Interview with Nadia DieudonneAdditional title: Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image original documentation
NamesDieudonné, Nadia (Interviewee)Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Interviewer)Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Project director)Niang, Mamadou (Videographer)Mertz Gilmore Foundation (Presenter)New York Public Library. Dance Division (Presenter)
African Dance Video Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2015-05-16
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 4120
TopicsDieudonné, NadiaDorisme, MyriamDance -- HaitiMusic -- HaitiRites and ceremonies -- HaitiFolk dancing -- HaitiFolk dancing, Haitian
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performancesInterviews
NotesStatement of responsibility: conducted by Carolyn Webb ; project director, Carolyn Webb.Content: Widescreen.Statement of responsibility: This interview was made possible by the cooperation of the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.Creation/production credits: Video recorded by Mamadou Niang.Performers: Interviewee, Nadia Dieudonne ; interviewer, Carolyn Webb.Venue: Videotaped during interview at the NextMedia.tv Studio, New York, N.Y., as part of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation funded African Dance Interview Project 2015 on 2015 May 16.Funding: This recording was made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation.Funding: African Dance Interview Project funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (57 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionNadia Dieudonne mentions her graditute to the New York Public Library (and Mertz Gilmore Foundation) for documenting dance artists of the African diaspora; Dieudonne discusses her childhood and her parents moving from Haiti to Brooklyn, New York one year before her birth; being immersed in the Haitian culture through church, community and listening to her mother sing traditional folk songs and her father playing traditional voudo records; meeting and dancing with Myriam Dorisme (folk singer & activist), the dances she taught Dieudonne, and the awareness of musicality Dieudonne acquired from her; how Dieudonne began performing in local talent shows in elementary school and church; remaining connected with Dorisme even as she began exploring dance, music, and culture with other artists; crediting Dorisme with developing her ear to hear the traditional rhythms inside the instrumentation, keyboard, guitar, drums, and bass that Dorisme incorporated in her music; Dorisme exposing her students to the most popular traditional dances of Port-au-Prince, and using dance instructors including Maggie Brevil and Jacques Barbot to teach choreography and technique, using rhythms included Yanvalou, Ibo, Nago, Parigol, Mahi, and Banda; describing Haitian folklore and how it delevoped from traditional Voudo songs, dances and rhythms and the differences between Haitian Voudo rituals and Haitian folklore; using these traditional dances and songs in her choreography to present them in a creative manner for the theater; discusses Voudo ritual practices not being rehearsed but having an order that is led by the Houngan or Mambo with the dancers moving in accordance with the drum breaks; studying drumming with Frasner Augustin at Complete Studio in Brooklyn which helped her to understand the connection between dancers and drummers; performing with Frisner's company, La Troupe Makadal, while in high school, after being noticed by Smith Destin (Smitty) when performing with Tabou Combo; dancing professionally at the age of twelve with Myriam Dorisme, and this leading to performing with racine bands including Rara Machine, Jephte Guillaume, Loray Mistic, Kilti Chok, Azor, Boulo Valcourt, Dadi Beaubrun, and Jimmy Jean Felix; defining racine music as root music with musicians taking traditional Voudo songs and drumming which they combine with electric guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums, then fuse the traditional Haitian sound with influences of American and European jazz, rock, and pop; what led her to create her own companies, by establishing the adult company in 1994 and after a concert series in Prospect Park, Brooklyn entitled, Belle Ti Ayiti, creating her children's company in 1995 with cultural pride being the most important issue she teaches children; performing with her adult company [Feet of Rhythm] at Lincoln Center, Jacob's Pillow, Summer Stage, LIU [at Kumbole Theatre], numerous other colleges, cultural events, and abroad; her dance entitled, Heritage, and the different rhythms used in that choreographic work including Yanvalou, Parigol, Combit Nago, Ibo, Petwo, Banda, and Rara; Dieudonne noting that Haitian history and culture has been passed down orally through folktales called Kric Krak, and how she would like to create productions using these folktales; the influence of Jean Léon Destiné; discusses traditional Haitian rhythms being divided into Rada and Petwo rhythms; her favorite Haitian Dance which depends on her mood, or what she is trying to represent when performing; how she became known for her Banda dance; the influence of Jean Claude, a teacher at Lezly's who showed the distinction between the male and female styles of movement; studying and dancing with Djoniba, and Dinizulu African Dancers Drummers and Singers where she learned dances from Ghana and South African from teachers brought in from the National Theatre of Ghana; meeting many West African Dancers including Marie Basse-Wiles and Lamine [Thiam]; working with LaRocque Bey in Harlem, and The Charles Moore Dance Company; working with La Mora [Danyz Perez] and traveling to Cuba for research; her education and working as a bilingual teacher combining dance with her love for children, and receiving a Master's degree from NYU's Steinhardt School; her research and dance experiences in Haiti with Lavinia Williams at the Haitian Institute of Folklore and Classic Dance, Vivian Gautier, and Peniel Guerrier; what keeps drawing her back to Haiti; teaching and rehearsing at the Charles Moore Studio; advice for anyone starting a dance company; hosting the TV show Creole Mix; places to take Haitian dance classes in New York; and concludes with the changes in the Pan African dance scene since the 80's and 90's.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 917908413NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20764601Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): c91da630-4b66-0133-0db6-60f81dd2b63c
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