Persaverance of Spirit
But it isn't a greater catastrophe, it isn't a greater disaster than we are a people”- Brenda Marie Osbey, poet laureate of Louisiana 2005-2007
Port-Au-Prince, January 2010 - Haiti is hit by its largest earthquake in 200 years. The capital city of the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black republic in the world is virtually leveled.
New Orleans, August 2005 – Hurricane Katrina hits Louisiana and the levies break. Katrina is now referred to as both the deadliest hurricane and the largest 'natural disaster in the history of the United States.
April 16, 17, and 18, 2010 Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Adia Tamar Whitaker
Graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Dance. Ms. . Whitaker is a former member of Group Petit La Croix. She has performed Afro-Haitian and contemporary dance in the U.S. and abroad for 13 years. Adia completed the Professional Division U.S. Independent Studies Program at The Ailey School (2001), was a Ford Foundation Grant Recipient (2004), an Urban Bush Women Apprentice (2005) and a Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at FSU Creative Entry Point Choreographic Fellow (2006).
Florencia “Fofo" Pierre
Famed actress, dancer and traditional healer. In her formative years, Ms. Pierre attended the Viviane Gauthier School of Traditional Arts, serving as lead dancer and eventually as dance instructor. In addition, Ms. Pierre also served as one of the principal dancers of the National Dance Theater Company of Haiti from 1983 to 1989 and then served as professor of dance from 1989 to 1991. Well-traveled around the world from the Caribbean to Europe and the U.S. as a professional performer, singer, dancer and actress, Ms. Pierre is also the founding director of the Jaka Institute of Dance in Pétionville, Haití.
Afoutayi - Djenane Saint-Juste
Born and raised in the traditional Haitian culture as her mother Florencia Pierre, a priestess of the Vodou religion was, and her mother before. Ms. Saint-Juste has an extensive background in Haitian dance and music, and is an accomplished choreographer, dancer, and vocalist specializing in the traditional folkloric dances of Haiti. A former student at Cuba's International Schools for Sports and Physical Education, she served for 15 years, as co artistic director, first dancer, and instructor at the Jaka Dance Institute in Pétionville, Haiti alongside her mother, Florencia Pierre. She has worked with many renowned Haitian artists, such as Azor, Boukman Eksperyans, Alan and Syto Cave, Paula Clermont Pean, and Fabienne Denis, to name a few. Most recently, Ms.
Jeff Lastanoteguy Pierre
Son of Florencia and brother of Djenane, has been playing traditional Haitian percussion since the age of 3, and is a well-recognized drummer in the Haitian community. California, San Diego, Palomar College, Grossmont College, San Diego City College, Cal State San Marcos, and Humboldt State University and has traveled through out the United States teaching master workshops.
Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective
Named for a Swahili word that means "remember," and Kumbuka remembers African and African-American folklore by keeping it alive in dance and song. The 15 member collective ranges in age from 9 to 55 and is directed by founding member Ausettua AmorAmenkum.
These dancers, musicians, jewelers, drum makers, and costume designers have studied their arts throughout the U.S. as well as in Senegal, Ghana, and Guinea.
A professor adjunct at Tulane University of New Orleans since 1993, studied with Kimati Dinizulu & The Kotoko Society in Ghana, with Frank Desire and the Asakivle Haitian Cultural Ensemble in Haiti, and with John Leon Destine in Senegal. Kumbuka has been regularly featured through Young Audiences of New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the New Orleans Dance Festival, as well as having been featured in several documentaries and movies including Angel Hart, Interview with the Vampire, Congo Square, and All on a Mardi Gras Day.