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Santee Smith, Artist-in-Residence with Monique Mojica

The Dance & Performance Institute is pleased to host Artist-in Residence, Santee Smith along with collaborator Monique Mojica from 28 September to 18 October 2014. Santee Smith will present her work, “NeoIndigenA”, each evening of COCO Dance Festival, to be held Friday. 3 October to Sunday, 5 October at Queens Hall in Port of Spain. 

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Photography by David Hou. Artistic Direction by Santee Smith.

Santee Smith is a mother, performer, an award-winning producer and choreographer. She is from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations, Ontario. Her dance journey began early and included attending Canada’s National Ballet School. She holds Kinesiology and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and a M.A. in Dance from York University. In 1996 the opportunity to choreography ignited her creative force and she produced her first major choreographic work, Kaha:wi in 2004. In 2005, Santee founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, a vehicle for her artistic work. Her artistic work speaks about identity and humanity. Her performances and collaborations have occurred in Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and Indonesia. Discovering her dancing body is Santee’s life long inquiry. 

As an artist, I hold performance in a sacred space, as it permeates socio-cultural interactions in my Kahnyen’kehàka heritage. Artistically, I explore the intersection of Indigenous dance forms and content with newly created movement language and performance. My work maintains fundamental Onkwehonwe understanding of music/dance, body and role of artist. Music and dance are celebrations of Life, the body is a vessel for the spirit and the artist is a cultural bearer. From this perspective, my work speaks about identity, contributing to contemporary Indigenous voice. I view my work as cultural activism, an affirmation of Indigenous contemporary existence, culture and worldviews.”

Santee’s three-week residency will focus on the creative development of an International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project with collaborator, Monique Mojica. “Together, we will mine cultural material and through this archeological digging process, aim to uncover old ways of “knowing”, negotiate the lines between tradition and contemporary, feed the spirits of Indigenous women who have suffered over the generations of colonization and acknowledge Mother Earth. Through our research, we will push the boundaries of contemporary Indigenous performance content and form”. Smith’s residency will include the following public events:

  • Performance. ”NeoIndigenA”. Friday, 3 October. 6:30pm. COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
  • Master Class for COCO Dance Festival.  Saturday, 4 October.1:30pm to 3pm.  Onstage at Queens Hall
  • Performance. NeoIndigenA”. Saturday, 4 October. 7:30pm. COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
  • Performance. NeoIndigenA”. Sunday, 5 October.  6:30pm COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
  • OPEN STUDIO I. Monday, 6 October. 10am -2pm. Creative Development of “International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project”. Cascade Studios. Cascade, Port of Spain.
  • OPEN STUDIO II. Thursday, 9 October. 10am - 2pm. Creative Development of “International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project”. Cascade Studios. Cascade, Port of Spain.

Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock) is an actor/playwright and artist-scholar passionately dedicated to a theatrical practice as acts of healing, of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and of resistance. Spun directly from the family-web of Spiderwoman Theater, her first play “Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots” was produced in 1990. She is the co-editor, with Ric Knowles, of Staging Coyote’s Dream An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, vols. I & II. A co-founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble, Monique has taught Indigenous Theatre in theory, process and practice at the University of Illinois, the Institute of American Indian Arts and at McMaster University. She founded Chocolate Woman Collective in 2007 to develop the play “Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way” that premiered in June 2011 and was created by devising a dramaturgy specific to Guna cultural aesthetics, story narrative and literary structure. She was most recently seen on stage in the re-mount of “Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way” presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and in the role of Goneril in the NAC’s production Of “King Lear”. Upcoming projects include “Side Show Freaks” and “Circus Injuns” co-written with LeAnne Howe and directed by Michael Greyeyes. 

While in residency with Santee Smith, Mojica will lead the following public event:

  • Artist Talk. Wednesday, 1 October. 6:30pm. The Philosophical Society at Studio 66 in Barataria. 

Additional public offerings will be posted. To contact Santee during her residency in Trinidad, call the Institute at 321-1430. Visit Santee’s website here: http://w.kahawidance.org

Let’s Dance!

