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Short School Students Learn Haitian Dance and Folktales with Djenane St. Juste

Djenane Sainte-Juste, assisted by members of her Afoutayi Company, taught music, dance and storytelling across four grades at Short School, with a unifying theme of the unique cultural traditions of Haiti. The program began with a performance by Afoutayi and culminated with student performances at each grade level.

This was students’ second year working with Djenane. They reviewed dance and percussion from last year, and used these as a scaffold for more advanced dance and rhythms. Each grade learned the music and dance of a different Haitian folk dance. In their final performance, every student wore a colorful, authentic costume, most made by Djenane’s mother Florencia Pierre (affectionately known to the students as Fofo).

This was a farewell performance for Djenane, who has already moved to Minneapolis, MN. We miss Djenane and Fofo and Hassan already!

This program is generously funded in part by the California Arts Council, Artists in Schools program. We are also grateful for the wonderful photography provided by Ron Greene Photography.

 

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Travel the World, Lakansyel!

DjenaneInGalleryOn Friday night we gathered here at Youth in Arts to celebrate the opening of the 5th Annual Haitian Dance, Music & Arts Festival.  YIA Mentor Artist Djenane Saint Juste and her ensemble Afoutayi are joining with stellar artists visiting from Haiti for this beautiful celebration of Haitian culture.  We joined in song, dance and celebration in Haitian style.  It was a unique opportunity to participate in cultural traditions with our visiting guests, but you can still catch up with them during the remainder of their festival!

The Festival will feature master dance classes, a Haitian market, food, lectures, and Lakansyel’s premiere, which will run October 10th, 11th & 12th, 2014 at Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco & Marinwood community Center in San Rafael.  Find more information on Afoutayi’s Facebook page.

During the festival Lakansyel will engage the audience through dance, percussion, song, and storytelling and highlight the beautiful mosaic that is Haitian tradition and pay homage to all of the peoples that contributed to the formation of today’s Haiti.

Your school can also travel to Haiti or anywhere in the world through our Travel the World program which includes assemblies, workshops, residencies and Passport events!

Ayibobo!

Special thanks to photographer Ron Greene for capturing the fun evening.

Upcoming events for Lakansyel:
Dance Mission Theater (http://www.dancemission.com/)
3316 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

1)     Friday October 10th
·         8pm show (cost $20 adv. $25 door)

2)      Saturday October 11th
·         4pm-6pm Master Haitian Dance class (cost $15)
·         8pm show (cost $20 adv. $25 door)

Marinwood Community Center (http://www.marinwood.org/)
775 Miller Creek Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

1)     Sunday October 12th
·         3pm-8pm Family event ( Cost $5/ Children under 6, Free)
·         Activity: Dance-music classes & Performance/ Haitian Market/ Games/ Storytelling.

Kanaval at Short School

Parade with Fofo

Parading with Florencia “Fofo” Pierre

 

Short School parents and students celebrated the culmination of their Haitian Music & Dance program with a schoolwide performance, parade and dance party on Tuesday, March 18th. For sixteen weeks, students in grades K-2 have been working with Mentor Artists Djenane St. Juste, Florencia “Fofo” Pierre and Jeff Pierre to learn music and dances associated with the celebration of Kanaval or Carnaval, a major midwinter celebration in the Caribbean. Students have also learned words and expressions in both French and Haitian Kreyòl languages. On this beautiful Tuesday morning, the students were able to share music and dances they had learned with over 70 parents, teachers and siblings!

Jeff Pierre leads drum students

Jeff Pierre with Short School drummers

 

Djenane introduced a dance game the children had learned in which they dance without touching a line that represents danger or “sobo”. As the children danced down the line faster and faster without touching it, parents in the audience helped with a call and response from the song Ti Gason (Little Boy) in which the dancers are told piga’w pile sobo, male va rive’w (roughly: “don’t step on danger or you will have trouble”).

Kids dance on the line

Don’t step on the line!

 

A few parents and siblings even came up to try the dance on their own!

Parents try the line dance

Parents, teachers and siblings try to dance “safely”

 

Next came a grand parade led by Fofo Pierre with students performing steps they have learned in their classes and teachers and some parents following behind as the “back line”. The grand finish was a circle dance with each class taking a turn dancing in the middle, followed by dancing parents and all the teachers!

Short Teachers Dance!

Short School teachers dance in the circle

 

It was a fun event with a great parent turn-out. Thanks to all the students, staff and families of Short School, to Djenane, Fofo and Jeff for their terrific work with the students and to the California Arts Council’s Artists in Schools program for its support of this project.images

Djenane Pepe and Fofo

Djenane St. Juste, Principal Pepe Gonzalez and Fofo Pierre