Above: Ayikodans’ new studio (Photos by Ben Depp)
Article By the Caribbean Journal staff: http://www.caribjournal.com
Three years after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed its studio, Ayikodans, the country’s leading dance group, has a new home.
The new 40-by-20 studio in the suburb of Petion-Ville, will house rehearsals, classes for students and perhaps inspire new works
The Miami-based Adrienne Arsht Center, which has hosted the troupe’s shows in Miami for the past two years, helped support the build-out of the new space.
“Ayikodans represents a real life story of physical and spiritual renewal — when the earthquake shocked our friends in Haiti and we learned that Ayikodans was in peril, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we help? How can we make a difference?’ Miami came together as a community to offer a hand,” said John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Our response is ensuring one of the country’s artistic treasures lives on. We have been given this extraordinary choreographer and dance company that radiates Haitian culture and has something very significant to say through the power of dance.”
Ayikodans, which was founded in 1987 by Haitian-born choreographer Jeanguy Saintus, blends influences from folk dances, African and indigenous Indian art forms, French traditions and voodoo.
“Without the Arsht Center and the compassion and generosity of the Miami community, we would not have been able to rebuild our studio,” said Jeanguy Saintus, founding choreographer of Ayikodans. “We have danced on stages around the world but we will always consider Miami and the Arsht Center our true home away from home.”
Ayikodans has found support from a number of individuals since the quake, including Tom Murphy, founder of Coastal Construction, WIN Group managing partner Youri Mevs and Miami Herald World Editor John Yearwood, among others.
The Green Family Foundation, led by its president, Kimberly Green, has awarded a two-year grant to the Arsht Center to present Ayikodans this season and ensure its return next season in Miami.
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