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Afoutayi

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In 2009, Djenane Saint Juste arrived in the Bay Area of California from Haiti and formed the Afoutayi Dance, Music, and Arts Company. Created out of San Francisco’s serious lack of Haitian presence, the Company set out with a mission to promote Haitian heritage through cultural expressions, including; music, art, dance, and shared history.

Founded and directed by native Haitian artists with extensive experience in dance instruction, choreography, acting, and storytelling, Afoutayi Dance, Music, and Arts Company battles the misconceptions of Haitian culture through educational and expressive arts. Together, we join to inspire and engage people of all ages to dance, drum, sing, tell stories, and experience the beauty of Haiti.

More About the Artist

In 2010, Afoutayi started the First Annual Haitian Dance, Art, and Music Festival in San Francisco. Hosted in November, the now-yearly festival is intentionally hosted on the anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres; a battle which defined the 1803 Haitian War of Liberation. The program, presented at Mission High School, worked to offer well-attended Haitian folkloric dance to a diverse student population. Having expanded to Minnesota, Afoutayi is now a family collaboration with Saint Juste’s mother, Florencia Pierre, and brother, Jeff Pierre. Together, they bring artists across disciplines from Haiti and the United States to participate in an annual festival celebration, along with a plethora of well-attended classes, professional performances, cultural festivals, and community-based events.

Afoutayi Dance, Music and Arts company produces high quality events dedicated to promoting knowledge and understanding of Haitian culture, history and traditional arts. Established in California, the company relocated to Minnesota in December 2014 and continues to offer performances throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota area.

Program Offerings

Performances

Afoutayi Dance

Afoutayi Dance, Music and Arts company produces high quality events dedicated to promoting knowledge and understanding of Haitian culture, history and traditional arts. Dance connects the Haitian people to their spiritual and cultural heritage, having been passed down through lineages of African and Indigenous ancestry.

This performance is a vibrant educational tool filled with dance, music, drumming storytelling and history. This program presents Haitian cultural heritage with songs in Creole and French languages with live drumming accompaniment.

Participants learn about Haitian culture through dance as the dancers engage in a playful, spontaneous interchange with the audience. Students will learn different aspects of Haitian Culture through a variety theme like: Konbit (Community gathering- Harvesting), Lakansyel (Rainbow-Carnival), Simbi Dlo (Deity of sweet and fresh water), Balanse Fofo (Community celebration), Lasirenn & Labalen (The mermaid and the Whale), larivye (At the River), Ibo lele (Haitian revolution). The audience will see a unique Haitian Cultural experience through the performances and will learn about Haitian cultural heritage.

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“…Djenane, and her band of drummers, dancers, and story tellers made a great impact on our students, staff, and parents. The group of artists worked with the entire school community to present a school-wide performance during which each student got to perform. It was heart warming and brought out high quality artistry in our students…”

Jeff Williamson, Principal, Old Adobe School

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COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.