Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute and New Waves! Institute Collaboration

New Waves! AYITI is pleased to partner with the Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute on a series of programs for New Waves! AYITI. The 2014 Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute is an intensive dance program that provides a comprehensive and high quality dance curriculum to participating students during the month of July. Learn more here:


 The New Waves! AYITI programme of events will include:

Thursday, 17 July 
10am to 11:30am
*for Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute students

Friday, 18 July 
4pm to 6pm
AFRO-HAITIAN with Jean Appolon
at Hotel Oloffson

Friday, 18 July 
TALK with Jean Appolon, Artistic Director and Emerante de Pradines
at Hotel Oloffson

In addition to being the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) founded in 2011, Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Appolon received his training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. at the Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Program (1995-1996, Boston, MA), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey American Ballet School, where he graduated with a B.A. from a joint degree program offered by The New School. Jean Appolon teaches dance at Boston Ballet, UMASS Boston and The Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA), among other locations. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. Appolon’s vision is to expand the summer course into a year-round dance program based in Port-au-Prince. Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian Contemporary dance company has performed both at major venues such as Boston’s Paramount Theater and John Hancock Hall, as well as in city parks and community spaces in free performances. JAE also has performed at many schools and colleges, including American University, Boston University, Dartmouth College, Dean College, Harvard University, Lesley College, Northeastern University and Wheaton College. JAE has been fortunate to share the stage with celebrities such as Danny Glover, Henry Louis Gates and Edwidge Danticat, and to collaborate with community partners such as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) and Central Square Theater. Jean Appolon has received funding support from The Kellogg Foundation, FOKAL, Haiti’s Ministry of Culture, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cambridge Arts Council, The Boston Foundation, Eastern Bank and many individual donors. Appolon is an Inductee of the Haitian Roundtable’s 1804 List of Haitian American Changemakers (2014) for his groundbreaking accomplishments in dance. Appolon received the 2013 Green Street Studios New Works Program Award. Also in 2013, Appolon was nominated for a Brother Thomas Fellowship (awarded by The Boston Foundation), and honored by The Art of Black Dance and Music.  Appolon has been the subject of feature articles and interviews in The Boston Globe, Dance Studio Life Magazine, World Vision Report. The Boston Haitian Reporter, Le Nouvelliste and NPR.

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New Waves! AYITI begins in 2 weeks!  Each year, participants share the incredible impact New Waves! has on their lives. So we’re very much looking forward to this exciting new journey in Jacmel and Port au Prince, Haiti.

We’re pleased to announce our funding campaign on Indiegogo. Funding for New Waves! 2014 - AYITI will help support participants, as well as continue our Scholarship Program so that local Haitian students can participate in the Institute for FREE!

Our fundraising campaign will also allow us to donate funds to Project St. Anne, a 501(c)(3) organization that hosts an annual event, the Feast of St. Anne. Inhabitants of Camp Perrin are provided with food and other much needed supplies. This year, New Waves! AYITI will partner with Project St. Anne to assist with this event on July 26, 2014.

With your support, we can provide our local and international participants with an amazing dance program, support a nonprofit organization in its aims to improve its community in Haiti, and contribute to the already rich cultural fabric of Haiti’s dance sector and local economy.  Help make New Waves! AYITI a success! Contribute here: Give Thanks! Let’s Dance!

Jean-René Delsoin joins New Waves! AYITI Faculty/COMPAGNIE DE DANSE Partnership


The Dance & Performance Institute is pleased to offer Contemporary Haitian Dance with Jean-René Delsoin for New Waves! AYITI, to be held 17 to 31 July in Jacmel and Port au Prince, Haiti. Jean-René Delsoin’s class fuses Haitian traditional dances and music with ideas and techniques from American modern and contemporary dance. In further partnership with the Dance & Performance Institute, Delsoin’s Centre et Compagnie de Danse, located at 75, Rue Clerveaux in Pétionville, Port au Prince will serve as one of the sites for New Waves! AYITI. 


October 2014 marks Dancer-Choreographer Jean-René Delsoin’s 27th year of service to dance performance and instruction in Haiti. Born in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Delsoin began dance studies in Haiti, followed by training at the National School Dance of Jamaica, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center among other prestigious institutions. His international dance credits include appearances with American choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff’s Jubilations!, and a two-year Latin American tour with Dominican singer Angela Carrasco. In 1987, Mr. Delsoin founded and co-directed Artcho Danse Repertoire and its affiliate school. Then in 2004, he ventured out on his own to form the Jean-René Delsoin Dance Center, as well as a company project now called the Compagnie de Danse Jean-René (COJRD). COJRD brings the richness of cultural expression and dances in Haiti to the world. It aims to bridge diverse communities worldwide by creating and producing dances of the highest level of artistry and versatility. For Mr. Delsoin, dance is as borderless as the dancing body is both particular and universal. Dance is accessible to all: its messages resonate in Haiti and in all reaches of the globe. Over fifty works by Mr. Delsoin and five choreographers from Haïti and abroad utilize modern, jazz and contemporary dance techniques alongside traditional Haitian dance. These dance performances explore quotidian practices and concerns in Haiti alongside universal themes. The fusion of techniques in COJRD champions the vision of a contemporary Haitian who nurtures his traditions and mores while living in the present and embracing what the future holds. In addition to monthly Dance Thursdays performances, and educational activities in Haiti, COJRD has represented Haiti at the the Biennale de la Danse Martinique and the World Expo in Shanghai, China in 2010. In October 2012, COJRD toured the United States for one month as part of Center Stage, an exchange program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more at

Let’s Dance!

