Ouvèti Outdoor Dance Performance Featuring Jean Appolon Expressions

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Program Description

Program Details

Join us on Saturday, August 13th for a FREE outdoor production of Ouvèti from Jean Appolon Expressions!

1:30-3:00 Afro-Haitian Community Dance Class with Live Drumming

3:00-3:30 Opening Circle

3:30-4:30 Ouvèti Professional Dance Performance

Jean Appolon’s latest work in development portrays feelings of isolation, desperation, fear, and ultimately nostalgia, calm, hope, and connection that people experiencing trauma might cycle through. The movements communicate the powerful experiences of knowing personal trauma, seeing it in others, and yet feeling disconnected due to stigma and fear. Bringing together these emotions and experiences through dance, combined with the soundscape created by musician Val Jeanty, shines a light on injustices, disparities, and challenges that audiences may have experienced or are just becoming aware of. A short opening circle will be led by Appolon and company dancers to collectively welcome the community into the public space and set the “stage” for the site-specific performance.

This event is sponsored by the Turner Free Library and the Friends of the Turner Free Library, and supported in part by a grant from the Randolph Cultural Council, the Holbrook Cultural Council, and the Quincy Arts Council, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Based in Boston, Jean Appolon Expressions is a Haitian contemporary dance company, directed by Jean Appolon. Combining Modern technique and Haitian folkloric dance, JAE brings a new artistic vernacular to its audiences. With its dynamic repertoire, JAE educates audiences about Haitian culture, traditions, history and current issues. JAE fulfills its mission to preserve Haitian folkloric culture while constantly enlivening the art form in a way that is vital, accessible, inspiring and educational. JAE is comprised of dancers from diverse backgrounds, each of whom who are committed to JAE’s mission to use dance to share Haitian culture. 

Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian contemporary dance company has performed both at major venues in Boston and beyond, and in city parks and community spaces in free performances accessible to the public. JAE also has performed at many colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Lesley College and Wheaton College. JAE has been fortunate to share the stage with celebrities such as Danny Glover, Henry Louis Gates and Edwidge Danticat, and to collaborate with community partners such as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) and Central Square Theater.

Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Appolon received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. at the Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Program (1995-1996, Boston, MA), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (1996-1998, New York, NY) and the Joffrey American Ballet School (1998-2003, New York, NY), where he  graduated with a B.A. from a joint degree program offered by The New School.

Appolon has also performed with Elma Lewis Productions (Black Nativity), Marlene Silva, North Star Ballet Company (Fairbanks, AK), Black Door Dance Company (Miami, FL), and the Atlantic City Ballet Company.

Jean Appolon teaches regularly at Boston Ballet, UMASS Boston and The Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA), among other locations. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. Since 2019, the Summer Dance Institute has been held in Lawrence, MA, in partnership with the Izizwe Dance Studio.