Jean Appolon Expressions Offers Summer Dance Institute in Two Countries this Summer
Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) is serving youth this summer through their 16th Annual Summer Dance Institute, a free program for young dancers exploring connection and culture through dance. This year’s programming is taking place in both the Dominican Republic and the United States to serve youth from the US, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
For the first time, the Institute has expanded to the Dominican Republic. This program was hosted earlier this month in partnership with Kalalú Dance School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Additionally, JAE continues their collaboration with Izizwe Dance Studio in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to offer a Summer Dance Institute here in the US. The Summer Dance Institute in Lawrence is taking place from now until August 6, with a final performance and community celebration on August 6. Both programs strive to empower youth through dance, and to foster connections, build resilience, and heal from trauma. Classes feature Horton, contemporary, Haitian Folkloric, Afro-Cuban, ballet, and yoga. Students complete daily reflections centered around movement, identity, and social justice, and work toward a final performance for family and friends.
“JAE’s 2022 Summer Dance Institute is unlike any other because it is truly working to bridge cultures across the globe through dance and community,” stated JAE Executive Director, Professional Company Dancer, and Educator Meghan McGrath. “This is the first year that we are holding our free program in two separate countries, simultaneously, which is a milestone for the organization. The pandemic slowed us down in some ways and yet, opened up the opportunity to connect more routinely with our students in Haiti, in our virtual classroom. This was a gift. Jean and I are beyond thrilled to share that five of our dedicated Teen Apprentices from Port Au Prince, Haiti will be joining us in Santo Domingo to dance and connect with our students in the Dominican Republic.”
The focus of the summer program is on Kiltirèl Conexiones (Cultural Connections), which uses dance to foster connections between Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the US. Using Haitian Folkloric and modern dance techniques, students learn choreography to strengthen mind-body connections within themselves and among each other. Students are given the opportunity for creative expression and cultural sharing by creating their own choreography that is then taught to students who are enrolled in the alternate Summer Dance Institute than the one they are attending.
The Summer Dance Institute was created by Jean Appolon, founder and artistic director of JAE, with the intention to share the liberating power of Haitian-folkloric dance to cultivate hope, healing, and justice. Since its inception in 2006, JAE Summer Dance Institute has trained over 1,000 young people and provides a safe haven for students to realize their ability to become social change agents. The benefits of these experiences are long lasting as many students have become teachers and entrepreneurs, who have started dance schools internationally and within the US.
Jean Appolon Expressions will continue to host free community classes and events for dancers of all ages this summer in Boston, building a global community of people who enjoy and share the healing power of Haitian Folklore. Learn more about community classes in Haitian Folklore and more on JAE’s website: https://jeanappolonexpressions.org/