Yaquimo shadows

Inspiration to a Performance Space

The picture above was taken at Yaquimo Beach (down Grande Rue), during a Salsa dance session.  The venue is a two-story tall  “Choukoun”, traditional circular Haitian gathering space with a thatched-roof and no walls. The first floor of Yaquimo is a restaurant. The dance lessons took place on the top floor.

As the light bounced back from the neighbors’ wall which showcased a colorful mural, it animated the space… It was great to see the shadows dancing together. There was no city electricity; the only light came from small light-bulbs powered by a generator. There was also no music but the shadows followed a rhythm with the energetic teachers’ instructions. All could make out the song, in their head, with their companion.

Lights Camera Action

This reminds me of an observation one architect made about her stay in Jacmel while working for the construction of a school there. She thought the city looked like the backdrop to a James Bond movie… exotic, tranquil (until something happens), rich, scenic…. It truly does.

While one cares about exhibiting in Jacmel, there is a sense of the action behind the work. The city seems to be constantly producing. It was a treat to visit the school that applies the best to this reality. Ciné Institute, tucked away in a closed down hotel “Indian Rock Hotel” has been functioning since 2006. It started by an initiative of the founders to start a film festival in the city. Film Festival Jakmel.

Today, Ciné Institute plays an important role in bringing people into the city of Jacmel. When I met David Belle, the founder of the school, he mentioned that in 4 days, he already had 4 private jets fly into the city with celebrities such as Adriana Lima (what a coincidence that her name is Adriana) Russel James and Donna Karan.

I have been watching Ciné Institute grow from afar, for a while now, and I was glad to visit the place, meet David Belle and some of the students. They have been working very hard at shining a positive light unto the city, once again demonstrating the impressive sense of progressive civic responsibility the Jacmelians have.

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