By Molly Smith and Egdar Dobie

Joy. Where do we look for joy, where do we find joy? One quick answer is here—with you—which is so evident with the audiences attending Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show!

This month, Step Afrika! has brought its incredible talent and stepping expertise to the Fichandler Stage to gather us together in a celebration of life. It is bringing much joy. Arena’s multi-year partnership with Step Afrika! underscores Arena’s core values, including flourishing by building a healthy, dynamic, and powerful artistic community; striving to instill in the public a life-long love and participation in the theater arts; serving artists and arts professionals; participating in the national, regional, and local communities; and producing theater through effective partnerships and collaboration at the most sophisticated and professional levels. One of the top African American dance companies in the country, Step Afrika! now finds its home here after touring extensively around the world.

We are grateful for Step Afrika!’s friendship and inspired by their artistry—and we’re not the only ones! Founder and Executive Producer C. Brian Williams was recently honored as a 2022 NEA National Heritage Fellow, and Executive Director Lamar Lovelace received the Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy’s 2022 Meritorious Service Award. Congratulations!

As 2022 closes, we reflect on changes we have felt and observed since everyone’s world was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our art form exists only with artists AND audiences. Without you, we don’t exist. We didn’t emerge from the shut-down the same as we were before—neither have you—and we continue to be challenged every day. Arena’s stalwart audiences have also adapted to the many changes, and we look forward to gracefully welcoming you for seasons of storytelling to come.

We hope that you have ample time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones this holiday seasonand that you experience much joy. Theater provides a space for empathy and there is much joy to be found at Arena Stage. Who can imagine a better place than the theater to feel collective joy away from our screens and sharing the world with others?

Photo by Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show by Jati Lindsay.