Abdel R. Salaam's Forces of Nature Dance Theatre performed at theApollo's annual Kwanzaa show last December. (Shahar Azran Photography) (39516)

The Apollo Theater celebrates the first day of Kwanzaa with the renowned New York dance theatre company Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, presenting their popular 5th annual Regeneration Night program. Kwanzaa has gained tremendous acceptance since its founding in 1966 and is celebrated widely across the country. Harlem’s own Forces of Nature performs a multifaceted ensemble of dance that celebrates the key principles of Kwanzaa. Forces of Nature will be joined on the legendary Apollo stage by DJARARA, performing music of Haiti, Urban World NYC Poets and special guest Kimati Dinizulu.

Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, Regeneration Night is fun and affordable for the entire family and is a wonderful way to celebrate not only Kwanzaa, but the overall spirit of the holiday season as well. There will be one show only–Sunday, Dec. 26, 7:30pm. Tickets are $16 and $13 (for groups of 10 or more) and are available through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 253 West 125th Street, (212) 531-5305 and Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com, (212) 307-7171. Enjoy this exciting evening of dance and music honoring the principles of Kwanzaa and the holiday season–family, community and culture.

Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than 18 million people worldwide, as reported by the ITALNew York TimesITAL. Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Kwanzaa is a unique African-American celebration with a focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and, despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest” in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance since its founding and is celebrated across the country.

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre is a celebrated New York dance company based in Harlem, and this year marks the company’s 26th anniversary. Founded in 1981 by artistic director Abdel Salaam and managing director Dele Husbands, Forces of Nature utilizes a unique blend of performing arts, which includes contemporary modern dance, traditional West African dance, ballet, house and hip-hop forms to create performances that are thought-provoking and creatively brilliant. For many years, Forces of Nature has had the distinction of producing one of New York City’s most anticipated Kwanzaa celebrations. The performances are presented to educate and enlighten the general public and community leaders about this powerful and spiritual holiday.

Djarara Lot Bo Dlo was founded by Pe Yves in 1996. Pe Yves’ passionate vision to recreate a vibrant Rara (a unique form of festival music originating in Haiti) community in Brooklyn led to the formation and continued growth and success of DJARARA. The group performs in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park each Sunday during the summer months, their contagious grooves and unifying vibes continue to draw increasingly larger crowds each year, always culminating with their J’ouvert performance on the eve of the annual West Indian Labor Day parade on Eastern Parkway. DJARARA is a cultural unification point within the community, a place where young and old can congregate, reconnect to their roots and celebrate their Haitian pride with joyous song and dance. DJARARA has staged performances at numerous venues and festivals around the country, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City.