Spirit of Uganda

An exuberant celebration of East African cultures arrives at the Des Moines Civic Center for a family-friendly music and dance performance by Spirit of Uganda. With a cast of 22 Ugandan children and teenagers who are orphans or otherwise vulnerable, the show also offers a powerful testament to the human spirit.

AIDS, poverty and civil war have left more than 2.5 million Ugandan young people parentless, and as a result, 70 percent of the country’s population is age 24 or younger. Despite the tragedies they’ve endured (or, maybe, because of them), the troupe’s high-energy drumming, dancing and call-and-response vocals have delighted and inspired audiences across the United States. “Their adorability quotient is high, but it’s matched by their talent,” The New Yorker magazine wrote in 2012. That followed its 2011 review reporting that “the audience hollered with joy.”

Des Moines Performing Arts presents the one-hour show, targeted to ages 4 to 10, at 1 p.m. Feb. 8 as part of the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series. Don’t miss the pre-show Discovery Party, at noon in the Civic Center lobby, with crafts, music, demonstrations and other fun. The party is free for ticketholders. Tickets: $10 at the Civic Center ticket office, Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone (800-745-3000) and online.

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