Umoja Dance Company


Umoja Dance Company was founded in 1993 as a vehicle to educate, preserve and present dance as a communal and spiritual expression of life. Umoja creates a nurturing environment that encourages cross-cultural exchange and celebrates the versatility of the body and mind. Umoja, the Kiswahili word for “Unity.” continues to adapt aspects of African culture, aesthetics and contemporary modern dance. Umoja reflects the evolution of uniting the mind, body and spirit.

Company Profile

UMOJA has been recognized as one of New Jersey’s premier dance companies established in 1993 by Karen L. Love. Umoja self-produced concerts at Montclair State University from 1993 -1998 which led to numerous performances throughout the country.

Performance  highlights include: 

The International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference (IABD), held at Duke University, Montclair State University Great Events Performance Series, Lincoln Center Out of Door festival, NBC Today Black History Month Special, NJPAC Kwanzaa Festivals, Prudential Black Leadership Forum, and SOPAC Triple Threat Showcase. UMOJA was selected to perform at Aaron Davis Hall as a part of the New Vision/New Voices Choreography Showcase for People of Color, curated by Gus Solomons, Jr.

Umoja had the honor of being commissioned by two outstanding New Jersey organizations: The Westfield Symphony Orchestra and the NJ Chamber Music Society. Westfield’s conductor David Wroe selected Love to choreography a new piece to Darius Milhaud’s “Le Creation du Monde.” The piece was an eclectic blend of West African and modern dance that premiered at the Union County Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. The NJ Chamber Music Society commissioned Love’s choreography for two West African tales, Anansi the Spider and the Rabbit at the Water Hole with Linda Goss, Storyteller and Paul Arslanian composer.

Umoja created WOFABE African Dance and Drum Festival. The festival was presented for ten years and is the only African dance & drum festival in state of New Jersey.

Choreography showcases include: Dance Theater Workshop FRESHTRACKS, Symphony Space Dance Sampler, Mulberry Street Theatre: Newsteps, St. Mark’s Danspace: Food For Thought, P.S. 122: New Stuff, Fieldday at The Ubu Repertory Theatre and Joyce Soho as well as the New Generation in Dance/Dance in Education Fund Concert held at SUNY Purchase.

Community outreach include: Newark Symphony Hall, Mary Burch Theatre, Luna Stage, Rutgers University, Union County College, Centenary College, William Paterson University, The Vivian Gaunt Scholarship Fund, Newark EMA HIV Health Services Planning Council Convention, The Links, Inc. Conference for Youths, Community Day Nursery, Capezio Dance Foundation, Merck & Co, Hazel Ave School, Mondelez International, Clifton Library, Montclair Public Library, Newark Museum, and Ethicon Corporation, Jack and Jill, Montclair African-American Heritage Day Parade, The Baird Community Center, The 100 Black Men New Years' Eve Celebration and The Montclair Arts Awards Ceremony.