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 regular access to dance education. During the years that Appolon has directed this Institute, there have been no other comparable opportunities for young dancers in Haiti. Paying for dance classes is not possible for most young Haitians, and opportunities to study Haitian folkloric dance are limited inside of Haiti. Jean Appolon Expressions is presently seeking to expand the Summer Institute into a year-round program.
Students benefit from DANCE HAITI! in numerous ways. In addition to struggling to get an education and to help provide for their families, the daily challenges these students face are many. Dance heals body, mind and spirit and is also associated with the outcomes listed below:
- Studying folkloric dance develops a positive self and cultural identity
- Dance education benefits students’ self-esteem and self-image
- Dance education is healing and therapeutic, requiring a union of body and mind, and is a refuge from life’s difficulties where one can find an outlet through corporeal expression
- Dance education strengthens perseverance, which is essential to combating life’s challenges
- Intensive participation in the arts improves academic performance, school attendance and graduation rates
typical daily schedule
The Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute runs for four weeks, Monday – Friday, from 9:00 – 4:00pm at the Ecole Nationale des Artes in downtown Port-au-Prince. Please see below for a detailed daily schedule. An open audition is held in order to select approximately 50 participants for the Institute. The Institute culminates with a public performance.
9:00 – 10:00AM: Yoga
10:00 – 11:30AM: Modern technique (Dunham/Horton)
11:30 – 12:30AM: Lunch (at no cost to students)
12:30 – 2:00PM: Haitian traditional dance
2:00 – 4:00PM: Rehearse repertoire