It's taken me a couple of weeks to write this post. I haven't written in this blog in forever. Life takes charge sometimes and you have to let it flow or ebb if you don't want to get caught in the undercurrent, so I had to ebb and flow a bit before I came back to it.
"Nou Sove" has taken a bit longer than anticipated (which is the case with docs sometimes). "Sove Nou" (http://kijikmultimedia.com/sovenou) our first Haiti documentary is finally finished. Really excited to get it out to the world. It's packed full of information I feel the world should know about the magical country that is Haiti.
I thought Sove Nou and Nou Sove would come out together as they actually work in tandem "Sove Nou" touching on history and key points that have brought Haiti to where she is now and "Nou Sove" about people and organizations doing things to make a change.
Ebb and Flow.
But, that's the way it works sometimes. First, the earthquake in Haiti changed the dynamics of Haiti and consequently Nou Sove, then an internal earthquake happened. I found out that the disc in between the last two vertebrate in my back disintegrated.
That slowed me a bit as the earthquake has slowed Haiti, but my resolve is strong, so I rallied and forged ahead. Sometimes it takes a bit of pain to make change happen or perhaps change happens to address the pain. Haiti is strong and as I've said before, I feel the country can have a dramatic shift. But it will take a dynamic, multi-tiered effort to push it.
Haiti was once one of the top tourist destinations in the Caribbean and there are efforts now that are pushing for that to happen again. And many efforts to push for change. So we'll see. For now I hope to present a bit of movement that's happening now and historically with Nou Sove, Sove Nou and the feature film "Tears for Revolution" in what I call the Ayiti Trilogie.
As we finished one chapter with "Sove Nou" we're starting up again on "Nou Sove". As I said it's taken me a couple of weeks to write this post. I usually post directly after a production cycle, but I'm taking things a bit slower now.
We started production again because it was time and I had the opportunity to interview an amazing person a couple of weeks ago, Jeanguy Saintus the founder of Haiti's premiere dance ensemble Ayikodans. He founded the company over two decades ago and since then he's brought his style, flair and world class dance to so many in Haiti and internationally.
What I didn't expect was his insight and deliberation on what Haiti is, what he feels can bring about and effect change and what needs to happen for the arts to flourish. That's not to say I didn't feel he would have strong opinions and feelings about it, I just didn't expect the openness and candidness from the onset. It's refreshing. Often times it takes quite a bit of cajoling and prodding to see where someone is on issues, at least when it comes to having them in front of the camera. But this was not the case with Jeanguy.
Art circumstance and change.
The arts I feel can make things happen, can change people in ways no other medium can. Through art one can challenge, one can live, breath feelings, attitudes and beliefs. Art touches the heart and soul. it works for the artist that is infusing heart and soul into their work and for the participant who experiences that heart and soul in one way or the other. The arts allows us to, if even for a brief moment feel in touch with our inner self. Whether it's watching a movie, listening to music, reading a novel or watching an incredible dance piece, the arts allow us to let go.
And how has the arts fared in Haiti? After the earthquake Ayikodans were on the verge of shutting down. One of the premier dance company's of Haiti was going to have to close. Jeanguy told me that there is no real performance space in the capitol. This is something we take for granted here, a place for artists to grow, to change for the better. The circumstance was dire for Ayikodans. But change came in the form of outreach and something beautiful happened. The collective at the Arsht Center, one of Miami's premier performance spaces was looking for a way to help after the earthquake. They moved to help in one way and were taken in another direction when they were connected with Jeanguy and Ayikodans.
From the Arsht Center website. "A little over a year ago, the Adrienne Arsht Center's President and CEO John Richard, alongside The Miami Herald's World Editor, John Yearwood, made a trip to visit disaster-strewn Haiti. On his journey to understand how the Arsht Center could make a meaningful contribution to Haiti's recovery, John was introduced to the country's premier dance ensemble, AYIKODANS, a company that was then on the brink of closing their business for good."
Ayikodans were commissioned to perform at The Arsht Center last year and many were moved. A large donation was made by the Coastal Construction Group that kept Ayikodans from closing. The Arsht Center was provided with an incredible dance presence, one of the most powerful I've seen. One need was met with outreach. Ebb and flow.
Ayikodans continue, through the pain and tears of the earthquake they rise. They will be able to touch many in Haiti, as their sold out performances have touched so many here. They have an outreach program for youth that want to learn dance and the younger dancers cycle through to perhaps grow and become part of the larger whole. And although Jeanguy speaks on the myriad of problems Haiti faces, for now his company can help to send a message of heart and soul, of change and hope that through dire circumstance with heightened resolve anything is possible.
Ayikodans perform their second Arsht Center commission on May 25 & 26 with a Modern Dance Master Class on May 22, 2012.
More info and tickets at: http://www.arshtcenter.org/tickets/calendar/view.aspx?id=11014
See some of their work here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CompagnieAyikodans21
Ayikodans info: http://www.ayikodans.com/