Haitian-American Tells How Dance Saved Him And Empowers Young People On Brad Show Live
NEW YORK, June 12, 2019
NEW YORK, June 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The deadly riots that ripped through Port-Au-Prince, Haiti last year in response to spiked fuel prices, brought Jean Appolon back to his traumatic childhood when similar unrest in the country took the life of his father. Despite the surrounding violence, Jean continued on with his dance program.
Jean escaped Haiti at a young age after he helplessly watched his politically outspoken father get brutally murdered. To cope, he buried his life's work in dance. Today, he is the founder of Jean Appolon Expressions, a Boston-based Haitian contemporary dance company that provides a free program every summer to Haiti's underserved youth. He created the business after a career of performing with esteemed dance groups in New York City, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Joffrey Ballet School.
"When I arrived in Port Au Prince, it was peaceful," Jean said on Brad Show Live of teaching his class in Haiti last summer. "But, on July 7  it was really chaotic."
Shortly after the Haitian government announced a substantial rise in fuel prices, the country's people pushed back. Jean noted he was dropping a coworker off from dance class when suddenly the streets filled up, people were barricading the roads, businesses were being looted and buildings lit on fire. Nine people died as a result of rebellious uproar that spanned 2-3 days.
The riots were still intense by Monday, Jean said, which led him to cancel his dance class that day. However, he resumed classes the following day, Tuesday, when the riots started to simmer down.
"The kids are pretty much looking for normalcy," Jean said of hosting his class so soon after the violence. "We cannot keep creating this system of we are scared, and don't know what to do…. We try to stay positive because of the kids...when you don't find peace, you have to create it. And as a passionate teacher, and as somebody who has been through trauma before, I did not want my kids in Haiti to suffer through the same things I have suffered."
Catch the full interview on YouTube and Facebook with host Brad Bernstein! Brad Show Live is a 2019 Webby Honoree that airs Monday-Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET!
Contact: Jill Gould, [email protected]
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SOURCE Brad Show Live