MIAMI — Ayikodans, Haiti’s leading dance troupe, along with its founder and artistic director, Jeanguy Saintus, returns to the Adrienne Arsht Center on May 25 and 26 with a world premiere after last year’s extremely successful earthquake relief fundraiser and performances.
The times are 8:00 p.m. on May 25, and 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on May 26, in the Carnival Studio Theater of the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased through the Arsht Center box office by calling 305-949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org
A year ago Adrienne Arsht Center President and CEO John Richard visited disaster-torn Haiti. Seeking how the Arsht Center could make a meaningful contribution to Haiti’s recovery, Richard was introduced to the country’s premier dance ensemble, Ayikodans, a company that was then on the brink of closing their business for good.
With the help of passionate Miami community leaders, the center was able to help save Ayikodans — and has commissioned a new piece, Danse de L’Araignée (Dance of the Spider), whose world premiere is set for May 25 and 26 along with Anmwey Haiti Manman (Cry Haiti Mother).
Danse de L’Araignée honors Gede Zarenyen, a Haitian mythological god which crawled and stung like a spider. The piece transcends that of a traditional dance performance as it evokes a spider’s customary rhythm while incorporating different techniques ranging from traditional to contemporary, and modern to hip-hop – making it accessible and relatable to a larger audience.
Anmwey Haiti Manman is a contemporary dance piece inspired by the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. It is a dramatic work of art, filled with emotion and angst, focusing on the media’s glamorized portrayal of the island’s improvement versus its tragic reality.
Founded in 1987 in Port-au-Prince by choreographer and dancer Saintus, Ayikodans blends influences from folk dance, free improvisation and varied African and indigenous Indian dance forms as well as French traditions and voodoo religious culture. Over the past 25 years, Saintus has continuously pushed the limits of
modern dance and has mastered a cross-cultural body language that speaks with the power of remote times and places. The word Ayikodans is derived from Ayiti, the Haitian Creole word for Haiti and Kontredanse, a form of traditional dance inherited from Haiti’s colonial past.
Ayikodans company members have danced on stages around the world.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. on May 25, and 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on May 26
WHERE: The Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
COST: Tickets $35
CONTACT: arshtcenter.org or 305-949-6722
ON THE NET
Photo: COURTESY OF THE ARSHT CENTER
AYIKODANS: The renowned troupe has developed a powerful, contemporary dance style while rejuvenating Haiti's dance tradition.