On 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.
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.
Mentor Artist Djenane Saint Juste spent the Spring teaching students at Laurel Dell and Short Schools Carnival dances of the Caribbean. Each grade learned a dance, and the story behind the dance, of a special part of the Caribbean.
Students performed for a cheering crowd of family and friends to Laurel Dell’s Fiesta Del Sol on June 7th. Students finished their performance with a parade throughout the playground, drawing family and friends in to dance also.
Spring is bouncing into summer and hundreds of young artists around the North Bay are finishing class projects and creating exhibits, performances and other artful events for family and friends with Youth in Arts.
Recent posts have highlighted Spring projects by K-Dub Williams’ students at Marina Middle School and Angela Baker’s students at Harding Elementary, in addition to the amazing work created by Suzanne Joyal’s kindergarteners at Loma Verde as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program. Youth in Arts also produced a special “Passport Art Event” at Harding, and Nydia Gonzalez and Shawna Alapa’i concluding performing arts residencies at Ocean View Elementary in Albany and Sonoma Mountain Elementary.
In late May, Arts Unite Us “collaborative residency” projects at Harding and at Tam High School in Mill Valley wrapped up with terrific performances by all the students. Collaborative residencies bring together special education and general education students for shared arts experiences. At Harding, students wrote, directed and performed an original play “Lydia and the Land of Gee-Jo” around themes of Pollution, Bullying, Self Acceptance, New Beauty Standards and Taking Care of Each Other. At Tam High , the original pilot site for the collaborative residency program, students from the Special Day Class and advanced Conservatory Theatre Ensemble worked with Mentor Artists Suraya Keating and Melissa Briggs to write and perform their original play, “By my Side,” which opened the school’s popular One Acts Festival.
Tommy Shepherd’s students at Wade Thomas put an exclamation mark on their rap and beatboxing residency with a performance of their original rap for their peers at school, and Kaitlin McGaw’s kindergarteners at Bahia Vista will soon perform a vocal music and hip hop show for their fourth grade buddies.
At Laurel Dell in San Rafael, Djenane Saint-Juste has been teaching students Caribbean dance around the theme of Kanaval (Carnivale), using costume pieces the students created this Fall with visual artist Gabby Gamboa. The students will perform in a grand parade with family and friends at the school’s big Fiesta del Sol event this weekend. And at Mary Silveira, Mentor Artist Julia James finished a successful year with a big art show featuring work by all her K-4 students in the program.
Youth in Arts award-winning `Til Dawn a cappella ensemble performed their annual Spring Concert at San
Domenico Hall of the Arts this past weekend–a big congratulations to all the performers for a wonderful show and a special shout out to our graduating seniors. We will miss you!
Also at San Domenico, Youth in Arts workshopped a new performance of “Goodnight Gorilla” on May 23 with music by Dee Spencer performed by a terrific band of Bay Area music educators and musicians who are working with us to develop the work into an educational performance piece for youth jazz bands.
You can see it’s been a very busy Spring, full of fabulous art and fabulous young artists. Watch this blog for more detailed reports on many of these projects in the weeks ahead and get ready to celebrate summer with Youth in Arts! Come see `Til Dawn at Youth in Arts night with the Pacifics, visit our Everything Under the Sun YIA Gallery exhibit, sign up for a unique summer camp program, check out the Mountain Play and benefit Youth in Arts with your ticket purchase, or join us for our gala Summer Solstice celebration at Studio 333 on June 21. We’d love to see you in person and share our work with you. Happy summer!
On February 14th students at Old Adobe School in Petaluma celebrated Valentine’s Day AND a celebration of Haitian music, culture, dance and storytelling. The entire school participated in an exciting and enthusiastic culminating performance of a ten week residency with Mentor Artists Djenane Saint Juste, Jeff Pierre and Mama Fofo (Florencia Pierre).
Wearing vibrant costumes and explaining about the languages, history and culture of Haiti, then dancing and playing the drums, Old Adobe students rocked the auditorium. The show closed with the fourth and fifth graders telling the story of “Lasiren & Labalen,” the Mermaid and the Whale.
The entire school ended the show with a rousing rendition of a Haitian folk song. A wonderful performance for all.
Principal Jeff Williamson stated, “As a principal during challenging economic times it is very important to make every dollar serve students well. Youth in Arts was very attentive to our school’s unique needs and we had several conversations working to make sure our school was matched with an artist that would enhance the education of our children and build artistic capacity in our staff. Djenane, and her band of drummers, dancers, and story tellers made a great impact on our students, staff, and parents. The group of artists worked with the entire school community to present a school-wide performance during which each student got to perform. It was heart warming and brought out high quality artistry in our students. I am already looking forward to the next time I can bring Youth in Arts to our school.”
Last Art Walk Downtown Youth in Arts hosted our first Fandango Jarocho. It was fun! We had a bevy of wonderful dancers of all ages led in the traditional rhythms of son jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico. Led by Maestra Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez, a group of 30 students and adults played instruments, danced and sang verses in Spanish. The celebration was also a cross-cultural exchange as we were joined by the Haitian group Afoutayi with YIA Mentor Artists Jeff Pierre, Djenane Saint Juste and Mama Fofo.
After the community workshops, we were joined by local soneros Catherine John Hudson on violin and Joel Ramirez on the Jarana and Guitarra de Son. We played a selection of traditonal sones accompanied by children and adults who danced and played along. If you stuck around until the end, you would have caught a glimpse of Ian Daly and Amiel Gonzalez debuting their performance of the Iguana!
We look forward to the next Art Walk Downtown on December 13, when we will be making artist trading cards to accompany the new gallery exhibit “Imaginary Voyages–Using Art to Understand Science.” See you then!
Mentor Artist Djenane Saint Juste worked with children from kindergarten through grade 8 this year:
Dance is a powerful art form that allows the true self to shine and be happy. It is a way of communication that transcends any kind of barriers that our ancestors have used for many generations. It is a way to bring the community together.
After each residency at a school I discover new artists aware of their body and learning to translate their emotion through movements. I saw happy children and teachers who feel safe and confident to share their new dance moves. I saw respectful middle school students who learned to enjoy partner dancing with their classmates. And I spent a year working with the Cascade Canyon community who enjoyed traveling and learning about Haiti and other remarkable Caribbean cultures.
I am very thankful that I had the chance to grow up with a mother who is an amazing artist who taught me the passion for dance. And I am so happy to bring my family with me to each residency. My mother Fofo is a singer and dancer, my brother Jeff is a percussionist and my son Hassen is a dancer. I think it is very important for children to see four generations of family working together as artists, and to understand that dance is for everyone and is the true language of love.