FREE Workshops with Artist-in-Residence, Adia Whitaker & Ase Dance Theatre Collective

Join our current Artist-in-Residence, Adia Whitaker and Ase Dance Theatre Collective company member, Nia Austin  Edwards for a series of OPEN REHEARSALS and WORKSHOPS in Port of Spain, Trinidad. All workshops are free.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 from 10am to 2pm
Cascade Studios, Port of Spain

Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 7:30pm
Afro-Haitian Dance Workshop (Beginning/Intermediate Level)
Cascade Studios, Port of Spain
*with live drumming by Modupe Folasade Onilu

Friday, 27 June from 10am to 2pm
Cascade Studios, Port of Spain

Friday, 27 June 2014 at 7:30pm
Neo-Folkloric Dance Workshop w/guest artist, Ade Ola (Beginning/Intermediate Level)
Cascade Studios, Port of Spain
*with live drumming by Wasafoli TnT

My current artistic work focuses on “Neo-Folklore of the African Diaspora”. I’m interested in the concepts that shape tradition (myself and others being and having been the concepts that shape tradition). I’m dedicated to preserving the past, present, and future of the African presence in the “New World”. Since 2000, I’ve been presenting work that links modern dance, original vernacular movement, and traditional dance theater from the African Diaspora to conceptual ideas in the human experience. Blood memory, waves and resonance, public transportation, good fashion, Hip Hop culture, African spiritual tradition, house music, call and response, polyrhythm, water, landscape, The Blues, the swamp, Haitian folklore, the Hyphy movement, Africa and storytelling inspire me. Recently I’ve become fascinated with the ways in which natural disasters are reshaping folklore and mythology in the African Diaspora.

In all of my work, breaking new boundaries begins with breaking old ones. The battle between “the new” and “the old” is a never-ending conflict that continues to influence cultural identity and folklore throughout the world. Preservation of culture vs. risk taking is a challenge most contemporary folkloric artists have to negotiate. My work is the story of both.

Learn more about Adia Whitaker and Ase Dance Theatre Collective at To reach Adia during her residency, call 464-8926. Cascade Studio is located at Foncette and Cascade Road in Cascade, Port of Spain.  Email for more info.Let’s Dance!

Adia Whitaker & Ase Dance Theatre Collective Artist Residency: Ibo Legacy of Resistance in Trinidad

The Dance & Performance Institute welcomes Adia Whitaker and company member, Nia Austin Edwards as 2014 Artists-in-Residence. Ase Dance Theatre Collective will be in residence from 18 to 29 June to study the Ibo legacy of resistance in Trinidad & Tobago. The research is an entry point into retelling African stories of forced migration during the transatlantic slave trade. Ase is interested in the ways American slavery continues to impact the contemporary experiences of African people in the Diaspora. The company will use one of Adia’s written pieces (“The Great Shrinking”) as a springboard into their creative process. Welcome Ase Dance Theatre Collective. Let’s Dance!

imagePhoto by Jennifer Samuel.

Adia Tamar Whitaker, Artistic Director of Ase Dance Theatre Collective, has performed contemporary vernacular movement, modern and Afro-Haitian dance in the U.S. and abroad for 16 years. Adia completed a BA in Dance at San Francisco State University (2000), the Professional Division U.S. Independent Studies Program at The Ailey School (2001), was Choreoquest Resident Artist @ Restoration Dance Theater (2004), a Ford Foundation Special Initiative for Africa Grant Recipient (2004), an Urban Bush Women Apprentice (2005) and a Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography @ FSU Creative Entry Point Choreographic Fellow (2006). She is a former Artist-In-Residence of the counterPULSE Performing Diaspora (2009/2010), a recipient of the Theater Bay Area CA$H Grant and the Zellerbach Family Foundation Grant (2009). In 2011, Whitaker received an Isadora Duncan Award for her performance in “Ampey!” a choreopoem she wrote, directed, choreographed and costumed. Adia was a co-choreographer and touring cast member of “Scourge”, a choreopoem written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, featuring choreography by Rennie Harris and Stacey Printz. “Scourge” toured in the U.S. and abroad for two years. She has received grants from the The Puffin Foundation (2008), the Hip Hop Theater Festival (2008) and the Jerome Foundation (2008). She has been teaching Afro-Haitian Dance Workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad for the past 15 years.