New Waves! AYITI RETROSPECTIVE #33: How do artists become themselves? Talk with Emerante de Pradines

THE highlight of my New Waves! AYITI experience, was an hourlong, private conversation with Emerante de Pradines a Haitian National Treasure; a pioneering singer, dancer and folklorist. I’d met her a week earlier on the day I arrived in Port au Prince, at the infamous Hotel Oloffson, which is owned by her son, Richard. We spoke of dance, of her friends from Trinidad, and while I was filled with deep respect and in awe of her grace, Emerante quickly developed a love affair with my 4-year old son. The love affair deepened with our 3-day absence to visit Jacmel; he called out “Emme! Emme!” and ran to her upon sight when we returned to PauP. I, too, looked forward to being with her more. Two evenings later, during the Opening Night Celebration of New Waves! AYITI at Hotel Oloffson, I walked away from a full plate of food to be fed in a whole other way. Emerante spoke to me as a woman, as a mother, as a dancer. And I listened as such. I don’t have notes or even remember every detail, but its imprint remains. 

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Makeda Thomas and Emerante de Pradines at Hotel Oloffson in Port au Prince, Haiti. 18 July 2014. 

The following day - Friday, 18 July 2014 - Emerante graciously accepted an invitation to speak with New Waves! AYITI. The room was charged not only be her presence, but by that of Dr. Joan Burroughs, who danced for Jean-Léon Destiné, whom Emerante describes as “a brother”.  There was an incredible amount of dance history in the space.

"You are the researcher. Every person you have an opportunity to watch, is an opportunity to learn something.”

Emerante de Pradines was born in 1928, the daughter of the legendary Haitian entertainer Auguste “Ti Candio” de Pradines. (Ti Candio’s 1920 song “Angelique O!” describes a domestic squabble but also was interpreted by the masses as a call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Haiti.)  Emerante de Pradines went on to become the first Haitian singer to sign a recording contract with a record company, with albums released internationally, including by Smithsonian Folkways in the United States.

- Listen to a recording of Emerante de Pradines singing“Soleil”,”Manman’m Voye’mpote Cafe”, “Song to Ogoun” and more here:  http://www.folkways.si.edu/creole-songs-of-haiti/caribbean-world/music/album/smithsonian

“He wants YOU to dance. Make the association of the body and the soul. It cannot be separated.”

Following a call to dance, and under the tutelage of Lina Mathon-Blanchet (founder of the first Haitian dance company that based its work on its own folk traditions) and René Bélance (renowned Haitian poet), Emerante developed what was to be her trademark: Haitian folkloric dancing with European and African influences. She earned a scholarship to study dance with Katherine Dunham in 1947. She taught the Dunham technique from 1950 to 1954, returned to Haiti where she used some of the tools and techniques she learned, and soon founded the Haitian Dance Troupe.

"I studied vodou dance for three years in Haiti before performing. I didn’t know it as ‘vodou’. I wanted the song. And the dance."

In 1954, a second grant from the Parapsychology Foundation took Emerante back to New York where she studied at the Martha Graham School and began work in anthropology at Columbia University. While studying there, Emerante met and married Richard M. Morse, a Latin-American scholar and writer from the United States. They had two children, Richard Auguste and Marise. Emerante de Pradines founded and led a dance school in New Haven, Connecticut for decades. From 1993, they ran L’Institut Haïtien de l’Amérique Latine et des Caraïbes. Emerante returned to Haiti and was named director of the Troupe folklorique nationale (National Folklore Troupe). She became one of the primary forces in the movement to foster Haitian culture in the country’s theaters, and was an active member and actress in the Société Nationale d’Art Dramatique, Haiti’s dramatic arts association.

“Know your own body.”

Emerante is now a widower, having lost her husband in 2001. Their son, Richard Morse,continues the de Pradines cultural legacy, fronting the band RAM with his wife, Lunise. And Emerante continues to love and give to dance - offering young and professional dancers insight from her well of knowledge and experience. New Waves! AYITI gives thanks for this truly remarkable experience and is forever better by the gift of her presence and sharing. 

"You cannot be a teacher if you cannot give. You cannot keep it. You MUST give it and know that some you give to, will take it."

Let’s Dance!

