Jean Appolon Expressions, is not your typical contemporary dance company at all.
Founded in 2011, Jean Appolon Expressions is a Haitian contemporary dance company. The mission of JAE is to preserve and advance Haitian folkloric dance as one of the world’s precious cultural resources, and to make high quality dance education available to young Haitians without financial resources. Combining Modern technique, Haitian folkloric dance and live traditional drumming, JAE inspires and educates audiences about Haitian culture, traditions & current issues.
The Co-founder & Artistic Director, Jean Appolon is a highly successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Receiving his earliest training opportunities in Port-au-Prince, Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. at the Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Program, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Joffrey American Ballet School. From there he completely flourished making a name for himself in the dance world, especially the city of Boston.
We are ecstatic to present such a prominent dance figure in the Boston area at the BCDF 3pm National Showcase. Appolon explains the opportunities BCDF creates for his himself & his company,
“Because Jean Appolon Expressions fuses contemporary technique with Haitian folkloric dance, it often gets boxed into an “ethnic or traditional dance category. In today’s dance world, this type of synthesis is some of the most important work being done because it preserves traditional dance within a more contemporary format. By performing at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, we are hoping to gain increased exposure in our local, regional and national contemporary dance networks.”
“Jessica Taylor’s choreography is “reminiscent of Picasso’s monumental dancers from his ‘classical’ period. Terrific stuff from this young company. If the chance comes to see more from them, take it,” explains Mark Harding of The Shimmy Skinny, Edinburgh.
Well, like Mark Harding said, if you have the opportunity to witness Jessica Taylor’s choreography, you should take it, and lucky enough YOU WILL! Taylor will be bringing her company DAMAGEDANCE, to BCDF this year, for the 3:00 pm National Showcase.
Founded in 2010 by Taylor, DAMAGEDANCE of Brooklyn, NY, takes on a specific mission. This mission involves the dancers getting comfortable with themselves, mostly in the sense of accepting their flaws and then utilizing them to more them even stronger and more confident dancers. Through their choreography, the company invites audiences to view their flaws and imperfections as opportunities for individuality and growth, encouraging a self-awareness and self-reflection.
Taylor has not only served as a member of the industry panel and as a choreographer for ADC’s Guest Artist Series in NYC, but her work has been shown across the US.
So, what work should you expect from her work “Our Masks” at BCDF? Well, the piece is about social survival- adapting to our surroundings, and becoming different versions of ourselves in those different scenarios. Check out Taylor’s interview below:
First and foremost, we want to perform in Boston because it will be our Boston debut! Furthermore, we want to perform and get our work to other neighboring east coast cities to network, building connections and community and spread our artistic vision – after all, New York City is not too far away, so it’s accessible!
What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
In addition to having another travel experience with my company, I’m hoping to network, see companies that I haven’t seen or heard of before, and be a part of a diversified and eclectic performance lineup.
Tell us about your piece.
The work we are presenting, “Our Masks”, is about social survival – adapting to our surroundings, and becoming different versions of ourselves in those different scenarios. We have been presenting the work for almost 10 months now and the concept still pops up in conversations between company members in every day life…it has opened an ongoing dialogue in which we are simply noticing these behaviors within ourselves and becoming more fascinated with them.
Tell us something interesting about your company.
DAMAGEDANCE’s mission involves getting uncomfortable with ourselves, mostly in the sense of accepting our flaws and then utilizing them to make us even stronger and more confident dancers. Every rehearsal is a growing process where, in the safety of the studio, we can go through healthy processes of picking ourselves apart and then work toward putting ourselves back together again, still with those quirks and abnormalities shining through.
If someone mentions the name Ellenore Scott, instantly the first word that comes to mind is: unique. This young choreographer & dancer who has made a nationally recognized name for herself is the true definition of what it means to have a unique style unlike any one else’s.
Established in 2012, ELSCO Dance, was created with one goal in mind: to redefine the dialogue of dance. It is clear with Ellenore Scott’s strong foundation in concert dance & access to commercial dance through her finalist finish on “So You Think You Can Dance?” makes her uniquely positioned to take on this mission. Not only does Scott herself completely embody what it means to be different, but ELSCO Dance displays interesting qualities for a modern dance company, making them a stand-out in the dance world. The company not only performs in live shows but live streaming rehearsals, producing dances for films and engaging out audience outside of the normal “concert” performance.
Here at BCDF, we are honored for Scott’s company, ELSCO dance, to present a piece choreographed by the artistic director herself . But the question is, why Boston especially when one is based in the dance city itself? Well, Scott explains,
“BCDF was a great platform for my company to perform nationally. Boston is an exciting city that is rich in history, culture and inspiration! The art scene is Boston is not one to be missed. As an NYC based company, we only performed in NY until we toured to Boston. From performing in BCDF, I was able to meet contacts interested in my work, future audience members and potential board members. It was a great platform for ELSCO and we are so grateful to be back!”
Now ELSCO’s second year at BCDF, Scott will be bringing a piece that was specifically choreographed for the festival. This new piece will be a prequel in ordinance to the all male trio she presented at the festival last year called, “Run, Boy!”displaying another trio with a character from last year reintroducing why he ran away in the first place. You do NOT want miss out on an opportunity to see this piece at BCDF 2014. In the meantime, check out our interview below with Ellenore Scott herself:
What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
As a returning choreographer, I am hoping to connect with not only audience members but also other nationally acclaimed choreographers. The work selected for this program is truly inspirational and being a part of this experience definitely motivates me when I return home to NY and work with my company.
What is your favorite media quote you ever received?
“An especially touching moment was during the last piece of the evening, when the technicalities of being outdoors had rendered the iPod useless. The choreographer herself, Ellenore Scott (ELSCO Dance) came up and sang, narrated, and counted the piece of music. It was so heart felt and raw to see the woman who made the work be so flexible and able to adapt to the environment. In this, I realized that the point of the whole evening was to capture the versatility and hunger of dancers and choreographers in New York City, and it did. – Jane Sato of TheaterisEasy.com
Tell us something interesting about your company. What makes your company unique?
We are the true hybrid of commercial and concert with the label! We perform the work that I want to create and hope to connect with dancer viewers in a different why. We also love to utilize social media to help with our preparations, including costume design, phrase work and Q&A sessions during our rehearsal live streams!