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Rose Lowery, Paducah Independent
Dancing with a purpose
Paducah Independent school board member Rose Lowery founded a dance troupe more than a quarter-century ago, but she said it’s much more than dance – it’s “a ministry.”
The young girls and women in the interdenominational Nia Dance Ministry and the male drummers – called Heroes – who sometimes accompany them, are active in the community.
“We work with the W.C. Young Community Center. We do things for the American Cancer Society. We go into nursing homes and visit with the people who don’t have family,” said Lowery, who works as a surgical assistant. “We take a big role in celebrating Kwanzaa, which is the festival that starts after Christmas and ends January 1.”
“Nia” is a Swahili word meaning purpose, and is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
“And our purpose is to give back. They have to be the best girls they can be, they have to be good examples when they’re out,” she said.
Lowery has no background in dance, but discovered liturgical movement in a workshop she attended while coordinating a national conference. She thought it might be something kids would like to do, and the group grew from that.
The Nias travel in Kentucky and to other states, doing African and contemporary dance to both Christian and secular music, performing at weddings, conferences, anniversary celebrations, festivals and more. The movements can incorporate American Sign Language and a dose of the dancers’ individual creativity.
“It has blessed me so much, probably much more than it has them,” said Lowery, who began her school board service in 2013.
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