RASIN GINEN: THE AFRICAN ROOTS

Ayiti Fasafas and Center for Traditional Music and Dance in partnership with El Museo del Barrio present:

A New York Haitian Dance Showcase honoring Jean-Léon Destiné

Saturday, July 14th, 7:30PM
El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th
New York City
$9 suggested donation at door

Center for Traditional Music and Dance and Ayiti Fasafas in partnership with El
Museo del Barrio present Rasin Ginen (The African Roots), a showcase of some of
New York’s finest Haitian traditional dance groups, coming together to water the
ancestral roots of Haitian traditional dance, with a special tribute to Haitian
dance educator and elder, Jean-Léon Destiné.  Five companies will perform at El
Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street in Manhattan, on Saturday,
July 14, at 7:30 p.m. The program is presented in conjunction with El Museo’s “CARIBBEAN:
Crossroads of the World” exhibition, on display through January 6, 2013 and is the
third and final event in the “Louvri Baryè:  Opening the Gates” Haitian concert
series, developed by Ayiti Fasafas and Center for Traditional Music and Dance.

The traditional dances of Haiti trace their roots to West and West Central Africa.
Having survived the Middle Passage, they flourished following Haitian independence
in 1804. In the twentieth century a black consciousness movement took the dances
to the stage. Jean-Léon Destiné, born in St. Marc, Haiti, pioneered this movement
and was instrumental in the creation of the National Folkloric Troupe in 1949. The
companies that will make up the program at El Museo del Barrio carry the spirit
and vision of pioneers like Mr. Destiné into the twenty-first century, and into
the Haitian diaspora in New York. Dance anthropologist Dr. Joan Burroughs, co-author
of a forthcoming biography of Mr. Destiné, will present highlights from his career,
and the artists will join Ms. Burroughs in presenting Mr. Destiné with an award
for his contribution to Haitian art and culture.  The evening will be emceed by
New York City Haitian radio host and community activist, Lionel Legros.

The following youtube video shows one of the participating dance companies, KANu Dance Theater,
in performance.

The five participating companies display the breadth and the depth of the repertoire.
Feet of Rhythm, founded by Nadia Dieudonné in 1994, has performed in both the United
States and abroad, and many know the company for its outreach to young people in
communities throughout New York City. Haitian American Dance Theater founder Julio
Jean studied at the National School of the Arts in his native Port-au-Prince and
taught Haitian Dance at The Katherine Dunham Institute. He currently teaches at
Cumbe in Brooklyn and Ripley-Grier in Manhattan, and for over 20 years has performed
and taught in theaters and universities across the United States. KaNu Dance Theater,
established in 2003 and directed by Jessica St. Vil, blends contemporary, modern,
and Afro-Caribbean dance to promote change and peace in Haiti and around the world;
the company’s name derives from “Ka Pa Nou,” Haitian Kreyòl for “Our Situation.”
Kongo, a Brooklyn-based group of Haitian artists, musicians, and activists organized
in 1995 by Sanba lead vocalist Oneza Lafontant, weaves together drumming, guitar,
percussion, dance, and storytelling, working from the conviction that the artist
must represent the community and engage it in the cause of positive change.  Peniel
Guerrier, a dancer, choreographer, and musician, began his dance career in Haiti
with Tamboula D’Ayiti, the National Theater, and Bacoulou. Experienced in Haitian,
West African, and Brazilian dance, Mr. Guerrier aims to represent Haitian culture
worldwide through the language of dance.

Thanks to Eileen Condon for sharing the information.