CLEVELAND — This summer, there will be many events across Cleveland that will bring multiple cultures together.

One event celebrated African culture Saturday at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, the first of a series of events that will celebrate the diversity of the region.

What You Need To Know

  • World on Stage at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens unites cultures

  • The first event in the series celebrated African culture and music

  • One Akron teen dance team shared the story of how they got their start in middle school

Black Beanz is a dance team that performed at the event. Chomba Olega is Congolese, and he was one of the dancers. He said dancing to represent his culture means so much to him.

“It’s kind of like a cultural day and we are here to show people our culture and to people see what cultures we have in Africa,” he said.

The Black Beanz dance group comprises teenagers whose families are from Africa. They went to school together in Akron and were discovered three years ago by a substitute teacher who recognized their potential.

Tom Craine said it was an honor for him to discover such talented boys.

“I noticed even after the bell rang, they were playing music and dancing, you know, it’s like, guys, the bell rang, we got to start class, I know you are excited about all of this, so lets see after school what you are up to,” he said.

Eventually, they became a full-on travel dance team, now having the opportunity to represent their culture. It’s something Johnny Wu, the producer of the Cultural Gardens’ World on Stage events, said is a joy for him to see.

“It’s very exciting dance music and you feel like you want to dance with them too, but I don’t know how to dance,” he said.

But what Wu does know how to do is facilitate the togetherness of these events.

“It’s one of the days we celebrate diversity here in Cleveland, Ohio, and one way to celebrate that is to promote the cultural ethnic groups and today is specifically about Africa,” he said.

The series continues this summer as the Cultural Gardens will host many more events, including Middle East Day on July 22, Latin America Day on Aug. 12 and Asian Day on Sept. 9.