Jean Appolon Expressions is home to Boston’s premiere Haitian Contemporary dance company, founded in 2011. JAE’s other major point of focus is in Haiti where The Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute happens each July, providing a free, high quality and intensive dance program to 50 young Haitian dancers.
JAE will contribute to a positive rebranding of Haiti and strengthen the self-identity, well-being and cultural pride of the Haitian people by restoring Haitian folkloric dance as one of the world’s precious cultural resources. JAE will create model programs in Haiti that use dance to create cultural, social and economic development for communities living in poverty, and raise a cohort of young people who develop to their fullest potential as contributing members of their society.
To preserve and advance Haitian folkloric dance, and to support the healthy growth and development of young Haitians–particularly those with the talent and the dedication to dance but who lack financial means–through a high quality dance education program.
1) To maintain and expand a Boston-based dance company directed by Jean Appolon.
2) To provide a high-quality, year-round dance program, which includes wrap-around services in academic tutoring and health education, for young people living in Port-au-Prince, particularly those with the talent and the dedication to dance but who lack financial means.
JAE anticipates approval of its 501(c)3 non-profit organizational status in January 2014, and in the meantime The Boston Dance Alliance is JAE’s fiscal sponsor. JAE is led by its co-founders, Jean Appolon and Stephanie Scherpf, and JAE’s Board of Directors.
Since his graduation from some of the best dance schools in the U.S., Haitian-born Jean Appolon has continued to hone his craft as a popular master teacher and choreographer, while preserving the folkloric dances of his homeland through ongoing classes and workshops, and in the choreography he creates for his own dance company.
Beginning in 2006, Jean Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual Summer Dance Institute in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have the financial means to access dance training. Each summer, the Jean Appolon Summer Institute has served approximately 50 young Haitian dancers. During the years that Mr. Appolon has directed this Institute, there have been no other comparable opportunities for these young dancers in Haiti.
In 2008, JAE Executive Director, Stephanie Scherpf, relocated to Boston where she began to take Jean Appolon’s Afro-Haitian and Modern dance classes. With a professional career in “arts for social change” programs, Ms. Scherpf saw the concept of “arts for social change” brought to life in a powerful and transformative way through Mr. Appolon’s classes.
Mr. Appolon’s dream has always been to develop a free performing arts school in Haiti. Ms. Scherpf has long been passionate about establishing an arts center in the developing world. Their compatibility and common aspirations led them to co-found JAE together.