Faculty Fellow Lecture Series: “Yanvalou For Haiti: An Affective Ethnography of Ayikodans’ Cry Haiti Mother”

Date / Time

February 1, 2024

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The UIC Institute for the Humanities presents the following as part of our Faculty Fellow Lecture Series: “Yanvalou For Haiti: An Affective Ethnography of Ayikodans’ Cry Haiti Mother.”

The presentation surveys interpretations of Haitian embodiment that emerged immediately following the country’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in which 250,000 Haitians perished. Namely, choreographer Jeanguy Saintus’ “Anmwey Haiti Manman” (Cry Haiti Mother) is a focused response to national and international journalistic reports and public discourse, which positioned Haitianness as Voodoo.

Investigating Saintus’ motivation to withdraw the choreography from his repertory despite its critical success, the presentation considers these complementary points: his company Ayikodans’ labor to direct attention to longstanding White supremacist machinations that silence Haiti, its people, their life and worlds, and the performers’ maneuvers through media depictions of the country’s centuries of structural problems, political turmoil, economic precarity and collective unrest. Haitian Vodou’s “Yanvalou” pedagogies intermeshed with the ensemble’s dramaturgical choices situate the choreography within a Haitian/Black social history that mobilizes relationally constituted narratives of precarity and rebirth in Haiti.

Mario LaMothe is an assistant professor in the departments of Black studies and anthropology. LaMothe’s research focuses on embodied pedagogies of Haitian and Caribbean arts and expressive cultures, and the intersections of queer lifeworlds and social justice in Haiti. His work has appeared in e-mesferica, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies, Women and Performance, the Journal of Haitian Studies, The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, and Duke University Press’ co-edited volume “Race and Performance after Repetition.” A performance artist and arts manager, LaMothe received a doctorate in performance studies from Northwestern University.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email