RESOURCES

Hotel Oloffson is located at Ave Christophe #60, Port au Prince, Haiti.
http://hoteloloffson.com/  Tel: 509-3-223-4000

Princeton Alumni Weekly “Into Haiti’s heart: Richard Morse ’79 finds his roots” By Dan Grech ’99Published in the December 8, 2010, issue
http://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2010/12/08/pages/0450/index.xml?page=2&

Christopher Walker has been a core New Waves! Faculty member since its beginning in 2011. 2014 saw his role grow to Program Director. The importance of his presence during New Waves! AYITI is written about in RETROSPECTIVE #14, "Fun, Hark Wuk & Acts of Faith".  Walker not only served as Program Director, he taught “Caribbean Dance’ for Jean Appolon’s Summer Dance Institute, and for Jean-Aurel Maurice’s Exadans students. Walker’s wealth of knowledge, incredible energy, and deep connection to the ideas, principles and goals of the New Waves! Institute is a gift. We give thanks! Let’s Dance!

Caribbean Dance with Christopher Walker

This course is a performance study of West Africa and the Diaspora.  It is geared at equipping students with an experiential knowledge of the effects of African culture on western dance performance, primarily the characteristics and principles retained in the Traditional/Folk dance cultures of the Caribbean.  The course will explore fundamental techniques for execution and performance of African, Jamaican and other Afro-derived Caribbean dances while fortifying the body through tested systems of movement to encourage efficient movement articulation in contemporary abstractions.

RESOURCES

Christopher Walker (Jamaica) is a dancer and choreographer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC). He is also the founder and artistic director of “VOICES” a dance company exploring the fusion of Caribbean dance and contemporary styles using the traditional stage, alternate spaces, and multimedia as a medium. With VOICES, he performed on university campuses in Western New York, and with the NDTC, Mr. Walker toured the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean, performing in several cities in those countries and region. His choreographies have been performed in Jamaica, New York and England, where he has presented solo work for the HIP Dance Festival. In addition, he taught Caribbean Dance Workshops in Jamaica, England, and the United States and conducted several successful artistic residencies at universities including Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges and Temple University, among others. Mr. Walker is a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) in Kingston, Jamaica, where he received awards for excellence in choreography and dance theatre production. He also holds Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees from the State University of New York, College at Brockport where he taught for more than two years. In 2004 Walker received the highest award in the Thayer Fellowship in the Arts Competition in New York, and a Certificate for Merit from the American Theatre Festival Association for his choreography of “Once on this Island” for Brockport’s Department of Theatre. He has since returned to Jamaica to work with the NDTC and his alma mater, the EMCVPA, where he serves as a consultant in the department of Folk and Traditional Studies. Most recently he received a nomination for “best choreography in a musical” for Jamaica’s Annual National Pantomime and continues to tour and conduct artistic residencies at schools and colleges throughout the United States.

New Waves! AYITI RETROSPECTIVE #31: Yonel Charles of GRAN LAKOU with Dasha Chapman

On Monday, July 21st, 2014, Dasha Chapman hosted an open conversation with Yonel Charles, the co-founder and director of Gran Lakou Folklorik – an LGBT-inclusive dance troupe based in Jacmel, Haiti. Yonel spoke about his mission with Gran Lakou as a group with a foundational stance of non-discrimination.  Yonel created Gran Lakou with Fritzner Henry in 2008 because there were no spaces or arts organizations in which gay, lesbian, or trans Haitians could work and create comfortably.  As such, Gran Lakou rehearsals provide a safe space for masisi (homosexual or effeminate males) and madivin (lesbians or masculine-presenting females) to dance, drum, and be together as who they are.  (NOTE: Masisi is most often slung as a derogatory term, but Yonel and his small but growing community have reversely appropriated the term and claim masisi with pride.

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From left to right: Dasha Chapman and Yonel Charles during talk on Gran Lakou for New Waves! AYITI. Photography by Maria Nunes. 

Through a relay of questions, answers, and explanations in English and Creole and English again, Yonel spoke with us (through and with me) about his work and mission with Gran Lakou performing dance as Haitians who practice being different, and how he struggles every day to keep this work alive.  Yonel is a well-known performer in town.  (He is called “Samba Yonel,” Samba an honorific indicating one’s talent in singing, orating and performing.)  Nevertheless, he and Gran Lakou members face daily homophobic aggressions and discrimination.  Yonel explained that while Vodou communities are welcoming to homosexuals and gender non-conforming people because everyone is there to serve the spirits, “Society is a hypocritical space.”  Access to education, jobs, and health services are not open to masisi in Haiti.  As a respite to the daily violences and aggressions, Yonel names his small home “Peace House” and it serves as a haven for masisi and madivin.  Peace House, Yonel explained, provides a place to stay, meals, and communal support for youth who have been thrown out of their homes and have nowhere to stay.  It is also a place where masisi can come and share ideas, tell jokes, listen to music, dance together, and feel comfortable.  Peace House—“yon ti chanm men yon gwo kote” (a small room but a big space)—demonstrates Yonel and Gran Lakou’s ability to enlarge life out of very confining social and material realities.  This is the principle of Gran Lakou and what “Gran Lakou” means:  a large or great lakou.  (Lakou is a communal living and working space, traditionally the family compound and/or family network).

