Djenane Saint Juste is the Artistic Director and Founder of Afoutayi Dance, Music and Arts Company. She is a native of Haiti, an accomplished choreographer, dancer, actress and vocalist specializing in Haitian traditional dance and folklore. Djenane has dedicated herself to the research, development and promotion of traditional Haitian dance, song and storytelling. In 2010 Djenane created the Annual Haitian Cultural Festival in California, recently relocated to Minnesota in 2015.
Djenane also has trained in ballet, hip hop, modern, jazz and ballroom at the Institute de Danse JAKA, Institut de Danse Vivianne Gauthier, Artcho Dance Company in Haiti and Dancing Classroom by Pierre Dulaine in New York. She is currently pursuing a license in ESL and a Master in Education at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
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She is a faculty member in the world dance department at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts and an artist in residency at Hamline University and St Olaf University. Ms. Saint Juste is also a Ballroom dance teacher for Hearth of Dance in the Twin Cities. Djenane has experience working with newcomer families or people who have been the victims of major catastrophe by using dance therapy from her Haitian dance back ground. Djenane also has experience performing at Juvenile Center and Seniors community center. Djenane has more than fifteen years of experience working with K-12 students in public and private school in Haiti and the US. Djenane teaches in four different languages: French, Creole, Spanish and English.
I teach to inspire, to connect, to communicate, to share my knowledge, and to express my love and joy of dancing. I am responsible for providing rich experiences for all types of learners to grow from. My goal as a dance educator is to instill in students a strong sense of self confidence, personal connection with their surroundings, and various life skills that they can use to function appropriately in society. In order to achieve this goal; I would consistently encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, self- motivation and discipline. It is important to create an atmosphere where students can feel comfortable enough to take risks as they explore their bodies through movement and other dance elements such as space, time, and energy.
Performance is our way of recognizing Haiti and its vibrant mosaic cultural. Each workshop will be centered around Folkloric and Traditional Haitian Rhythms. Students will learn about the syncretic origin of Haitian dance, a conglomeration of French, African, and Taino indigenous movements and rhythms born in Haiti.
Students will also learn about the costumes used in the traditional dance forms, traditional games and the color symbolism of the costumes. They will learn the relationship between song and storytelling in traditional Haitian and popular Creole culture.
The workshop will conclude with students learning choreography to be performed in a group performance dramatically with the master artists on stage. The students are left with a deeper understanding of Haitian history and forms of traditional cultural expression.