Digital Performance: Jean Appolon Expressions, Traka

Trauma, Haiti, and the Healing Power of Dance

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Traka, the newest work from Cambridge-based Haitian choreographer Jean Appolon, means “Troubles” in Haitian Creole and explores how dance, community, and culture are pathways to healing from traumatic events. Inspired by Appolon’s own healing process after his father was murdered in Haiti’s 1991 coup, Traka uses Haitian folkloric dance and contemporary dance to depict the journey of a country and a people working through generational trauma. 

Appolon teams with Haitian composer, turntablist, and Afro-futurist Val Jeanty (Val-Inc), who creates Vodou-inspired contemporary soundscapes that provide the rhythmic foundation for Appolon’s heartfelt and thought-provoking work.   

The Boston Globe reviewed the work’s May 2022 premiere at the Institute for Contemporary Art, and wrote, “Traka reminds us that whatever language colonialism and slavery speak, dance is the language of liberation.”