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Dasha Chapman and Yonel Charles during talk on Gran Lakou for New Waves! AYITI. Photography by Maria Nunes.  

Gatherings…

Introducing Yonel and his work with the LGBT community to New Waves paved the way for a partnership to be formed between the two groups.  Gran Lakou attended dance classes, the beach day, performance workshops and other New Waves events throughout the week.  Many bonds were forged, and it became apparent that the group’s lakou was expanding once again.  At the end of the week, New Waves participants were invited to Peace House to celebrate Junior’s birthday.  A number of us, accompanied by Gran Lakou dancers, walked together from Hotel Florita through the dark streets of Jacmel, up one of the staircases to the main plaza.  We turned left on a dirt path just before the top of the stairs.  We started to hear the music of a party and shortly came upon some people sitting down off the side street outside a row of small rooms.  Bright light and laughter burst out of a room at the end.  Fritzner helped us down the steep slope one-by-one, toward the music.  I was one of the last to enter.  The small room was packed with smiling dancers looking fabulous—different colors, nations, languages, merging into a raucous dance party.  The vibrant blue walls were decorated with balloons, and a table was filled with food and cake.  The dancing got fierce.  Junior, the smiling birthday boy, arrived with an upside-down hat filled with cold drinks for everyone.  Peace House had enfolded yet another cohort of allies into the family, and all were gathered to share in the magic of dancing, together.

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From left toright: Dasha Chapman, Yonel Charles and New Waves! Founding Director, Makeda Thomas.

Gratitude…

In an impromptu staging of thanks during the final rankontre at Jean-Aurel’s EXADANS, New Waves! participant, Sylvia brought some of the party-goers up to form a circle of gratitude.  She offered a few words of reflection in English to the group, explaining that her understanding of Yonel’s work which began with our conversation on Monday was brought to life when she came to the party at Peace House and saw, felt and tasted the abundance and generosity Yonel’s queer family offered to her.  Sylvia then asked me to gather the Gran Lakou dancers to come and join us.  In my haste, I neglected to translate into Kreyòl all of Sylvia’s words of thanks.  However, I do believe the dancers ‘got’ what was going on when we brought them on stage, exchanged hugs, and took a collective bow.  A gesture of thanks for welcoming us, sharing with us, dancing with us. 

Scarcity and Abundance…

In a place like Haiti it is easy to latch on to the discourse of scarcity, lack, and precarity.  For centuries Haitians have made do with very little, this is true.  Their ability to transform nothing into so much is astounding.  As dancers we are sensitive to the potential that moving bodies have to manipulate and transform time, space, energy and even other bodies.  The security and good feeling provided by Gran Lakou’s care made us as visitors feel safe no matter where we went or what time it was (thank you Summer for the conversation about that).  The pride these masisi Haitians demonstrate rubbed off on our understanding of gender and sexuality in Haiti.  The activation of Peace House into a “gwo kote” was made vivid for us, with us.  Despite and through the stumbles of translation, the pleasure of collective dancing and care demonstrated by Yonel and Gran Lakou taught us that so much more is possible if we just gather together to really be in our bodies and dance.    

Let’s Dance!

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New Waves! AYITI outside Hotel Florita in Jacmel.

RESOURCES

Dasha Chapman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. Her dissertation, titled Dancing Haiti in the Break, examines four Haitian dance artists and the communities they sustain in both Haiti and its Diasporas of New York and Boston. This project investigates Haitian dance in these current times and spaces as proposing diverse models for considering the political and ethical dimensions of embodying contemporary Haiti. Other research interests include critical dance theory and dance ethnography, African diasporic performance practices, Haiti and Haitian Studies, theories of embodiment and the senses, and gender and sexuality studies. Chapman received her M.A. from New York University’s Draper Interdisciplinary Program for Humanities and Social Thought, and her B.A. from Boston University in Latin American Studies and Cultural Studies. She performs with Jesse Phillips-Fein in New York City, and is also a performer of Haitian, West African, and Afro-Cuban dance. Learn more about Dasha’s research interests here: http://performance.tisch.nyu.edu/object/dashachapman.html.

