each paying adult, reservations required.

To purchase tickets visit or call (202)269-1600