Trauma, haiti, and the healing power of dance

Performances of Traka will begin in 2020.

Traka, meaning “Troubles” in Haitian Kreyol, will be an exploration into how dance, culture, and community are pathways to healing for victims of traumatic events. Following a traumatic event, individuals may use coping strategies such as emotionally processing with family, finding distraction through play or work, or seeking meaning and understanding through religion and community. Traka highlights ways that dance and culture can support healing on both individual and community levels.

Jean Appolon has overcome deep loss by focusing intently on his art and through teaching others. Preserving Haiti’s cultural legacy through dance and celebrating Haitian dance and culture as a pathway to healing has defined Appolon’s artistic mission. Through Traka, Appolon will explore these values and the use of dance and community as a coping resource for trauma survivors. During a time of such division and discord, especially around immigrant communities, Traka is exceedingly timely. JAE is committed to elevating immigrants’ voices and stories.

Traka Interview

On stage at Banboche 2018, Danielle Legros Georges (Professor of Creative Writing at Lesley University and Poet Laureate of Boston, 2015-2019) interviewed Jean about TRAKA. This interview was published in the Journal of Haitian Studies in 2018.

Read the full interview here.

DLG, describing the word TRAKA: “anxiety,” “hardship,” “trouble,” “tribulation,” “nuisance,” “worry,” “difficulty,” “problem,” “dilemma,” “challenge,” “upheaval,” “messy situation”

JA: My mission as a choreographer is to expose. Expose, for example, the issues that we deal with every day as a people and as a nation. Now, living in the United States as a Haitian, my work becomes triple—considering Haiti, America, and the people themselves.

Gallery photography by Wayne Lake. Header photograph by Matt McKay.

For booking information, please contact