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Starting from 7pm ET tonight you can scope a brand new installment of Washington Performing Arts’ / Mars Arts DC’s Dance In DC series; this time, the featured performance is a collaboration between Ashanté Green and Georgetown’s Chaia Tacos. In anticipation of the digital premiere, I caught up with Bettina Stern of Chaia Tacos to find out more about what we can expect.

“There are great visuals outside and inside Chaia, and I think it made for a really lovely spot for Ashanté to create her dance. And I think it makes sense when an arts organization and local shops partner up. It’s a cool, essential thing for building healthy businesses and communities.”

‘Healthy business’ certainly describes Chaia Tacos, where the plant-forward menu is very seasonally-focused, and ingredients are often sourced from local farming partners. While this model was strong from the get-go, Stern notes that the pandemic has only solidified their values as members of the community as a dining establishment.

“We’re treading water, but we’re staying afloat,” she says. “We’re here at the intersection of food, health and the environment; we’re dedicated to sustainability, and we’re looking to take Chaia for the long haul. Our mission is to tempt people to eat more vegetables, in season, grown locally, but forming relationships and partnerships with our community, whether it’s our team members or our neighborhoods or the people we serve or our farmer-producers, it’s the right thing to do. It’s all about building relationships.”

Chaia’s involvement with the Dance In DC series is a testament to relationship building across genres and platforms.

“The arts offer a really meaningful, valuable experience to all of us, and I loved bringing my back of house staff up to the second floor to watch Ashanté dancing. Just watching her dance down the street was really beautiful, and it fosters this lovely connectivity between all of us. We’re all living within this; arts and small businesses fuel the economy, our well-being, our energy levels, and that’s all promoting good health. Just like small businesses are essential, the arts are essential to a really vibrant and diverse community.”

And while it is certainly an innovative idea to partner up local businesses with local dancers to jointly convey their narratives, it makes complete and total sense.

“Most of us live in cities or have moved to cities because we want to be surrounded by ever-changing, growing communities. We want to be inspired. To see that happening within DC in this tough time that we’re all living through is just really amazing.”

Tune in tonight at 7pm ET to see what it’s all about.

Featured image via Washington Performing Arts