Port-au-Prince ~ Haiti
Visionary choreographer, dancer and teacher Jeanguy Saintus is the co-founder of the Ayikodans dance company. Saintus received his Prince Claus Award for his exciting, contemporary work that links the spiritual with the physical and focuses on the human body, and for stimulating dance, young talent and a sense of pride in the strength, beauty and richness of Haitian identity. Visionary choreographer, dancer and educator, Jeanguy Saintus expresses the rich fusion of Caribbean culture and the contemporary life of his country through the body. He studied anthropology, sociology and languages, taught himself Haitian, classical and modern dance and co-founded Ayikodans, a group that has matured over 20 years, establishing a centre and training programme. Researching and producing a new performance every year, Saintus continuously pushes the limits of modern dance. Folk performance, free improvisation, voodoo religious culture and varied African, indigenous Indian and French influences can be found in his work and his Afro-Contemporary technique offers a unique vocabulary. Saintus’s experimentation has significantly developed Caribbean dance, rooting it in the region’s historical experience while exploring subjects such as the experience of people dying of Aids, the long journey to freedom, and tensions between ancestral forces and contemporary rituals. To expand local possibilities, Saintus runs an annual workshop for talented youngsters unable to afford tuition, organises cultural exchanges, invites guest artists to Ayikodans, teaches in Jamaica and works internationally. Jeanguy Saintus is awarded for his exciting contemporary work that connects the spiritual and the physical and honours the human body, for expanding the possibilities of the dance medium and fostering young talent, and for inspiring pride in the strength, beauty and richness of Haitian identity.