Aquarium of the Pacific’s annual Festival of Human Abilities carries on with with free, virtual celebration

The 18th Annual Festival of Human Abilities celebration put on by the Aquarium of the Pacific is carrying on its tradition of showcasing the talents of artists expressing their creative spirit through dance, art, song and sign language virtually this year, on Saturday, Jan. 30.

Much of the incredible talent seen from last year’s festival will be returning to perform, including Auti Angel, a dancer and pioneer in the world of wheelchair hip-hop who helped usher the art onto the world stage, blind classical guitarist and singer Dat Nguyen, and our own local heroes the Homeland Crew, who have put together a special breakdancing and popping routine.

Zendrea Mitchell will open the virtual show with a musical performance in American Sign Language followed by a performance from Straight Up Abilities, a special needs and disabilities dance company led by Robin Olive.

Local pop fusion ensemble band, Per Se will play a soul-pop set and the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, a world-renowned hospital that provides specialty rehabilitative care to individuals who have suffered from spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological disorders, will showcase a mixed-media art demonstration.

Every year the festival includes a special scuba diving demonstration and this year both the Executive Director, Tinamarie Hernandez, and Founder, Jim Elliott, of Diveheart, the Magic of Scuba Therapy: “Imagine the Possibilities,” will lead a demonstration showing people with disabilities the therapeutic and recreational benefits of being in water. Diveheart is a non-profit using zero gravity, adaptive scuba and scuba therapy as a way to build confidence, independence and self-esteem in children, veterans and others with disabilities.

The event will culminate with an awards ceremony honoring Los Angeles’s Infinite Flow, an all-inclusive dance company comprised of dancers with and without disabilities, with the annual Glenn McIntyre Heritage Award.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 and is free to watch; No RSVP required. You can tune in watch the celebration on the Aquarium of the Pacific’s website, click here.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.