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"Masked Enigmas" in Revista: the Harvard Review of Latin America

Saludos desde Puerto Rico!  I’m forwarding a PDF copy of the most recent issue of ReVista: the Harvard Review of Latin America. The issue is titled “Fiestas! Beyond Folklore”. I have a brief article and photos there on masks in Puerto Rico, but more to the point is the broad coverage of cultural performance throughout Latin America, including the Hispanic Caribbean and Haiti.  There are no restrictions on distribution of the magazine in PDF.

Let’s Dance!

Lowell Fiet
New Waves! AYITI Faculty

ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, published three times yearly, focuses on different themes related to Latin America, Latinos/as, and the Iberian peninsula. The magazine-length publication brings together different voices on each theme, highlighting the work of Harvard faculty, students, alumni, and Visiting Scholars. Visit Revista online.

Carnival Studies Mas Colloquium 2014 - University of the West Indies

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Makeda Thomas @ UWI’s Carnival Studies Mas Colloquium 2014. Here renowned Caribbean dancer/scholar Makeda Thomas discusses the value of the dancing body to Mas performance and the idea of Mas as performance art. This short but compact talk delightfully raises questions about the embodiment of the spirit and meaning in mas performance. Makeda is nothing less than a poetic light in this. - Kenwyn Murray, Mas: History, Meaning & Development.

Upload Audio - Download Music - Makeda Thomas @ UWI’s Carnival Studies Mas Colloquium 2014

"Mas Aesthetics:The Art of Mas" was hosted on April 10th 2014. The list of presenters also included Tony Hall, Marvin George, Robert Young, Patrick Roberts, Hazel Franco, Peter Samuel, Eustace Pierre, Arnaldo James,Trinidad Carnival Diary, Mark Lyndersay and Dr. Kevin Browne. the moderators were Kenwyn Crichlow, Louis Mc Williams and Dr. Marsha Pearce. The opening remarks were from Mr. Kenwyn Crichlow and the closing remarks were delivered by Dr.Jo-anne Tull. The Colloquium is a product of the Carnival studies Unit, Department of Creative and festival Arts, UWI. Photography by Warren Le Platte. Let’s Dance!

What’s new @ New Waves! 2014 - AYITI

We are 50 deep for New Waves! 2014 - the first ever to be held in Jacmel & Port-au-Prince, Haiti - and we’re looking forward to an incredible experience. New Waves! AYITI is a group of dance artists, scholars, educators, practitioners, and students: 28 international participants from the United States, Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, Kenya, and Germany; 12 local Haitian participants; and 10 New Waves! Faculty & Staff from around the globe. For two weeks, we’ll gather, dance and travel between Port-au-Prince (the political and commercial capital of Haiti) and Jacmel (the artistic capital of Haiti) to "deepen our considerations of how we move through the world as artists of the Caribbean diaspora and of how the freedom to do so is powered by our connections to one another”.

We are delighted that respected scholars Thomas DeFrantz and Joan Burroughs will be joining us. Dr. Thomas DeFrantz is a leading scholar of contemporary dance and an innovative creative artist and professor of dance and African and African-American Studies at Duke University. He is author of Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture. He also is the founder and artistic director of SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, multi-disciplinary arts collective. Dr. Joan Hamby Burroughs is a dance anthropologist who has studied and researched the dances of the African diaspora and in particular, Haitian ceremonial dance, for decades. She is a former dancer of Jean-Léon Destiné & Friends Performance Group.

Adeola Dewis. Photo by Catriona Abuneke.

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With special invitation from Kenwyn Murray of Mas: History, Meaning and Development, Institute Founding Director, Makeda Thomas, joined Peter Samuel (8x Carnival King), Hazel Franco (Coordinator of the Dance Programme at the Centre for Creative & Festival Arts), and Eustace Pierre (Paramin Blue Devil) on a Panel for the 2014 Carnival Studies Mas Colloquium ”Mas Aesthetics: Exploring the Art of Mas”. Held at the Centre for Language & Learning on Thursday, 10 April 2014, the proceedings will become part of the collections of the Festival Arts Library and the Alma Jordan Library at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Let’s Dance!

Haiti, huh?


Djenane St. Juste joins the New Waves! AYITI Faculty.

Yeah oui. 

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"We know and are confident in our knowledge of what the Institute represents. We are a community of lovers, of supporters and curious learners who engage culture and space with humility. With an aim to understand ourselves and each other better. An aim to be a more conscious, responsive citizen."

—  Christopher Walker, New Waves! FACULTY.

HAPPY CARNIVAL! Updates from the Dance & Performance Institute »

Institute Director, Makeda Thomas, featured on mater mea | celebrating motherhood | Issue no. 36: MAKEDA THOMAS


mater mea is a new digital magazine that provides content at the intersections of motherhood and career for black women. mater mea / Celebrating motherhood. Read the full story at Let’s Dance!

Dancing in the J'Ouvert space »

Zaidee Walker ‘Dances About Architecture’ - monthlong residency concludes with OPEN STUDIO SHOWING


Join us on Thursday, 13 February for a final OPEN STUDIO SHOWING with Artist-in-Residence, Zaidee Walker. Cascade Studio on Cascade Main Road and Foncette Road in Port of Spain. 6:30pm. Email for more info. Join us! Let’s Dance!

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