Dancing the Sacred Crossroads: Embodied Arts of Haiti (Oct. 6, 2023)
Friday October 6, 7pm
Ray Charles Performing Arts Center | Morehouse College
Free and Open to the Public.
Conference attendees are automatically registered for this event. If you are not attending the conference and are only interested in this event, please register for the event here.
Uniting the KOSANBA conference theme of Kalfou and the HSA theme of Ayiti se tè glise, this program presents the wisdom of the Haitian performing body as itself a crossroads and portal for transformation, navigation, and stability within in/stabilities. The evening centers embodied knowledge and the Haitian Kreyòl concept of kase (or “break”) in a reframing of our understandings of Haitian artistry and sacred ritual, Haiti and diaspora, crisis and resiliency. Internationally-known performers, scholars, and spiritual leaders consider the kase across multiple dimensions: dance, song, drumming, film, scholarly text, and discussion.
Master drummer Daniel Brevil grew up in Vodou tradition in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, accompanying his father to Vodou ceremonies, becoming an in-demand drummer in the process. He furthered his knowledge at Haiti’s prestigious Ecole Nationale des Arts on the way to becoming musical director to Haiti’s premiere Folkloric dance troupes and collaborating with a who’s who of Haitian and American artists. Since living in the United States, Brevil has become an accomplished drum teacher, artistic director, composer, arranger, and performer with Rara Tou Limen, We All Break, and at educational, arts, and community-based institutions around the country.
Dasha A. Chapman
Dasha A. Chapman is an interdisciplinary dancer-scholar whose research, teaching, curation, and performances engage a nexus of African diaspora and Caribbean theory, critical dance and performance studies, ethnography, and queer/gender studies. Dasha’s current monograph, Grounding Practice: Dancing Haiti on Tè Glise, centers the community-[re]building work of Haitian dancers following the 2010 earthquake. Her other writing appears in The Black Scholar, Journal of Haitian Studies, The Dancer-Citizen, Dance Chronicle, Theatre Journal, and in “Nou Mache Ansanm: Queer Haiti Performance and Affiliation,” a special issue of Women & Performance she co-edited with Erin Durban and Mario LaMothe. Dasha co-convenes the following transdisciplinary initiatives: Haitian Sexualities Working Group, Afro-Feminist Performance Routes, and Un/Commoning Pedagogies Collective. In her artistic work, Dasha collaboratively develops place-based performances with Haitian and American artists that activate histories, spaces, and dis/orientations. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies and an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University. Currently, Dasha is Assistant Professor of Dance Studies at Kennesaw State University, and previously taught at Davidson College, Five College Dance/Hampshire College, and Duke University.
Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire is an Houngan (Vodou priest) and Haitian Artist who strongly believes in the use of the performing arts to trigger social change. He has trained in African and Afro-Haitian performing techniques, as well as in classical ballet, modern and contemporary dance. Sebastien has worked with many artists internationally, and travels to teach, choreograph, and collaborate with artists throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and West Africa. He is the founder of the AfrikAyiti Project, and always wishes to promote Africa together with Haiti in sharing his culture wherever he teaches or performs. His commitment to cultural sustainability is mirrored in his work with his organization Tahomey, which employs and networks small scale cacao farmers in rural Haiti.
Linda Isabelle Francois Obas
Linda Isabelle Francois Obas is an internationally known Haitian Artist, Choreographer, Dancer, Performer. She started her professional career at Artcho in 1991. She learned from great dance professionals: Jeanguy Saintus, Jean René Delsoin, Gerard Florestal, Lena Blou, Bob Powers and Kathryn Sullivan to name a few. She has worked during her many years of professional experience on Classical techniques, Latin dance, jazz, traditional Haitian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-contemporary, modern, improvisation, and choreographic composition. Various audiences from foreign countries have appreciated the choreographies performed by Linda: Europe (Paris, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Upper Normandy), Japan (Tokyo, Nagano, Fukuyama), USA (New York, Ohio, Miami, Boston, Minnesota, Washington, Chicago) , The Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados), Africa(Benin).
Today, as CEO of Xpression Ayiti Linda’s signature resides in promoting the beauty of Haitian Culture in a contemporary style base on Haitian traditional dances. She works more deeply on the performing arts in general with other artists of great fame such as Yole Derose, Paula C. Pean, Erol Josue. In 2017, she laid foundations for a cultural center project, which aims to be a space for the exchange of professionals from different artistic fields: dance, singing, theater, visual arts, etc. Furthermore Linda started a new form of teaching called Thera-LakAy using the tools of Haitian Spirituality and Traditional Dances to yield toward a therapeutic and holistic approach making it a more immersive experiment for the mind, body and soul.
Dr. Yanique Hume
Dr. Yanique Hume is a multifaceted scholar, dancer and choreographer with extensive research expertise and specialization across the Americas and the African Diaspora. As a tenured academic from the Caribbean with extensive regional and international experience, she has secured expertise and contribution to the Caribbean intellectual tradition operating from the disciplines of cultural anthropology and performance studies. Dr. Hume’s research experience and teaching areas include: religious and performance cultures of the African diaspora, Caribbean thought, popular culture, migration and diasporic identities. As a multilingual researcher, her fieldwork experience in dance forms and sacred arts are centered in Caribbean and Latin America, especially Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Suriname, Brazil and Colombia. In applied research, her work has focused on the creative industries and cultural policy; migration and tourism; museological production and management. Dr. Hume is the co-editor of Caribbean Cultural Thought: From Plantation to Diaspora (2013); Caribbean Popular Culture: Power, Politics and Performance (2016); and Passages and Afterworlds: Anthropological Perspectives on Death in the Caribbean (2018). Dr. Hume is the recipient of grants from the Social Science Research Council, the International Development Research Centre, Ford Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. As a professional dancer and choreographer, she has worked with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, L’Acadco United Caribbean Dance Force, and Danza Caribe of Cuba. Her choreography draws on over 25 years of training in Afro-Caribbean dance with specializations in Haitian, Jamaican and Cuban movement vocabularies. Dr. Hume brings additional competencies in dance and theatre production management; grant writing, budget analysis, project/program evaluation and contingency planning; directing international cultural exchange projects across different linguistic territories within the Caribbean and Latin America. She is proficient in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Kreyol and Jamaican Patwa.