Links to Haiti – Celebrating International Communities

We invite art and dance lovers to join Links Hall and experience Haiti’s rich cultural offerings live and in person. In addition to exploring Haiti under the guidance of Haitian and Haitian American artists, Links to Haiti travelers will be part of the research process of Onye Ozuzu’s Joyce Award-winning Project Tool in a cultural exchange with Dieufel Lamisere’s Dance To Save Lives/HaitiDansCo.as they develop their new works to premiere at the 2019 Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago.

Links to Haiti Partners

Black Arts Retreat

Creating, connecting and rejuvenating in a safe and natural space,Black Arts Retreat (BAR) was founded in 2013 with the simple, yet profound mission of uniting lovers and practitioners of the African Diasporic Cultural Arts. Since that time, BAR has hosted four Black Arts Retreats in the northeast United States and three international retreats in Berlin, Germany, Dominica, West Indies and Bahia, Brazil. This independently organized retreat series is a haven for creators of all kinds, including those who don’t consider themselves to be artists (yet). Through the years BAR has brought together a dynamic international tribe to commune in nature, immerse in creativity and connect to each other across all perceived boundaries.

Project Tool

Project Tool is a dance performance installation in which Onye Ozuzu has been building a collection of sprung wood dance floors with a team of collaborators. What is learned physically, emotionally, and conceptually in the process of building has become the material used to craft the performance. This project stems from Ozuzu’s fascination with the inter-relationships between body, task, and tool. The act of building this floor explores the use of tools as if they are partners in a dance with the body. This project carries on through Ozuzu’s body and the bodies of other dancers who participate through the skills and know-how to make the floors upon which they dance and the opportunity to channel that practicality into their artistic practices. Project Tool offers the opportunity to stand strong in the embodied fact that we can literally build our own platforms.

Project Tool is a 2016 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist recipient as well as a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Links Hall in partnership with Dancing Grounds and NPN. Project Tool was supported by a Rebuild Foundation residency at Dorchester Art Housing Collaborative. This project is also partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Finally, this project was made possible through a grant from 3Arts that was partially supported by 67 donors to 3AP (3Arts Projects), including: Dawoud Bey, Dionne Champion, Margi Cole, Osubi Craig, Kristina Fluty, Darrell Jones, Stephanie Kobes, Lisa Lee, Jewel Malone, Mazi Mutafa, Pranita Nayar, Eliza Nichols, Chiedu Ozuzu, Justin Richards, Donatto Surratt, Kubilay Uner, Zachary Whittenburg, Fo Wilson, and The Instigation Festival.

HaitiDansCo. / Dance To Save Lives

Founded by dancer/choreographer Dieufel Lamisere, Dance To Save Lives provides orphans and homeless teenagers the necessary resources to keep them off the streets.They train youth in Haitian folkloric and modern dance forms. These accessible activities and services are provided daily for free in the city of Jacmel, Haiti. The students are immersed in the world of dance, allowing them to learn what it takes to be a professional performing artist, choreographer and/or dance Instructor. They also gain experience by touring as performers across the country of Haiti as HaitiDansCo./Dance To Save Lives maximizes the potential of the youth by exposing them to the rich traditional and contemporary aspects of Haitian culture through the lens of the performing arts. The organization hopes to increase the number of opportunities for these students to become successful performing artists of the future in Haiti. Mr. Lamisere began HaitiDansCo in NYC performing in the US and internationally. Today the dancers perform throughout Haiti and most recently toured to the Dominican Republic.

Marie Casimir

I produce performance, cultural events, multidisciplinary works, and exhibitions.

Djaspora Productions is my new company which bridges and celebrates the diverse human experience using arts and culture as a means to share, create, impact change and inspire others to act as global citizens in our own backyard and abroad. We work With and For creatives of color from all walks of life providing professional resources and building community across geography and interests so that we can thrive TOGETHER.

Roell Schmidt

Since 2009, Roell Schmidt has been the Director of Links Hall – Chicago’s experimental dance and performance incubator founded in 1978. With musician/presenter Mike Reed, she opened Constellation | Links Hall – a collaborative arts venue for dance, music and progressive performance in 2013. She is dedicated to fostering generosity, equitable partnerships, and artistic risk in the creation and public sharing of original live art. She is currently part of the Ragdale’s Curatorial Board and Navy Pier’s Program Committee. Prior to Links, she worked with Lookingglass Theatre Company, The Chicago Chamber Musicians, and as a freelance film/theater maker. She has served on the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council, the National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network’s U.S./Japan Connection Curatorial Team, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum board and consortium, and the Joseph Jefferson Awards Arts Technical team as well as on local, regional and national grant panels. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Felicia Holman

Lifelong Chicagoan, artist and Prince fanFeliciaHolman is Communication Director and staff producer at Links Hall. She is also a co-founder of both the Art Leaders of Color Network (‘ALCN’) and creative collective Honey Pot Performance (‘HPP’). Feliciacreates, presents and supports original interdisciplinary performance which engages audience and inspires community.Feliciarelishes her dynamic artrepreneurial life and sums it up in 3 words—”Creator, Connector, Conduit“.