Djenane Saint Juste

First Year on the Cowles Center Roster: 2019

Arts in Education Programs: Workshops, First Moves, Dance without Barriers

Style(s): Folkloric Haitian Dances, Caribean Dances, Creative Movement, and Latin Social Dance

Teaching Artist Philosophy: “I teach to inspire, to connect, to communicate, to share my knowledge, and to express my love and joy of dancing. I am responsible for providing rich experiences for all types of learners to grow from. My goal as a dance educator is instill in students a strong sense of self confidence, personal connection with their surroundings, and various life skills that they can use to function appropriately in society. In order to achieve this goal; I would consistently encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, self- motivation and discipline. It is important to create an atmosphere where students can feel comfortable enough to take risks as they explore their bodies through movement and other dance elements such as space, time, and energy.”

Djenane Saint Juste, a native of Haiti, is the Artistic Director of Afoutayi Haitian Dance, Music and Arts Company. Djenane has been a dance teacher working with k-12 students and adults for over 25 years, in French, Creole, Spanish and English. She is a professional choreographer, dancer, actress, vocalist, and writer specializing in Haitian traditional dance and folklore. She received a BA in Physical Education in Cuba, a MAEd at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and a license in ELL. Djenane has also been trained in Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, Ballroom, and Zumba at the Institut de Danse JAKA, Institut de Dance Vivianne Gauthier, Artcho Dance Company in Haiti, and in other prestigious dance companies in the U.S. She is the creator and instigator of the Annual Haitian Cultural Festival, and has brought exciting new themes and activities to engage participants in Haitian culture since the first Haitian Festival in 2009. Djenane has dedicated herself to the research, development and promotion of traditional Haitian dance, song and storytelling. She is a former faculty member in the world dance department at the Saint Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and an artist in residence at Hamline University and St. Olaf University. Djenane's work towards the preservation of Haitian culture has been documented in works such as "Making Caribbean Dance" by Susanna Sloat, as well as "Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince (Voice of Witness)" by Peter Orner, Evan Lyon, and Edwidge Danticat. In 2018 Djenane was the recipient of the “NAACP” and the Haitian Community of Minnesota Award of Excellence for her outstanding contributions and commitment in advancing the culture and causes for communities of color in Minnesota.