Dance Haiti!

The magic that happens at Dance Haiti! is too good to keep to ourselves. Here's what happened this year. 

2014 Report Back


The 2014 Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute was hosted by the Hotel Oloffson, located in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from June 28 – July 25, 2014. On June 28th an open audition was held to select 60 young Haitian dancers to participate in a free, intensive and high quality dance education based on a comprehensive curriculum (click here for video highlights from the audition). The Institute concluded with a Final Performance that honored Michèle Pierre-Louis, President of FOKAL and Erol Josué, Artist and Director of Haiti’s Office of Ethnology. The students performed six original choreographies by Jean Appolon for an audience that included their family members and friends, as well as Haitian and foreign dignitaries (please click here for highlights from the Final Performance).

The 2014 Institute was characterized by an extremely positive ‘esprit de corps’ on the part of the participating students as well as the staff. Each day students were focused and on time, some traveling 4+ hours round trip to participate. The Institute exemplified JAE’s philosophy of ‘by working together we can achieve something great.’ The Final Performance was indeed a great achievement as was the distribution of 58 certificates that documented the student’s successful completion of the intensive dance course. The Institute’s impact was felt at many levels, including the students’ artistic and technical accomplishments; the students’ social and personal growth; and the civic and cultural pride that comes with teaching and showcasing Haitian folkloric dance, music and culture as a precious resource.

The Institute was the subject of great interest both for Haitians and foreigners, and was observed by many, including visitors from the Haitian orphanage House of Joy, a group from The Haiti Fund at The Boston Foundation, a group from The National Performance Network from the U.S., and The New Waves! Dance and Performance Institute.

The demographics of the students who participated in the 2014 Institute were as follows:

  • 61 students enrolled
  • Ages ranged from 11 – 33
  • Average student age was 21
  • 45 girls and 16 boys participated
  • 41% had participated in the Institute in a prior year(s)
  • 58 students received completion certificates

Each weekday, from Monday – Friday, the students participated in the following:

9 – 10am: Yoga
10 – 11:30am: Modern dance
11:30 – 12:30pm: Lunch
12:30 – 2pm: Haitian folkloric dance (click here for video highlights) 
2 – 4pm: Repertoire (click here for highlights of the creation process of Aranye and Ibo)

The students participated in master classes and lectures with the following special guests (click here for a video collage):

Pierre Ramses, Master Teacher (Haitian dance)

  • Erol Josué, Artist and Director of Haiti’s Office of Ethnology (click here for video highlights of the lecture)
  • Makeda Thomas, Choreographer & Master Teacher (Contemporary dance)
  • Chris Walker, Choreographer & Master Teacher (Carribean dance)
  • Anya Smolnikova, Visual Artist (Set design)

Some numerical outcomes of the Institute are as follows:

  • 120 free hours of high quality yoga and dance instruction were provided
  • 1400 free lunches were provided
  • 9+ Haitian staff were employed: 1 carpenter (+assistants), 5 percussionists, 1 Coordinator, 1 Media Liaison, 2 logistics assistants
  • 200 guests attended the Final Performance, including the students’ families and friends, as well as leaders from the cultural, non-profit and government sectors, and from foreign embassies
  • Total cost of the Institute = $30,000
  • “Per student cost” = $25 per day

JAE held a Press Conference on July 17, 2014 at Hotel Oloffson, and the Institute was covered in the following Haitian media outlets:

  • Télé Ginen
  • Télé Metropole
  • Télé Super Star
  • Feature article in Le Nouvelliste

The 2014 Jean Appolon Summer DanceInstitute was made possible through the support of many generous individual donors from the U.S. and elsewhere, and with support from Hotel Oloffson, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, FOKAL, Choreart, and Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Office of Ethnology.

Other reports

Summer 2015 Report Back

Summer 2013 Report Back

Summer 2012 Report Back