Véronèque Ignace is a dancer and public-health professional who wants to heal through the power of dance. This has been an important goal for her since working on her thesis at Williams College. In a powerful video introduction of her thesis, she explains that the experience of Black students studying in predominantly white institutions can be traumatic and should be taken into account in their academic performance. The result is a dissertation and choreography in which her dancers interact with the audience and make them face this issue with movement.
How does her experience as a dancer and academician at Williams differ from her role as a healer in East Flatbush? “In East Flatbush my work is not a show” she responds. In East Flatbush, Ignace created a platform and outlet for the youth to deal with emotions that are not always addressed. It was an opportunity for her to truly practice skills of dance therapy and respond to the youth’s reaction to violence in their neighborhood. “Some of them are afraid to leave their house” Ignace explained in an HCX Ann Pale.
The title to Veroneque’s project was “#Trending” and through it she encouraged the young Haitian-Americans and youth of East Flatbush to express their feelings about the trending deaths in the Black community – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, more recently Keith Scott… unfortunately, the list goes on. How not to feel overwhelmed? Dealing with the growing numbers is a challenge that Ignace was willing to tackle as the youth of East Flatbush grapple with the violence they witness in their community. Read the event recap here.