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DIASPORA NOW presents: Jessica St. Vil-Ulysse and KaNu Dance Theater

06.14.21

DIASPORA NOW presents: Jessica St. Vil-Ulysse and KaNu Dance Theater

Haiti Cultural Exchange’s programs are made possible in part through funding support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Thursday, July 1 at 6:30 pm

Plant Family Garden

Jessica St. Vil and KaNu Dance Theater present Haitian folkloric dance

Jessica St. Vil and KaNu Dance Theater present excerpts of KaNu choreographed by Jessica St. Vil; a fusion of traditional and contemporary Haitian dance. Choreography explores how we can collectively draw on our strengths to address inequity and injustice.

FREE community tickets will be available via Brooklyn Botanic Garden website 2 weeks prior to the event.

Check out the event page for more updates.

Jessica St. Vil-Ulysse

Jessica St. Vil is a first-generation Haitian American dancer, educator, and choreographer who grew up in Queens, NY. A graduate of Lehman College, Ms. St. Vil received her B.A. in Mass Communications and Dance. She continued her training on scholarship with the Alvin Ailey School’s professional division. She has worked with choreographers (Christopher Huggins, Martial Roumain, Marcea Daiter, and more); performed with several dance theater companies (Feet of Rhythm, Joan Peter’s Dance Company, and Vissi Dance Theater, and National Ballet Folkloric of Haiti). Jessica has collaborated with Unimix films to choreograph a short film (“One More Try”) and their award-winning feature film (Forever Yours). She was honored by the National Museum of Women and the Haitian Embassy in recognition of her choreographic work. Jessica is the artistic director of KaNu Dance Theater, a co-founder of Danse Xpressions ”Center for the Arts”. She is featured in Dance Portal, an ongoing exhibit providing instruction in traditional Haitian dance at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan with her work “Let’s Dance”. She recently choreographed an original dance drama, “Zatrap,” written by playwright Jean Claude Eugene. Currently, Jessica is on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey School’s Professional Division teaching Dunham-based techniques and is also a Teaching Artist with various Arts in Education programs throughout New York City. Miss St. Vil is currently enrolled as a 3rd-year certification candidate with the Institute for Dunham Technique and Certification.

 

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Rasin Lakay features Jessica St. Vil-Ulysse

06.10.21

Kay La Mande Wouze

When we, the Diaspora, look at our motherland, we look at this ongoing narrative of civil unrest, injustice, and inequality. Then we take a look at our lives here in the U.S. and realize we are battling some of those same issues. What are we to do? How can we change the narrative for ourselves personally, and for our people? I am creating a choreographic film to explore the source from which we draw to strengthen our efforts to battle discrimination and social injustice.

Click on the image below to watch Kay La Mande Wouze:

Screen Shot 2021-06-10 at 2.45.32 PM

 

Jessica St. Vil Ulysse

Jessica St. Vil is a first-generation Haitian American dancer, educator, and choreographer who grew up in Queens, NY. A graduate of Lehman College, Ms. St. Vil received her B.A. in Mass Communications and Dance. She continued her training on scholarship with the Alvin Ailey School’s professional division. She has worked with choreographers (Christopher Huggins, Martial Roumain, Marcea Daiter, and more); performed with several dance theater companies (Feet of Rhythm, Joan Peter’s Dance Company, and Vissi Dance Theater, and National Ballet Folkloric of Haiti). Jessica has collaborated with Unimix films to choreograph a short film (“One More Try”) and their award-winning feature film (Forever Yours). She was honored by the National Museum of Women and the Haitian Embassy in recognition of her choreographic work. Jessica is the artistic director of KaNu Dance Theater, a co-founder of Danse Xpressions ”Center for the Arts”. She is featured in Dance Portal, an ongoing exhibit providing instruction in traditional Haitian dance at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan with her work “Let’s Dance”. She recently choreographed an original dance drama, “Zatrap,” written by playwright Jean Claude Eugene. Currently, Jessica is on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey School’s Professional Division teaching Dunham-based techniques and is also a Teaching Artist with various Arts in Education programs throughout New York City. Miss St. Vil is currently enrolled as a 3rd-year certification candidate with the Institute for Dunham Technique and Certification.

 

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Rasin Lakay features Mikaelle Cartright

06.10.21

Ayiti, gade andedan

“Haiti, look inside” (Ayiti, gade andedan), is a talk/ musical presentation aimed at revisiting the many woes facing Haiti’s already vulnerable population and taking a look at what they, as a people, need at the most basic and deepest levels. I will call into question our past and present responses to the many hardships facing the population and make suggestions on how each individual can play a role in changing the narrative. I believe that by developing a knowledge of self, nurturing a connection to the planet, and embracing non-traditional ideas, Haiti can find a better way for all its children to not only survive, but thrive. It is time to look inside.

