Jamaica Plain, MA – OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center – pioneers of innovative and dynamic performing arts programs that motivate, challenge and inspire youth to be the best they can be, is back for this year’s Twist & Shout Gala on Saturday, October 14, 2023, beginning with a VIP reception at 6:30 p.m. at Huntington Theatre.
The night will include an evening of dance, spoken word and music featuring performances from the Professional Dance Division, who will share their transformative journeys at OrigiNation and how it has shaped their successful careers. Courtney Boston, WWOC Radio Co-founder, will host the event. “Courtney B,” as she’s affectionately known on the airwaves in Boston, continues to be a woman in perpetual motion as she balances career goals and aspirations with the mission to make a difference in the lives of as many young people as possible. Additionally, OrigiNation will honor several community leaders who make it their mission to support youth in the community.
“We are thrilled to be back for another year and are ready to showcase some of the talented young individuals at OrigiNation,” said Executive Director, Musau Dibinga. “This event allows us to gather as one and share our love for the arts to those in our community and neighboring towns that have supported us for nearly three decades.”
Those honored during the Twist & Shout gala include Ruthzee Louijeune, an American politician and lawyer serving as at-large member of the Boston City Council. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, born and bred in the city of Boston and its public schools, Louijeune fights for working people in particular Black and Latinx communities on issues of housing and homeownership, education access and civic participation.
Honoree Michael J. Bobbitt is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Bobbitt is a theater director, choreographer, and playwright who has dedicated his professional career to arts leadership. He joined the Massachusetts Cultural Council as Executive Director in February 2021, and is the highest-ranking cultural official in the Massachusetts state government. Upon joining the Agency, he was invited to serve on the Board of Directors for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ (NASAA).
OrigiNation will also honor global footwear and apparel brand, Converse, Inc., The original brand of youth creativity, today they are on a mission to be a canvas for youth progress in Boston: building trust, collaboration and commitment not only through what they make, but also in what they do. This four-year partnership between OrigiNation and Converse has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of youth in the underserved neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.
A purchase of a $100 VIP tickets grant access to the reception, silent auction, where guests can bid on exclusive items while supporting OrigiNation’s mission to empower and promote leadership development in youth in underserved neighborhoods. VIP guest will also enjoy delectable light appetizers, and a memorable meet & greet with the extraordinary artists, honorees, directors, special guests, and dancers. Proceeds from this event will directly support OrigiNation’s signature programs and other productions. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.bostontheatrescene.com.
Founded in 1994, OrigiNation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit performance arts program that utilizes dance as a vehicle to develop leadership, confidence, and self-sufficiency among young people ages 2-18. While our programs are open to all youth, many of our students live in the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, where access to quality dance and theater programs is limited. We serve over 150 boys and girls annually through our on-site programs and an additional 1,500 youth through our Community Outreach & Education Program. We also conduct international and domestic Youth Empowerment Arts Tours. As part of this exciting program, our Professional Dance Division raises funds to perform for and teach dance classes to elementary and high school students over 5-10 days. To date, we have traveled to the South African cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto; Dakar, Senegal; London, England; New Orleans, LA; Accra, Ghana; Trinidad & Tobago, and Kingston, Jamaica.