UNCW Hosts Residency with Dancers and Drummers from Haiti

Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In the coming weeks, the extraordinary dancers and drummers of Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin will depart from their home in Petionville, Haiti for an unprecedented month long tour of the U.S.  The tour, which includes a premiere at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and a weeklong residency at UNCW (Oct. 28 -Nov. 2), is part of Center StageSM, a U.S. State Department-led initiative, which has matched public and private funding to support tours by artists from Haiti, Pakistan and Indonesia.

The residency at UNCW is part of the Office of Cultural Arts Artist in Residence Program, and features a week of workshops, performances and special events providing audiences of all ages an opportunity to directly engage with Delsoin and his extraordinary ensemble.

Presented by the UNCW Office of Cultural Arts, in partnership with Campus Life Arts and Programs, the Office of International Programs and academic departments and offices campus-wide, the residency culminates with a performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 in UNCW's Kenan Auditorium. The performance features three recent works by Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin -- works that, much like the company's passionate and charismatic leader, capture the spirit and traditions of Haiti through vibrant colors, powerful yet graceful dances and earthy, rhythmic beats.

Delsoin, who started dancing in Haiti at a young age, eventually made his way to the world's dance capitals touring professionally and studying at the schools of acclaimed choreographers such as Alvin Ailey and José Limón. Though an established figure on the contemporary dance scene, Delsoin dedicates himself to promoting creativity and technique in his homeland of Haiti.  As a teacher and choreographer, he finds profound inspiration in the many worlds that intersect in Haitian life: the rough-edged and vivacious rural dances and ceremonies; the refined social dance of the cities; the vivid yet stark lines of contemporary global dance.

"Haiti is a source of great inspiration for me," Delsoin notes. "Traditional dances are extremely rich; the rhythms are sensational, as well as the history behind them. My work, in part, explores how drums are vitally important to Haitian life, how each beat, each rhythm speaks to us, fortifies us, moves us along."

In addition to a series of master classes, workshops and classroom lectures at UNCW, the company will work with students at Virgo Urban Prep (UNCW ARTworks 2012/13 School Partner); present free school performances for nearly two thousand fourth, fifth and sixth graders; conduct a workshop for military personnel at Camp Lejeune; and host a community Drum Circle and Dance Demonstration in the outdoor amphitheater at the center of campus.

The culminating performance on Friday, Nov. 2 will be followed by a reception with the artists.  Tickets are $20 (General Public); $8 (Student/Youth).  Group discounts are available for churches or organizations purchasing 20 tickets or more. Tickets and information is available at the Kenan Auditorium Box Office, Monday - Friday, noon to 6 p.m. (910) 962-3500 or (800) 732-3643 and at www.uncw.edu/arts.

More about Center StageSM
Center StageSM is made possible by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, and with additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. General management for Center StageSM is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.


Additional Program Support:
Support for the residency at UNCW is provided by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and North Carolina Arts Council.