Family. Dance. Art. Culture.
Afoutayi Haitian Dance, Music and Arts is a performance company and nonprofit arts organization incorporated in the state of Minnesota and fiscally sponsored by Indigenous Roots in Saint Paul, MN. Our mission is to promote Haitian and Afro-Caribbean heritage and diversify contemporary representations of Haiti through music, art, dance, and history education. We envision a world where Haitian and Afro-Caribbean cultural heritage is a fundamental part of youth education and success to enrich communities of different backgrounds.
In 2009, Djenane Saint Juste arrived from Haiti and founded the company in the Bay Area to address the serious lack of Haitian cultural representation. In its augural year, Afoutayi hosted the first Haitian Dance, Music and Art Festival at Mission High School in San Francisco on the anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres, honoring the turning point in the Haitian War of Liberation through a traditional opening ceremony, community gathering, workshops, performances, and lectures. During its five-year tenure in the Bay Area, the company performed original works interpreting the Haitian tradition of Vodou at prestigious events and institutions such as the Cuba Caribe Festival, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, and Stanford University.
The company relocated to the Twin Cities in 2014 and continues to grow as Minnesota’s premier Haitian arts and cultural organization. Until 2018, Afoutayi presented its hallmark annual festival and developed it into a hub for Afro-centric movement and music through its collaborations with notable artists from the African and Afro-Caribbean diaspora. Today, Afoutayi hosts residencies, workshops, ceremonies, and lectures in schools and the community to challenge students and attendees to think and move outside of their familiar habits.