New York, NY – A capacity sized crowd was on hand to witness the inaugural staging of UNI, an elegant evening celebrating the 215th anniversary of the Haitian Flag. The event which was endorsed by The Consulate General of Haiti in New York was curated by Sanford Placide, a Haitian professional dancer residing in New York City.
Consul General of Haiti Mr. Gandy Thomas kicked off the elegant event with some remarks to commemorate Haitian Flag Day in both French and English.
The invitation event attracted a wide cross section of representatives from the Haitian artistic community and dignitaries including Ambassador Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations; Ambassador of Haiti Me Patrick Saint-Hilaire and Deputy Consul General of France, Mr. Eric Bayer.
With the formalities out of the way, the magical evening got underway with a video welcome by the creator of UNI before the classical and spellbinding presentation of Sleeping Beauty Act III Pas de Deux, performed by Placide and Hannah Kickert, formerly of the Vienna State National Ballet.
The evening saw the premiere of MAGA, which was created in honor of UNI curator Sanford Placide’s mom as a tribute to his homeland Haiti and its many challenges.
The riveting ballet was inspired by his childhood experiences in Haiti: the sights and sounds, the tastes and smells, the stories he heard, and the games played under the full moon.
Choreographed to the music of Toto Bissainthe and Fanfan Rene, and accompanied by live drumming, Maga was dedicated to his father who passed away just a little over five years ago. Great attention to detail was paid to the costumes with the lead dancer wearing a piece designed by Citizen by Azin on fabric with an aerial view of Port-au-Prince.
Placide’s family and friends were on hand to witness this ballet. Among them his mom from Haiti, his brother from Germany along with cousins and friends from Houston, Miami and Orlando.
Joining Placide for the inaugural staging of UNI were Amanda Smith, Dance Theatre of Harlem; Jose Carlos Losada, Former principal Dancer of National Ballet of Cuba; Hannah Kickert, former artist with the Vienna State National Ballet; Vitolio Jeune, Garth Fagan Dance Company, Anica Bottom, Lines Ballet Graduate & Princess Grace nominee; Fabiola Jean Louis, Haitian-born renowned artist and photographer and Steven Baboun, Haitian Visual Artist.
“UNI was created with the support of the Consulate General of Haiti in New York to provide a platform avenue where the talents of a number of emerging and established Haitian visual and performing artists can be celebrated and promoted,” noted Placide. “It is hoped that the event which coincided with the celebration of the 215th anniversary of the Haitian Flag will become an annual event where we can showcase the richness and diversity of the Haitian culture.”