Sanford Placide: From Haiti to Dance Theater of Harlem


Sanford Placide was recently featured in L’Union Suite, where the Haitian-born dancer wrote about his life before making his New York City debut with the legendary Dance Theater of Harlem (DTH). Here are excerpts from L’Union Suite:

My name is Sanford Placide and I am a professional ballet dancer, born and raised in Haiti. I am currently dancing my first season with the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem, based in New York City.

[. . .] Though a more detailed version of the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s history can be found online, libraries and museums, it was only by coincidence I watched the company for the first time on video, performing one of their ballets titled Banda, created by Geoffrey Holder showcasing Haitian vodou culture and “legba”.

I started folkloric dances only because of my lack of talent in piano back home and I didn’t really know much about classical ballet beside the pictures I had seen from encyclopedias and TV shows.  However, seeing that video I became intrigued that the company had not only produced a ballet about my culture but also wore tights and tutus and performed to classical music as well as other traditional ballet companies.

That year, studying in Miami with Ballet Etudes of South Florida, my teachers advised me to apply for their summer program in which I was accepted on a full tuition scholarship at the intermediate level. After attending that summer, I was accepted at and attended other summer or full year programs at other prestigious establishments including American Ballet Theatre, Lines Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Austin, and Miami City Ballet, just to name a few.

In 2010, I moved to New York determined to be a ballet dancer and trained privately under the tutelage of Nadege Hottier, while attending ballet school full time. [. . .]

For full post by Placide, see

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