Image: Apollo Theater
Featuring performances from Abdel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with Special Guest Artist Pauline Jean
Hosted by OBIE Award-Winning Performer Stephanie Berry
The Apollo announced its annual Kwanzaa celebration, which returns in-person for the first time in two years, offering attendees the opportunity to experience the cultural importance and collective Black joy that characterize the holiday. Kwanzaa: A Regeneration Celebration will take place on Friday, December 30 at 7:30pm EST, anchored by performances from renowned New York-based dance company Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre—the creative force behind the 40-year tradition which blends contemporary modern, West African, house, and hip-hop dance styles—as well as special guest artist, Haitian American singer Pauline Jean. Also featured will be the young people of the Forces of Nature/Harlem Children’s Zone Youth Arts Academy of Dance and Wellness, performing under the direction of Jae Ponder.
Over the years, the Apollo has worked to ensure the presentation of its Kwanzaa program during the seven- day celebration of African American culture, carving out space for the community to reflect on the seven basic principles (the Nguzo Saba) and recommit to the collective achievement of a better life for families, community, and Black people overall. The event, hosted by Harlem-born actor, playwright, community activist, and first-time Apollo Kwanzaa emcee Stephanie Berry, will take place in the Apollo’s Historic Theater. Tickets start at $25 and are available here.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a response to the commercialism of Christmas and as a way to focus on building community. Kwanzaa is observed from December 26 to January 1, during which time participants reflect on seven basic principles—Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self- determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).
Since 2006, the Apollo has presented an annual event to celebrate this holiday tradition during Kwanzaa with families and communities from across New York’s five boroughs and the tri-state area. In addition to the in-person celebration, the Apollo will offer the event virtually, as well as provide the option to relive the 2021 Kwanzaa Special via video on-demand, connecting African American communities across the country. Learn more at apollotheater.org.
Tickets, starting at $25, are on-sale now at www.ApolloTheater.org and in-person at the Apollo Theater Box Office. Harlem residents, employees, business owners, and students can save 50% on tickets through Apollo’s Half off for Harlem program at www.ApolloTheater.org/half-off-for-harlem.
About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.
With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben-Ari; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about the Apollo, visit www.ApolloTheater.org.