‘Ayikodans’ dance performance conveys Haitian spirit, culture

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Ayikodans, a Haitian dance troupe, performed contemporary pieces related to spirituality and history at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Photo courtesy Marie Ostensson

Ayikodans, a Haitian dance troupe, performed contemporary pieces related to spirituality and history at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Photo courtesy Marie Ostensson

“Ayikodans” at the Adrienne Arsht Center brings audiences a performance of music and dance through storytelling of spirituality and historical struggles. On Friday, a group of students from Hecht and Stanford Residential Colleges had the opportunity to experience the passion and vibrancy of Ayikodans.

The Ayikodans dance troupe, founded and directed by Jeanguy Saintus, is a premiere professional dance company in Haiti. The dance group is rooted in traditional Caribbean culture and celebrates the contemporary Haitian aesthetic, portraying a completely different side of Haitian lifestyle for those who associate the country with poverty and helplessness.

The program began with “Phases,” a three-movement piece that draws from exploration of style and texture in contemporary dance. Representing the choreographer’s artistic approach, this trilogy featured one dancer in each movement depicting the variations in form and human emotions.

The phases depicted the actuality of the human condition through minimalistic costuming, prop use and setting. Each dancer translated the pain and suffering portrayed in the dance trilogy through their precision and expressiveness. Complete with live vocalists, the piece truly allowed the audience to internalize this art by creating an intimate atmosphere.

After the intermission, the company performed the world premiere of M’Angaje, a commissioned piece by the Arsht Center for its 10th anniversary. M’Angaje, which means “I am committed” in Creole, is inspired by the spiritual connection between the unknown, the unseen, the spirit and ourselves.

The piece depicted the necessity for human beings to seek the spirits during great distress. Featuring nine dancers with vocal and percussive accompaniment, this lively piece filled the auditorium with an unmatched level of enthusiasm and vibrancy. The piece was performed with such passion and energy that it led to a full standing ovation and was a favorite of many attendees.

“My favorite part of the performance was the second act because of the usage of drums and the lively dances that went along with the music,” freshman Ashley Brooks said.

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