Click on the image below to watch Ayiti, gade adedan:

Screen Shot 2021-06-10 at 2.51.35 PM

 

Mikaelle Aimee Cartright is a Haitian American performing artist and fledgling philanthropist based in NYC. Her music ranges from soft rock to the Blues, Jazz, and Soul. In addition to singing, she plays guitar, writes music, embroiders, and crafts elaborate headpieces. Although music is her passion, her desire to help others is intensifying day by day as she finds herself expanding towards philanthropy.

She is currently in the research phase of creating a program she believes will greatly assist non-profit organizations with the implementation of early-childhood education programs, peer-to-peer mentorship, and eco-volunteerism programs.

 

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Lakou NOU 2020 Artists Culminating Event

06.08.21

Lakou NOU 2020 Artists Culminating Event

“The Lakou NOU residency has been a constant lesson in how to create with an open heart.” – Daveed Baptiste 2020-2021 Lakou NOU Artist

Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) announces the 2021 Lakou NOU culminating event from 4-7 pm on June 19th in Rogers Tilden Veronica Place Block Association Community Garden, rain or shine, at 2601-2603 Tilden Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226

Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU artist residency program provides artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work by connecting their skills and talents to historically underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. Lakou NOU artists develop collaborative community engagement projects that address neighborhood issues and highlight community assets. Artists in residence received individualized mentorship from HCX staff and interacted with each other as a cohort through discussion and support around topics relevant to Lakou NOU projects. HCX-facilitated additional professional development workshops with community activist Anthonine Pierre, Urban Bush Women, and artist Ariana Faye Allensworth.

The event showcases 2020-2021 artists in residence AnJu Hyppolite, Daveed Baptiste, and Guerdley Cajus’ exploration of what it means to be Haitian American, to belong to two cultures, two worlds, and to be Black in America, while also staying true to your heritage. It integrates performance and visual arts for an immersive experience.

Unlike traditional artmaking, where an artistic creation amplifies a sole artists’ perspective, Lakou NOU residents generated this work collaboratively with community members, weaving participants’ collective creativity into a rich and nuanced depiction of the struggles and triumphs of the Haitian American journey. “The power of this work lies partly in the high caliber of the artists’ craft, and partly in the shared authorship of its creation,” describes Lakou NOU Programs Coordinator, Emily Schiffer. “It was created over the past year and a half, with many pandemic-related adaptations. As a result, the work has an immediacy that reflects our times. It claims power in vulnerability and healing in human connection.”

The Rogers/Tilden/Veronica Place Garden is an apt location to showcase this work. The garden beautifies the community, holds space for community building, and prevents blight and unaffordable housing construction. The artwork is installed throughout the premises and is in conversation with the space it occupies.

The artists projects are as follows:

AnJu Hyppolite: (Canarsie) Project Unearth explores the multiplicities of identity within the Haitian-American experience. AnJu has spent the past year and a half in conversation with Haitian-American women. Her storytelling workshop produced a script describing moments of strength, power, vulnerability, learning/unlearning, and self-actualization. The women used their voices to stand in their truth, bravely and vulnerably, as they shared their experiences. The culminating event will feature a live performance of these stories, an immersive audio installation, and an interactive exercise with the event’s audience.

Daveed Baptiste: (East Flatbush) Through photography, printmaking, textile design, and kite making, Between Lands centers Haitian-American youths’ migration stories. On display at the culminating event are: Large portraits of graduating high school seniors that illustrate their dreams and imaginations in America; textiles with screen printed portraits, and handmade kites with printed designs from the participants in the workshops. Daveed worked closely with The Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project and  Rogers/Tilden/Veronica Place Garden to produce this work.

Guerdley Cajus: (Crown Heights) Body Poems confronts the ongoing erasure of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) voices by placing a lens on the untold stories of Haitian people. Guerdley spent her residency interviewing participants and leading workshops, in which individuals’ stories inspired movement that reclaims power and facilitates healing. Additionally, Guerdley danced at locations in Crown Heights where the brutalization of women took place to honor those women, cleanse those spaces, and claim Black female power. The culminating event features images from those performances and a dance video examining how erasure takes up space in the black body. Guerdley will also lead a movement workshop for the culminating event audience.

 

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