Haitian culture comes alive with ‘Sans-Souci’

UNI, a Haitian an artist collective, says it is collaborating with the Consulate General of Haiti in New York in celebrating Haitian Flag Day on May 18 at the Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square in Manhattan under the theme, “San-Souci.”

Sans-Souci means without worries and was the name of the first royal palace in the Caribbean, situated in Haiti, UNI said on Sunday.

First held on May 18 last year for the 215th anniversary of the Haitian Flag, UNI is an annual event that showcases the richness and diversity of Haitian culture. It is the brainchild of Haitian professional dancer Sanford Placide.

Placide, who now calls New York City home, said he created UNI “as a means of commemorating Haitian Flag Day and celebrating the nation’s rich cultural heritage.” Placide has traveled extensively and has mesmerized audiences globally with his amazing talents.

Among the artists confirmed for Sans-Souci are: Amanda Smith, Dance Theatre of Harlem; Haitian master drummer Jean Guy “Fanfan” Rene accompanied by his wife Sirène Dantor Sainvil; Haitian break dancer StevenVilsaint of Accent Dance; and Haitian super model Tasha Poupée, who will be styled by the Jamaican-born, New York-based fashion designer D’Marsh Couture.

Placide said UNI and the Haitian Consulate will honor, at the event, some prominent Haitian figures, “who have made their mark on national development and have contributed to preserving Haitian culture through the support of UNI.”

Among the honorees this year: Tony Delerme, Haitian actor, director and filmmaker; Lionel Moise, two-time Emmy Award winning journalist and host of Business Insider Today; and Carl and George Daguillard, president and vice president, respectively, of Stellae International, Inc.

“Rehearsals are now underway and the final touches being put on this year’s staging of UNI, an elegant evening of dance, fashion and music in celebration of the 216th anniversary of the Haitian flag,” Placide said.

Built in 1810 – 1813, less than a decade after the Haitian independence victory, Placide said the Sans-Souci Palace once referred to as the Versailles of the Caribbean, was the first palace of its kind in the new world that housed a black king and queen.

He said the palace was built “to show other civilizations that, no matter the color their skin, Haitians were capable of building and enjoying the same luxury.

“Haitians should be proud of not only the flag but also monuments like the Sans-Souci Palace that have contributed so greatly to our history,” he said. “Sans-Souci will be a vision of what it would have been like to attend an evening at the court of such a marvelous place.”

Placide said tickets for UNI 2019 are now available at www.uni-arts.org.

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