RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination Cuba!

$4,460 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 46 people in 19 months
RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination Cuba!

August 4-13, 2017

Greetings Rara Tou Limen Supporters, Friends, Family, and Loyal Dance Community, 

First, I would like to thank you for giving your time and attention to this campaign. Rara Tou Limen (RTL) Haitian Dance Company continues to further the company’s vision, to Uplift, Inspire, & Inform in our community work and studies locally and abroad. Each new year offers new opportunities to LEARN, STRETCH and GROW. This year, 2017 provides RTL with a chance to embark on a new journey, in Cuba!

About Us

Rara Tou Limen Haitian Dance Company has consistently offered Bay Area residents, and people from all over the United States, the opportunity to experience Haitian culture through classes, workshops, performances and educational events in the United States and Haiti. Our troupe of dancers, vocalists and celebrated musicians, bring traditional rhythms, chants and movement to the stage, infused with the grace, strength, fluidity and precision of Haitian Folklore. Rara Tou Limen is committed to preserving and nurturing Haitian dance and musical traditions in the Bay Area.

Our mission is to educate audiences about the richness of Haitian culture through artistic expression, while building working relationships with other Haitian cultural groups in the U.S., Haiti, Canada, and now in Cuba. In our 13-year history, we have been recognized through grants and awards from esteemed funders like the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Theater Bay Area CA$H Grants, Akonadi Foundation, and most recently, the company received its first grant from Haiti! FOKAL - (Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète).

Our Current Project – To Get Her: There

To Get Her: There

Our bodies move their echoes
Invoked by the rumbling drum
Their face mesh my face and their memory is founded in the curl of my lip
Top lip
The future is worn on my skin
Flat feet to flat backs
Beaten skin cries for hugs and we wrap oneself in embrace
One leap instead of plié
In light
In flight
Through sweat
The hum crossed over
So we follow the hum
Deepen the flex of the foot
The root of the inhale
The future in our bend
We Arch our backs
To ...Get...Her (together)

Copyright © 2017 Tossie Long. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2017 Luke Atwood Abiol.
All Rights Reserved.

Haiti. Canada. CUBA! The journey continues...

Through hard work, determination, faith, patience, blood, sweat and tears, RTL crossed the waters August 20, 2014 from Oakland to Haiti to fulfill a DREAM. A MISSION. We strengthened and fortified historical legacies and established community ties that will bind us for life. August 10, 2016, onward to Canada to explore through creative process, commemorate Bwa Kayiman, and to salute the contributions of heroic women who played a part in the Haitian Revolution, specifically those of Cécile Fatiman.

I am herstory. Together in Spirit. Together in Dance. Together we continue herstory.

“To Get Her: There” is an ancestral story and journey from Haiti, Canada, to Cuba that we are about to relive, study and share through our travels. Together they went and together we shall go. We are living herstory and to honor the herstory we are creating Together... right now.

About The Trip

RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination Cuba!

I had the pleasure of studying with Isaias Rojas Ramirez during a company tour with Ban Rarra in SF, California on December 1, 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed how he relayed the connection between Cuban and Haitian dance, the technique of Gaga, the use of the skirt, breath technique and more. More than just steps across the floor, it was a DANCE + EDUCATIONAL experience.

(portsha jefferson & isaias rojas ramirez, SF 2017)

Trusting the timing of life and seizing the opportunity, I stepped foot on Cuban soil, December 15, 2016, embarking on a journey of self-discovery, renewal and cultural immersion.

"In the end, she became more than what she expected. She became the journey, and like all journeys, she did not end, she just simply changed directions and kept going” ~r.m.drake

Dance workshops with Isaias and Ban Rarra gave me life! Spirit uplifted and inspired by the rigorous dance instruction, and cultural information received, I immediately begin preparing for Rara Tou Limen to experience the renewal of self, revival of self and expansion of self that I experienced in Cuba. It’s important to me that The Company is afforded the opportunity to deepen knowledge and expand dance vocabulary physically through movement, musically through song and drums and spiritually by connecting with spiritual traditions of Haiti in Cuba. SPIRIT is always alive and moving through the work that we do!

Not only that! I have the honor of teaching a Haitian Folkloric dance class while in Cuba this summer. I am so thrilled to share the rhythms and dance of Haiti with dance students in Cuba. We will bring that RTL FIRE and give them a chance to revel in the experience enjoyed by our dedicated students and community in Oakland, CA.

(Havana, Cuba | 2017)

Isaias Rojas Ramirez is the founder and artistic director of Ban Rarra, one of Havana's premiere dance companies. Ban Rarra was established in 1994 to preserve and perform folkloric and popular Cuban dance/music forms, particularly those that originated in Guantanamo, a province in eastern Cuba. Isaias is a descendent of Haitians and specializes in the traditional dance form called Haitiano Cubano (Haitian Cuban). A graduate of the Instituto Superior de Artes de Cuba, Isaias' research specialty is the investigation of Vodu in Guatanamo. Ban Rarra performs the result of his research (Vodu, Gaga, Tumba Francesa, Tajona, and Papa Guede) displaying the Cuban-Haitian traditions that are alive in eastern Cuba.