GRAN LAKOU is a LGBTQ~inclusive drum & dance troupe based in Jacmel, Haiti.  See Gran Lakou’s Facebook page here:https://www.facebook.com/granlakou.folklorike.

Studio Visit to the Pétionville home of Haitian artist, Jean-René Delsoin - Centre de Danse Jean-René Delsoin. Photographs by Lowell Fiet. 

Jean-René Delsoin hosted a Studio Visit (pictured above ) and offered a Master Class in Haitian Contemporary Dance at Ecole Nationale des Artes during New Waves! AYITI. 

RESOURCES

Jean-René Delsoin was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 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.

Centre et Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin is located at 75, Rue Clerveaux 6140 Pétionville Phone +(509) 2228-2871 / +(509) 3463-4367 Email jeanrenedelsoin@yahoo.fr Website http://www.jeanrenedelsoin.com

Ecole Nationale des Arts was founded in 1983 with programs in visual arts, music, theatre and dance. It is Haiti’s only public arts school. ENARTS is located at 266 rue Monseigneur Guilloux Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti Tel: +509 2245 5317, +509 3404 8756

"We are all one."

— New Waves! AYITI Faculty member, Catherine Denecy during New Waves! AYITI Rencontre.

Contemporary Performance and Experimental Dance: Staging a Recognizable Traditional with Thomas F. DeFrantz and Joan Burroughs on Monday, 21 July 2014 at Hotel Florita. 
Experimental choreography reaches into the spaces of 21st-century expression that value individual artists and her concerns, while Africanist aesthetics value art that recognizes the activities of the group and its well-being.  How do contemporary artists perform for both the ancestors and the future?  What does it mean to create live art performances that spring from an Africanist aesthetic landscape and speak to a future-leaning conception of 21st-century life?  How do we make experiences in dance that might be simultaneously recognizable and unprecedented? This discussion/workshop will offer examples of contemporary work that speaks within and without Africanist aesthetics.

RESOURCES

Born a Hoosier, Thomas F. DeFrantz is Professor of Dance at Duke University and Chair of the department of African and African American Studies.  He also acts as President of the Society of Dance History Scholars, an international organization that advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. His books include the edited volume Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002, winner of the CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Publication and the Errol Hill Award presented by the American Society for Theater Research) and Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture(Oxford University Press, 2004, winner of the de la Torre Bueno Prize for Outstanding Publication in Dance).  His most recent publication is an anthology, Black Performance Theory, co-edited with Anita Gonzalez (Duke University Press, 2014). A director and writer, his creative works include Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts, and Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk. He has taught at NYU, Stanford, Hampshire College, MIT, and Yale; has presented his research by invitation in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden; and performed in Botswana, France, India, Ireland, and South Africa. In 2012 working with Takiyah Nur Amin and Makeda Thomas among others, he established the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, which hosted the conference “Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance” in February, 2014 at Duke University. Current research imperatives include explorations of black social dance, and the development of live-processing interfaces for performance.  t.defrantz@duke.edu

Each year, the Institute engages local musicians in its programs. Through the Artist in Residence Program, the Carnival Performance Institute, and the New Waves! Institute, the artists of the Institute have worked with Master Drummers like Wayne “Lion” Osuna, Wayne Guerra, and Everald ‘Redman’ Watson, with Vaughn ToussaintMuhammad Muwakil, Sheena Richardsonthe Faculty musicians of the University of Trinidad & Tobago, Academy for Performing Arts including Frauke Lühning and Adam Walters, musicians of Wasafoli TnT, and Modupe Folasade Onilu.

New Waves! AYITI was blessed by the presence of three skilled drummers -  Fritzner Alexandre, Dimitri Etienne and Edgard Marc. These artists accompanied classes and performances, from the studio to the shores of Jacmel, working closely with the New Waves! Faculty to share knowledge on the drum traditions of Haiti and learn more on those from throughout the Caribbean. They moved with us to voodoo ceremonies and danced the Second Line through the streets of Jacmel. They were an integral part of the New Waves! AYITI community life and we GIVE THANKS!

