Archive for the ‘Youth Programs’ Category

April 14: Soccer for Harmony Adult Tournament


We’re going international! Let’s get together a Haitian team!


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Klas Kreyol Pou Ti Moun Session I




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Archive: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with dancer & choreographer Nadia Dieudonne


A Humble Dancer: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with Nadia Dieudonne
By Jessica Senat, HCX Outreach & Communications Intern

The calm before the storm was definitely present at Five Myles on the evening of October 26th. Though Sandy’s unexpected onslaught was still a few states away, many seemed to have taken extra precaution and stayed indoors.
But that didn’t stop fans of Nadia Dieudonne from coming to Haiti Cultural Exchange’s An n’ Pale event which featured the Haitian-American choreographer, dancer and teacher in an intimate discussion, giving the small group a sincere look into the world of a dancer.

Nadia began dancing at an early age. As the youngest of two, she was always determined to live out the dream that her older sister, also a dancer, never had the freedom to do. Nadia’s determination to become a performer strengthened after seeing a performance in Haiti as a young child, forgoing any of her parents’ wishes to become a nurse. “My sister is the oldest so she had to become the Nurse of the family, but they couldn’t get to me. As the younger child, I got away with a lot.”

It was clear Nadia wasn’t concerned with presenting herself as a flashy dance connoisseur, but as someone who, like every creative, is still evolving as an artist and individual- developing her dream one step at a time while making sure to keep her sense of culture and identity intact.

Nadia described how her mother enrolled her in anything and everything Haitian centered, making sure her daughter learned about her culture and heritage: “My mother made sure that everything I did was involved with my culture.”

Losing sense of who you are and where you came from is a battle many artists are all too familiar with and often lost along the way. In between screened clips of past performances, Nadia admitted to how her mother’s cultural drilling affected her whole creative outlook in not only presenting herself as a performer of Haitian descent but in encouraging Haitian youth to embrace this in themselves as well. She has taught dance classes for young girls, who, until this year, given the opportunity to participate in the West Indian Kiddie Parade.

Unfortunately, the youth extension of her studio, Feet of Rhythm Kids has been cut from her offerings.   Nadia cites the cause as a lack of funding and recalls the purchasing of fabric and the designing of the elaborate parade costumes -a venture she admitted to being fulfilling but costly: “I have so many things that I would like to do or continue doing, it’s just the problem of funding that prevents me from moving forward.”

I enjoyed and appreciated her humility and honesty. I know some visual and performing artists who aren’t the richest creative force out there, but they are never one to be so blunt about it (unless they’re the proud starving artist types, a whole different story.) It is comforting to know that there are artists who can be relatable while genuinely portraying their own unique talent and flair. Nadia brilliantly exhibited both these qualities with humor and humility.

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Archive: Krik? Krak! Storytelling & Songs wraps up the season at Tastes of Brooklyn


Krik:Krak! Storytelling & Songs wraps up the season at Tastes of Brooklyn
October 2012

On Saturday, October 20th, HCX hosted the last session of a four-part series of Krik:Krak! Storytelling and Songs at Brooklyn Borough Hall as part of Tastes of Brooklyn. Tastes of Brooklyn is a local food festival supporting Seeds in the Middle, the only local farmer’s market in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The unusually warm and sunny Fall afternoon had most of us in shorts or short sleeves. The plaza was busy, with families trying to juice the last bit of summer out of the city. Under a canopy tent, on a big blue rug in the center of the festival, chairs gathered around and both children and parents looked interested in something to entertain them while they drank the first early autumn batch of Buzzard Crest Vineyard grape juice (snuck over the boundary from the Borough Hall greenmarket) and savored delightful bites such as the bready, veggy, well-herbed goodness of rebollita (a tuscan bread soup which literally translated to “reboiled” prepared by Locanda Vini e Olii).

Storytelling was led by musician and performer Goussy Celestin with drumming by Jean Marie Brignol. Goussy wove Haitian folktales and songs as children and parents sang along as they munched on local Brooklyn restaurants’ gourmet tastes. Though the audience was very diverse and the tales unfamiliar to most, the stories brought some real laughs and sighs from the audience. “Bouki Dances the Kokioko” culled from collected folkstories in Diane Wolkstein’s The Magic Orange Tree made children giggle as Goussy mimicked the erratic and silly dance moves of Bouki trying to impress the king. Goussy also read Running the Road to ABC by Denize Lauture, a beautifully illustrated alphabetical tale that follows a group of children in the Haitian countryside and their crack-of-dawn encounters with creatures and characters on their run to school.

With the conclusion of Krik:Krak! Storytelling & Songs for the 2012 season comes a bit of sadness, but I want to challenge you, story-lovers. Tell your own tales, sing your own songs around a crisp evening fire and keep the Krik? Krak! sounding strong until next year!

Take a minute and read about the rest of this year’s Krik:Krak! Storytelling & Songs here.

We again would like to thank the Brooklyn Arts Council, Community Arts Fund for supporting our Krik: Krak! program.

-Kassandra Khalil
Program Coordinator, HCX

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