Passion Fruit Dance in the Hudson Valley

Year: 2023-2024
DanceForce Member: Ivan Sygoda
Partnering DanceForce Members: Elena Mosley, Toni Smith
Artists: Tatiana Desardouin; Lauriane Ogay
Community Partner: Adam Weinert (Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, Tivoli)
Audience: 61
Counties: Columbia, Dutchess

Tatiana Desardouin, the 2022 Juried Bessie Artist, was born in Switzerland of Haitian parents. She became entranced by hip-hop and related forms and eventually emigrated to the United States, where she worked for many years with Rennie Harris. In 2016 she established the Passion Fruit Dance Company, a New York City-based street dance theater and educational troupe whose mission is to share the authentic roots and distinct contributions of Afro-American Street & Clubbing dance styles and culture.

The company’s current project is to develop Dimensions, an ambitious full-evening multi-media work that fuses sound and movement and dynamic visual projections to express the myriad possibilities of the grounded body. DanceForce has committed itself to support the creation of the new work. Each of the DanceForce residencies detailed here and elsewhere include studio time for the artists as well as 2 opportunities to engage with the public about the cultural implications of the company’s work.

The Passion Fruit Hudson Valley component comprised two sections. A half-week residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in September focused on pure movement creation. Public-facing activities include a movement workshop in Hudson hosted by DanceForce member Elena Mosley followed by dialog with the participants and a second workshop on the Kaatsbaan campus. In April, the company had a week of access to Kaatsbaan’s theater and technical facilities in addition to the presence of Tatiana’s visual and musical collaborators to further the multi-media aspects of Dimensions. There was also a second workshop in Hudson. The week culminated in a public presentation at Kaatsbaan of newly created sections followed by dialogue with the audience.

Work on the multi-media aspects of Dimensions proved to be time consuming and labor intensive. In May, under the aegis of DanceForce member Jim Self (See his entry above), Tatiana Desardouin and Lauriane Ogay were able to mount a multi-week gallery display at The Cherry Space in Ithaca that complemented their performance and significantly enriched the experience they intended to share with participants. Work on Dimensions will continue during 2024-2025. We are happy to confirm that occasional DanceForce fellow traveler Jodee Nimerichter will invite PassionFruit to present the completed work at Meredith College in North Carolina in the context of the 2025 American Dance Festival. Thus, and as never before in its decade-long commitment to the remarkable succession of Juried Bessie Artists, DanceForce can effectively claim to have collaboratively co-commissioned a new work of dance from an artist of distinction.