JAE Boston Company

Telling Haiti's story

Based in Boston, JAE is a Haitian contemporary dance company, directed by Jean Appolon. Combining Modern technique and Haitian folkloric dance, JAE brings a new artistic vernacular to its audiences. With its dynamic repertoire, JAE educates audiences about Haitian culture, traditions, history and current issues. JAE fulfills its mission to preserve Haitian folkloric culture while constantly pushing the art form forward to remain vital, accessible, inspiring and educational. JAE is comprised of dancers from diverse backgrounds, each of whom who are committed to JAE’s mission to use dance to advance Haitian culture. For more information or to book a performance, please click here.

Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian contemporary dance company has performed both at major venues in Boston and beyond, and in city parks and community spaces in free performances accessible to the public. JAE also has performed at many colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Lesley College and Wheaton College. JAE has been fortunate to share the stage with celebrities such as Danny Glover, Henry Louis Gates and Edwidge Danticat, and to collaborate with community partners such as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) and Central Square Theater.

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About Afro-Haitian Dance:

Afro-Haitian dance has greatly influenced the Modern dance world, largely through the research and exposure of Modern dance icon Katherine Dunham. Haiti captured Dunham’s heart in the 1930s, when she arrived as a dancer and anthropologist to study the country’s culture, history and, particularly, its dance. Dunham, in turn, captured the hearts of Haitians by making the dances of Haiti and the Caribbean internationally known. Now, the “folklorization” of Haitian dance allows both religious and social dances to travel and be performed in the secular context of the proscenium stage. Jean Appolon Expressions is not strictly a Haitian Folkloric company, but rather seeks to preserve Haitian folkloric dance and music through contemporary interpretations.

JAE has performed at the Boston Center for the Arts, the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Harlem School of the Arts, numerous community festivals and several universities, just to name a few. 

Repetoire:

  • LAKOU AYITI - Lakou Ayiti is an interdisciplinary production that meditates on the “lakou” and its loss in the Haitian imagination in a way that also speaks to a universal condition. Where can we find belonging? Where is home? Does it exist in the rhythms of Rara music and the undulating arms of Yanvalou? Learn more. 
  • ANGAJE - Angaje means "to engage" and is a meditation on different forms of social oppression, including violence against homosexuals - a growing problem in Haiti. Learn more
  • Anacaona - Anacoana is a story of strength and resilience of the different groups of people first brought to Haiti, inspired by the icon of early Haitian history. 
  • Ibo - The Haitian folkloric dance, Ibo, originated in the Igbo nation of Nigeria. Ibo expresses the pride of the Igbo people, who preferred death to enslavement. Ibo is especially relevant for Haitians who were the first enslaved people to stage a massive revolt, led by Toussaint Louverture in 1791. This slave rebellion resulted in Haiti being the first independent nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the first black republic in the world. The characteristic movement of this dance represents breaking the chains of slavery.