To further artistic growth, and aid in both personal and professional development, RTL company members will partake in a dance intensive program that focuses on technical training in Afro Cuban dance styles, Yoruba/Lucumí traditions and Cuban-Haitian traditions. The company will specifically explore dance traditions that were brought to the Eastern shores of Cuba by waves of migration from Haiti.

As part of this trip:

· RTL will have an opportunity to dance with members of Ban Rarra in a class setting. Establishing a connection that will eventually lead to a larger working relationship + performance with both companies.

· The goal of the classes/study is to develop technique and gain an ethnographic perspective of Cuban-Haitian culture.

· Upon return from Cuba, RTL will continue the work and training with Cheo Rojas Ramirez (Isaias' brother) who currently resides in the Bay Area. Cheo will set choreography on the company to be performed in the Bay Area in 2018.

14 hours later... I made it to Santiago de Cuba to study with  these two beautiful souls!

Maria (Michi) de los Angeles Rios Arrate | Ballet Folkloric Cutumba & Sergio Hechavarría | Artistic Director of Ballet Folklorico

(Teatro Heredia, Santiago de Cuba)

How  You Can Help

"Men anpil chay pa lou"
Many hands make the load lighter

This is where you, our beloved community, come in!
I humbly write to ask for your support towards, RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination CUBA! Your generous, tax deductible donations will allow RTL to travel to Havana, Cuba to study and train with Cuban culture bearers who are upholding Haitian and Creole culture in Cuba. We would be honored to have you, our beloved Bay Area dance community, help us spread the message of love and light for Haiti.

We are grateful for all the love and support our dance community has shown us. To make this trip successful, we need your financial assistance. Our goal is to raise $10,000. Rara Tou Limen company members are currently hard at work raising funds towards this trip. Your generous donations towards our financial goal will cover:

Artistic Fees: Dance Instructors, Drummers, Dance Studio

RTL will host some events to help reach our goal. Won’t you join us?

RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination Cuba! “FUN” raisers:

May 18, 2017
Haitian Flag Day + Kanaval Dance Workshop

June 9, 2017
Friday Night Groove!
Afrobeat. Rara/Kanaval. Racine (roots) music

June 25, 2017
Cuban Haitian / Haitian Folkloric Dance Workshop with Cheo Rojas Ramirez & Portsha T. Jefferson

July 7, 2017
Friday Night Groove! (2)
Afrobeat. Rara/Kanaval. Racine (roots) music

“To Get Her: There” Wall Prints

Enhance any room with a unique print from RTL’s recent photo shoot, “To Get Her: There”
Visit raratoulimen.bigcartel.com

Copyright © 2017 Luke Atwood Abiol.
All Rights Reserved.

As activists, educators, scholars, spiritualists, dancers and musicians, we are honored to represent the Bay Area and participate in "RTL Vodou Voyage: Destination CUBA!

Thank you for your consideration of this initiative and appreciate your time and valued support.


Portsha Terae Jefferson
Artistic Director, Rara Tou Limen

+ Read More
RTL had our final fundraiser for Cuba, July 7th at Bliss. What a blissful time, dancing to the sounds of Racine and Kanaval music! A good time was had by all. Thank you ladies for showing up and showing out! A special shout out to my homegirl, who I go waaaay back with, Tambra Harris, dance extraordinaire, for blessing us with her presence all the way from Atlanta. You are such a force, Sis! Appreciate you so much for the support. I'll see you on your side, next!
+ Read More
While we were cheering for our mighty Warriors, we were also at Bliss Fitness and Health getting our groove on! RTL's second fundraiser was fun and festive! We raised $100, which is going into the pot "To Get Her: There." Give thanks to everyone in attendance.

Missed it? By popular demand, Friday Night Groove will return in July! This will be RTL's final fundraiser before we depart. You don't need a club! Come through to the studio instead, and get your Friday Night Groove on with us!

July 7th
Bliss Fitness and Health
4268 Broadway | Oakland, CA.
Donation: $20

Friday Night Groove in MOTION!
+ Read More
On May 18th, we raised $200, while raising the Haitian flag, on Haitian flag day! Great music, energy and beautiful vibes. give thanks to all in attendance and to Bliss Fitness and Health for providing the space.

Stay tuned for Part 2! Dance + Fitness, coupled with Afro Beat, Rara & Racine music. Guaranteed to get you movin'!
Celebrating Haitian Flag Day!
+ Read More
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$4,460 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 46 people in 19 months
Created April 28, 2017
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16 months ago
Nadia Dieudonné
16 months ago

All the best Rara!

Nina Schnall
16 months ago

Bon voyage! xo Nina

Friday Night Groove - July 7th @ Bliss Fitness and Health
16 months ago (Offline Donation)
Veronica Howard Soto
17 months ago

I pray your journey is filled with every good and great ancestral spirit dedicated to leading, teaching, and protecting you and your company/friends. My time is not now, but please carry me with you in your heart. Love, V (#demcountrygirls)

John Ortiz
17 months ago

My dear, let me know next time you go to Cuba or Haiti, I'd love to go with you and your group. Not sure when I'll be in Bay Area it's more likely we'd see each other in the Caribbean, lol. Ayiee bo bo and mucho ache.

Natalia Lawrence
17 months ago

Make magic!

Elizabeth Soberanes
17 months ago

so inspired by all of you....

17 months ago
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