Whidbey Island will host a youth dance group from Uganda for two weeks in March as part of its North American tour.
The local visit of the Dance of Hope group is sponsored by Langley’s NW Language and Cultural Center. Several performances are scheduled at high schools and other locations, said Josette Hendrix, founder and executive director.
A welcoming celebration and community gathering is scheduled 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the center where the dancers will stay their first week.
Families have volunteered to host the dancers, ranging in age from 11-17, for the second week, Hendrix said.
“They are ten kids from an Ugandan orphanage on tour,” she said. “They are both amazing musicians and dancers.”
They are mentored by Kinobe Herbert, a Ugandan musician and philanthropist. The youth, from the town of Kampala, are raising money for a community space, arts center and classrooms.
They will be meeting and practicing together with South Whidbey High School music students March 5-9. The in-service workshops will culminate in a combined performance of Dance of Hope with SWHS Jazz Band, 7 p.m., March 9 at South Whidbey High School Auditorium. The show is sponsored by WICA.
Attendance is free, but donations are welcomed.
Dance of Hope’s colorful costuming, original choreography and indigenous instruments, handmade by the troupe, are featured in their performances.
The music is described as a “fusion of traditional African rhythms from East, North, South and West Africa, along with original songs performed in gorgeous harmonies.”
Throughout the performances, members of the young ensemble share how music and dance gave them hope and resilience to survive.
The interactive program is also designed to “transport audiences through a history of Africa and aims to break down misconceptions about the continent and its people,” according to a press release.
Visit www.nwlacc.org or www.danceofhope.com for more information.