DanceForce Member: Diana Cherryholmes
Artists: Tatiana Desardouin, Mai Lê Ho
Community Partners: Venettes Cultural Workshop; Wyandanch Community Resource Center; Wyandanch Plaza Association; Wyandanch Youth Center
Tatiana Desardouin, Founder and Artistic Director, Passion Fruit Dance Company, specializes in Hip-Hop and House Dance. She currently dances with Rennie Harris Pure Movement. Next year Passion Fruit Dance Company will perform at BAAD, Pregones Theater, Spring UP Festival PA, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Desardouin is Swiss born and of Haitian heritage. Her Haitian heritage and ability to speak Creole will be an incredible asset for this project. A large segment of the Wyandanch population is Haitian. Community event posters are regularly translated into Creole.
Mai Lê Ho dances with Passion Fruit Dance Company and Rennie Harris Pure Movement. Mai Lê is the Program Director of It’s Showtime NYC!, a program that celebrates NYC street culture and provides performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers. The program is administered by Dancing In The Streets.
Wyandanch has long been a center for African-American life on Long Island. The first lots in Wyandanch were sold to black families as early as the late 1920s. The community grew substantially in the 1950s and 1960s; however, with the lack of significant commercial or industrial tax base and a relatively poor population, by the mid-1970s the area was in debt. In 2000 Wyandanch was ranked as the most economically distressed community on Long Island. Wyandanch Rising was developed by the Town of Babylon, in which Wyandanch Hamlet resides, in 2002. Since then the area has transformed around its LIRR station with two apartment buildings above commercial businesses, a new commuter parking garage, and public plaza. Wyandanch Plaza Association organized in 2016 as a 501(c)(3) organization to provide programming in the public park.
Tatiana Desardouin has been teaching Hip-Hop and House for 11 years. Through her teaching she has realized that people weren’t just learning dance moves, but a way of life. Many of her students who were not seeking professional dance careers found in dancing elements that were helpful in their growth, their confidence, their self-esteem, their creativity, and their motivation.
With Mai Lê Ho, Desardouin has created a teaching program utilizing Hip-Hop and House Dance styles and music. The goals of the workshops are:
• To gain an appreciation for the House and Hip-Hop cultures.
• To gain knowledge about the foundations,
• To develop a sense of rhythm and musicality.
• To learn how to freestyle using the different tools being taught.
• To develop creativity within those two dance styles.
• To identify students’ strengths in order to create teamwork using each individual’s competencies.
The class structure will include learning the basic steps, and how to be creative within those styles through routines, freestyle exercise, foundation drill exercises, and exchanges.
All classes will be in the Wyandanch Plaza Park, 40 Station Drive, Wyandanch, NY. The instructors will be on a stage, which will have a dance floor installed for this activity; the students will be dancing on the paved park surface.
There will be four classes in which they will create a piece that they will show to each other the last day. Depending on the number of youth and adults, they may break the class into two groups.