Dance is more than movement. It’s a language. It’s a culture. For those who study at the Ayikodans Dance Company — located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti — dance is the essence of life.
When Jeanguy Saintus developed Ayikodans in 1987, he envisioned a school where all students can thrive. Ayikodans dancers express their culture through Saintus’ dance style, which blends Haitian-Contemporary technique with folk performance, improvisation, voodoo religious culture, along with varying African, indigenous Indian and French influences.
Ayikodans company members have danced on stages in Latin America, Europe, the United States and Asia, performing at such venues as Palacio de Bellas Artes in the Dominican Republic, The Netherlands’ Tropentheater, The Foundation Tokyo Ballet in Japan, Rose Hall in Jamaica and Teatro Anayansi in Panama.
Ayikodans appeared with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami in 2000 and performed at the African American Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale in 2003.
In 2008, Saintus was the recipient of the Prince Claud Award from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The honor goes to individuals who reflect a progressive and contemporary approach to culture and development in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Since its inception, Ayikodans has stood for much more than dance. Unfortunately, the studio crumbled in the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. The Adrienne Arsht hosts Ayikodans on May 21, 2011, along with a series of fund-raising events, in efforts to create sustainable support for Ayikodans and the people of Haiti.