JAE operates in the U.S. (primarily in Boston and Cambridge, MA), and in Haiti. JAE currently has a small, high quality dance company based in Boston/Cambridge, which performs for dance festivals, community and school events, and private affairs. JAE also offers dance classes and workshops. JAE conducts an annual Summer Dance Institute in Haiti targeting young Haitians who have limited access to dance training. JAE is in the process of applying for 501c3 status and expanding its programming in Haiti to offer a year-round dance program to students who would otherwise have limited access to dance education. Presently, The Boston Dance Alliance is JAE’s fiscal sponsor.
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.
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 start working together.