Universal Temple of the Arts’ signature musical production, ‘Love in Bloom,’ is back, and it’s free

STATEN ISLAND, NY — Members of the Universal Temple of the Arts will reprise “Love in Bloom,” a dance performance, music, visual art and poetry, Wednesday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. on the Northeast Meadow at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Livingston.

The evening, geared for those looking for a night out under the stars or in sharing a romantic evening for two, explores the “breadth, depth, and power of love,” conveying love as the supreme emotion, a healing power, and the most valuable gift toward healing families and communities — a guiding principle of the late Sajda Mussawir Ladner,” Rashida Ladner Seward, Ladner’s daughter.

Sajda Musawwir Ladner performed at the Universal Temple of the Arts Staten Island Jazz Festival 31, held at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall, several years back. (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez)Staten Island Advance

Sajda Mussawir Ladner was one of the original founders of Universal Temple of the Arts and its artistic director, who died last August. She also was the playwright — with creative input from poet, Lasa Sekou — of the production.

Staten Island-based dancers Rosita Roldan and Nubia Braithwaite, from the inaugural production in the 1970s, are performing this year.

Love in Bloom

A dancer in a scene from “Love in Bloom” several years ago. (Courtesy/Willie Chu/WINK Photography)Staten Island Advance

Says Braithwaite, “I am so honored to perform the role that Sajda created for herself; It’s one of the most spiritual moments in the show.”

Popular Staten Island JAZZ Festival celebrity vocalist Antoinette Montague joins the cast of notable jazz musicians, vocalists, choreographers, poets, and creators to perform “Cokika,” an original song by the esteemed Betty Shirley.

Love in Bloom

A scene from the production of “Love in Bloom” several years ago. (Courtesy/Willie Chu/WINK Photography)Staten Island Advance

Many cast and crew members are recognizable from UTA’s annual Jazz Festivals and the arts and culture community including Antoinette Montague, Leopoldo F. Fleming, Dorian Lake, Jeannine Otis, Kris Kaiser, Professor Charles Thomas, and others.

The rain date is Thursday, June 30. For free tickets, RSVP via Eventbrite: https://utaloveinbloom2022.eventbrite.com.


Universal Temple of the Arts (UTA) is a not-for-profit arts and cultural community-based organization, that works with seasoned professional artists to provide instruction in and exposure to, an eclectic blend of fine and performing arts.

A number of free programs serve community members, particularly underserved children, by providing hands-on creative artistic outlets aimed at uplifting, enlightening, inspiring, and facilitating unique learning and enrichment opportunities that only the arts can foster.

For further information about their work in the community, kindly visit www.utasi.org.

UTA’s Love in Bloom program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council. Additional support has been provided by FerryAds.com

Universal Temple of the Arts is a proud Coalition of Theaters of Color funded non-profit organization.

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