LISTEN to a longer class recording of the New Waves! AYITI musicians in Jacmel, Haiti here: http://makedathomasinstitute.tumblr.com/post/94692995974/with-closed-eyes-i-am-there-again-music-by. Let’s Dance!

'Contemporary Dance” with New Waves! Founding Director, Makeda Thomas. All photos by Maria Nunes, New Waves! Photographer-in-Residence.

Makeda Thomas is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director; recipient of a 2013 Creative Capital Award and 2012 Young Maverick Award from COCO Dance Festival. Her 2008 solo, “FreshWater” was embedded into MIT’s “Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies” and toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Trinidad. Graça Machel, Former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique is the Honorary Patron of her internationally acclaimed 2005 work, “A Sense of Place”, which was also commissioned by 651 ARTS Black Dance: Tradition & Transformation. She has taught around the world and developed cultural projects as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. As a dancer, Thomas performed internationally with Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE, URBAN BUSH WOMEN, and Rennie Harris/ Puremovement. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and continues to create, teach, and perform internationally, while living in New York City & Port of Spain. Read FULL BIO

New Waves! AYITI RETROSPECTIVE #28: Bring de Power and Contemporary Dance

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Makeda Thomas demonstrates movement in ‘Contemporary Dance’ at Exadans in Jacmel, Haiti.

I engage with so many incredible artists, teachers and scholars through the Institute. New Waves! AYITi was particularly special for me because I did the most dancing of any other New Waves! I was able to take Haitian Folkloric  (twice!) with the masterful Jean Appolon, and with Dieufel Lamisere, and Haitian Contemporary with Jean Rene Delsoin at the Ecole Nacional des Artes. In these dance classes and each time I taught my own class in Contemporary Dance, and despite all the hard wuk that came with organizing New Waves! AYITI, I was happily reminded: This is for Dance! 

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In Haitian Folkloric class at FOSAJ in Jacmel, Haiti. 

On Tuesday, 22 July 2014, I presented “Bring de Power: Orisha Dance as a mobile technology of African Diasporic identity making” at the Hotel Florita in Jacmel.  I presented “Bring de Power” earlier this year at Duke University for “Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance”. ”Bring de Power” is a global transnational historical research project. The research navigates through West Africa, Western Europe, the United States, Venezuela, Grenada, St. Vincent, and Trinidad in seeking new critical understandings of history and identity in the African diaspora. The embodied aspects of that research explores how Orisha dance, which bears unique syncretisms of those distinct cultural histories, can be embedded into the improvisatory dance practices of contemporary dance artists and create new choreographic, movement, and performance processes. With new input from Haiti and its artists, the work has taken a deeper, more full resonance; a call to dance. 

Let’s Dance!

Makeda Thomas
Founding Director

RESOURCES

Makeda Thomas is the Founding Director of the New Waves! Institute. She is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director; recipient of a 2013 Creative Capital Award and 2012 Young Maverick Award from COCO Dance Festival. Her 2008 solo, “FreshWater” was embedded into MIT’s “Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies” and toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Trinidad. Graça Machel, Former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique is the Honorary Patron of her internationally acclaimed 2005 work, “A Sense of Place”, which was also commissioned by 651 ARTS Black Dance: Tradition & Transformation. She has taught around the world and developed cultural projects as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. As a dancer, Thomas performed internationally with Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE, URBAN BUSH WOMEN, and Rennie Harris/ Puremovement. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and continues to create, teach, and perform internationally, while living in New York City & Port of Spain. Read FULL BIO

http://makedathomas.org/

"Be honest. With yourself and with the movement."

Jean-Aurel Maurice during his class for New Waves! AYITI. July 2014.

"Performance" with New Waves! AYITI Faculty, Catherine Denecy. The photographs are of the class being offered at three specific locations. The first four are taken at the Hotel Oloffson in Port au Prince. The next two were taken at FOSAJ in Jacmel. The final four images are a site-specific manifestation of the class, near Exadans in Jacmel. Denecy also opened the “Body Processing/Creative Space” leading into the Rencontre/Bridging and TESTIMONY w/local EXADANS Community. All photographs by Maria Nunes, New Waves! Institute Photographer-in-Residence. 

