Philadelphia Dancers on a Mission to Haiti

In July, Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective (IPDC) will be traveling to Haiti with a team of dancers, musicians, a medical doctor and an elementary school teacher will work with children devastated by the recent earthquake.  It is the mission of IPDC to share the joy of creation and artistic expression with children who have experienced a natural and/or a socio-economic disaster.

IPDC was initially contacted by L’Universite Chretienne du Nord d’Haiti because of the organization’s previous work in New Orleans and Philadelphia.  UCNH is located in Limbe, a town that has become a refuge for families and children from Port au Prince.  UCNH specifically requested that Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective work with the displaced children because of the organization’s history in both trauma recovery and the arts.

The IPDC camp in Haiti will feature hip-hop, ballet, modern and even swing dance!  Most importantly, however, they will be working with the children to find their own expressive movement.  IPDC has always placed its focus on the native culture of the people they serve.  So while teaching skills and technique, the children bring  their own movement vocabulary and in exchange teach IDPC members as well!  These cultural learning opportunities give children a sense of pride in themselves and their community.  They learn to express themselves in a healthy, creative way.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty.”  Those figures were before the earthquake, and those percentages are expected to increase in the economic aftermath.  IPDC will be working with children who have very little.  But, that has always been a part of their mission.  Nicole LaBlonde, Executive Director of IDPC,  goes on to explain, “being an artist is, essentially, creating something out of nothing.  A dancer has just her body.  A musician has an odd combination of wood and metal.  A writer starts with a blank piece of paper, the sculptor with a block of clay. The artist in each views the emptiness and oddness and sees inspiration and potential– their dreams, waiting to be realized.”

IPDC believes every child deserves the opportunity to share his/her story.  They use play as a means to explore, express and find hope in frightening times.  While working with IPDC, students learn that their artistic voices deserve to be heard.  Through this unique creative exchange, they gain self-confidence, a major accomplishment given their adverse living situations.  Children each have a story to tell and Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective teaches them the creative skills necessary to make their voices heard.

If you would like to help Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective with their mission in Haiti, the public can donate any of the following items: sheets, towels, pillows, sports drinks, single serving snacks, batteries, flashlights, battery operated fans, bubbles, side walk chalk, shoes (both for dance and street wear), musical instruments and supplies – drums, acoustic guitars, drum sticks and guitar strings.

Supplies can be dropped off at the IPDC office at 10 E. Athens Ave., Suite 204, Ardmore, PA or Motions Dance and Fitness Shoppe in Drexel Hill.  All supplies will remain in Haiti for use by the people of Limbe. Please contact the IPDC office at 610-642-4630 or info@indigenouspitch.org for more information or to arrange a pick-up.

About IPDC
Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective, Inc. is a collective of ethnically diverse Philadelphia-based dance companies whose goal is to create and perform works of artistic excellence that reflect and highlight the diversity of our city and its native, homegrown dance styles. We support emerging choreographers by providing rehearsal space, critical feedback and performance opportunities in which to explore and develop their artistic styles. Through the art of dance, we assist and nurture children affected by natural and/or socio-economic disasters. We fulfill this mission with performances, residencies and workshops throughout the United States and abroad.