In 2003, Kelly Morgan left her life in New York and came to South Bend with her family. Upon her arrival, she discovered that she missed a piece of the New York dance community: Afro-Caribbean dance. Kelly decided she would bring this genre so dear to her heart to the South Bend Community.
The word “uzima”, meaning a celebration of wholeness, health, and life, was chosen from the Swahili language as a mantra for the company. UZIMA! Drum and Dance considers this to be their central mission and foundation, seeking this for both members and audiences. Performing traditional West African and Afro-contemporary dance, song, and spoken word, UZIMA! always looks to leave their audience in a better place—filled with joy, peace, and a greater sense of the light that exists in all of us.
Kelly was drawn to this style of dance largely because of its inclusion of all different people, celebrating the community, culture, and tradition of those who not often get the spotlight. UZIMA! considers this inclusion to be a central part of their identity. The company embodies this by featuring a variety of dancers. Extending this celebration of difference, UZIMA! stands out as unique within the community of dance by showcasing dancers of different ages, colors, and body types.
The Debartolo Performing Arts Center features renowned artists from around the globe, exposing South Bend to world-class talent and culture. However, UZIMA!’s partnership with the Center is unique and powerful in its provision of rich art and cultural diversity cut from the city’s own cloth. We are honored to be a part of Walk the Walk Week, bringing to the stage our vision of embracing each other. It is our hope to continue this tradition as we all continue the journey toward the realization of Dr. King’s message.