Course Offering: Performance with Catherine Denecy

The word performance has many definitions, one being the action or process of performing a task or function. In this course, the task will be dance and the focus will be in the process leading to performance.  A performance is made of three elements : body, time and space. They will compose the root of our work. Performance is about the present and the power of now. We will develop together an awareness of the body through space, supporting our practice through one aspect of time : the present. This class is about the understanding and experimentation of the performance art form. It will adapt to students with some or no previous knowledge or experience in this field, the only prerequisite being commitment. We will identify the process that allows you to articulate your body and emotions in a given space, totally invested in the present. In our journey together we will look for the tools enabling you to meet the strong performer in you.

RESOURCES

Catherine Denecy (Guadeloupe/Performance) Born in Guadeloupe, where she started her professional training, Ca.Dé wins many competitions and awards in dance that reveal her talent as a dancer and choreographer. In 2004 she moves to New York City in 2004 to study at the Ailey School as the recipient of The Oprah Winfrey Foundation Scholarship. During her training, she studies with great figures of American modern dance such as Denise Jefferson, Peter London, Jacqueline Buglisi and Elizabeth Roxas, to name a few. 2005, she performs excerpts of Judith Jamison’s Divining. 2006 and 2007, Ca.Dé joins the Urban Bush Women and will be a permanent member for five seasons. It gives her the honor to premiere and perform works of Artistic Director and Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar in the USA, Europe, South America and West Africa. She also works with renowned choreographers such as Nora Chipaumire and Camille Brown. 2008 and 2009, she follows the Urban Bush Women to Senegal and collaborates with the choreographer Germaine Acogny and her company Jant-Bi for the creation of the piece “Scales of Memory” which, after a tour in the U.S. and Europe, is presented at the 3rd edition of the Festival des Arts Nègres (FESMAN) in Dakar, Senegal (December 2010). 2010, Ca.Dé is awarded the Grand Prix for Artistic Creation for the dance project created with set designer Soylé, “UnpeuBeaucoupAlafoliePasdutout” and co-produced by L’Artchipel, National Theater of Guadeloupe. 2011, Ca.Dé founds the BLISS Company to support her work and researches on Contemporary Caribbean Dance on the international scene. She continues her performances in “Visible” work of Jawole Zollar and Nora Chipaumire. 2012, performances of the show “Unpeubeaucoupalafoliepasdutout” at CMAC, National Theater of Martinique for the festival “Fort de Danses”, at L’Artchipel, in Guadeloupe for the Festival Danse Arc En Ciel, in French Guyana for the 8th edition of the Rencontres des Danses Métisses. During the year 2013, she performs her work internationally, in Jamaica, Dominica, Saint Lucia, England and Cuba. In July 2013 she has her first season in Paris, at Le Tarmac, for the Festival Outre Mer Veille.

FOSAJ (Fanal Otantik Sant D’A Jakmel ) is located at 5-7 Rue St. Anne, Jacmel, Haiti.  Email: fosajhaiti2003@hotmail.fr  Tel: 011 509 3642 93 73  Tel: 011 509 3449 21 88

New Waves! AYITI RETROSPECTIVE #25: Do you know Mr. John Boulay?

"John Boulay" is a traditional folk song from Trinidad & Tobago. It was sung spontaneously during New Waves! AYITI and was known by many participants from throughout the Caribbean Diaspora, including Haiti. The New Waves! DIGITAL RETROSPECTIVE continues with a big lil song. Let’s Dance!


Do you know Mr. John Boulay? - tim-bam
That man from Charlotteville - tim-bam
He owe me a dollar bill - tim bam
He owe me fuh someting - tim-bam
Ah never see such a thing before - tim-bam
Yuh ever see such a thing before? - tim-bam
He jump on de jackass back - tim-bam
Throw over he right foot - tim-bam
Throw over he left foot - tim-bam
He shake he waist - rigga-rigga-rigga-tim-bam
He shake he back - rigga-rigga-rigga-tim-bam
He shake he head - rigga-rigga-rigga-tim-bam

Rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga
Rigga-rigga-rigga-tim-bam
Rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga-rigga
Rigga-rigga-rigga-tim-bam

tim-bam tim-bam

On Wednesday, 23 July 2014, New Waves! travelled to Ti Mouillage in Jacmel, Haiti. The day included ”Caribbean Dance” class with New Waves! Faculty & Program Director, Christopher Walker, Artist in Residence, Michelle Murray’s “Ancestral Dance Movement” workshop, a RECALL of Artist in Residence, Adeola Dewis’ performance ritual, “Play Yuhself”, and the sharing of delicious local food.