Dance review

Haitian troupe performs at South Miami-Dade center

Haitian modern dance troupe Compagnie de Danse Jean-Rene Delsoin was enthusiastically received at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. The program of four works, mostly classic modern dance with some traditional Haitian influences, plus powerful drumming had the audience standing and cheering by the end Saturday night.

The Delsoin company appeared as part of the State Department touring program Center Stage, which aims to familiarize American audiences with the cultures of Haiti, Pakistan and Indonesia.

The performance, while earnest and intense, did not rise to the highest levels either choreographically or technically. Delsoin’s dances often meandered, repeating themselves past the point of being effective. He mixed vague emotional expressionism and, in the final Drum Passion, energetic Haitian dance with movement similar to the classic, muscular modern dance done by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where Delsoin studied, but without the Ailey troupe’s virtuosity or sculptural clarity.

The exception, movement-wise, was Divinely Guided, with Teophilio Tattegrain and the laser-focused Makerson Francois dancing to stripped-down electro-pop by fellow dancer Judner Rock. The two men moved in smooth, mechanistic, repetitive, often identical or closely linked patterns around a bench, bursting into laughter as they approach the wings as if suddenly discovering they didn’t need to keep up this relentless work. It was initially effective, but went on longer than it needed to make an impact.

In Gason Solid, which told the story of a man after a traumatic, shipwrecked crossing, a resonant theme for Haitians, Hugues H.T. Dupiton clambered onstage from the audience, then arched and writhed to the soulful singing of Erol Josue. In Trilogy, Dupiton, Francois and Rock, wearing white loincloths, crouch in white buckets and smear rust-colored liquid across each other’s torsos and faces. But the promisingly ritualistic atmosphere and stark shapes were diluted by a long section of vague movement.

In the final piece, Drum Passion, the four men and the fiery Jennifer Jessie Castil, accompanied by drummers Fritzner Dauphin, Gerald Dauphin and Rodrigue Jean-Baptiste, worked up ferocious energy with pulsing, stomping, limb-waving Afro-Haitian dance. They created some striking images as when they slowly squatted and posed atop tall drums and when the men lifted Castil high above them. But like the other pieces, Drum Passion squandered its power by going on too long.

Read more Entertainment stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category