American Museum of Natural History Announces Kwanzaa Celebration, 12/29

American Museum of Natural History Announces Kwanzaa Celebration, 12/29

The American Museum of Natural History celebrates its 34th annual Kwanzaa celebration with Kwanzaa 2012: First Fruits of the Harvest on Saturday, December 29, from noon to 5pm. The event celebrates the rich traditions of Kwanzaa and honors the holiday's seven guiding principles. The festival will include a special interview about Karamu (African Feast) with pioneering restaurateur B. Smith, family-friendly hands-on activities, and an international marketplace. Restoration Dance Theatre Company and Balance Dance Theatre, led by acclaimed choreographer Obediah Wright, will perform in an exciting program that also includes Soul Steps and Underground System Afrobeat.

Hosted by storyteller Linda Humes, the day includes:

  • An opening parade through the Museum, from the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda to the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, led by Brooklyn-based Underground System Afrobeat;
  • Performance by Caribbean-influenced Soul Steps, celebrating its roots from the gumboot dancers in the mines of South Africa to its present day style and weaving in cultural stories of the generations of ancestors they represent;
  • African, Caribbean, jazz, and modern dances performed by Restoration Dance Theatre Company, in full costume;
  • Reflections on Kwanzaa and its symbolic foods by iconic restaurateur, author, television personality, and lifestyle expert B. Smith, who will offer tips on how to create a Kwanzaa Karamu feast that inspires togetherness and unity, participate in a question-and-answer session, and hold a special book signing of her Entertaining and Cooking for Friends;
  • Under the artistic direction of Brooklyn-born, award-winning choreographer Obediah Wright, Balance Dance Theatre's performance of "Guardians" from Higher Ground: Still Rising! based on African folklore and Black in the Box, an electrifying new work;
  • A special film screening of The Black Candle, a landmark documentary narrated by world-renowned poet Maya Angelou that uses Kwanzaa to explore and celebrate the African-American experience, following the closing ceremony.

The Kwanzaa International Marketplace will take place throughout the day in several halls: Birds of the World, Grand Gallery, Hall of North American Forests, and Warburg Hall of New York State Environment.

During the festivities, visitors can sample delicious Kwanzaa signature dishes crafted by award-winning chef B. Smith and rooted in the African-American cultural heritage in the Museum Food Court. The menu will feature cornmeal-fried whiting, jalapeno cornbread, jerk chicken, and banana hash.