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When I entered the Little Haiti Cultural Center (LHCC) for Same Stage, a night of multicultural dance organized by Afua Hall during the Discover Art! Family Festival, I felt numb and listless, blue and exhausted from the real and imagined burdens of life. The little green boogeymen in our heads sometimes trick us into resisting so much beauty in the world even when it’s right in front of us and at every intersection in life. But art always shows us the light. Beckons us to abandon ourselves to it. We just have to keep our bulbs open and be thankful when art walks into our lives — or when we walk into it.

"Lighted Path" | Photo by Neil de la Flor

“Lighted Path.” Photo by Neil de la Flor

Unbearable joy overwhelmed me when the first performers took the stage. “Lighted Path,” choreographed and performed by Weiselande “Yanui” Cesar/Tradisyon Lakou Lakay, illuminated the space with costumes of blues, pinks, greens and oranges worn by youthful smiling happy dancers moving rhythmically to live drums. The evening evolved with a hyper-eclectic rapid fire burst of 10 performances and a gorgeous dance film by Dara Friedmam.

"Take on Vivaldi" by Karen Peterson & Dancers | Photo by Neil de la Flor

“Take on Vivaldi” by Karen Peterson & Dancers. Photo by Neil de la Flor

While I sat and observed the first few performances from the audience, a favorite quote popped into mind. “Love is reciprocity and so is art,” writes Jeanette Winterson in her essay “Imagination and Reality.” “Either you abandon yourself to another world that you say you seek, or you find ways to resist it. Most of us are art-resisters because art is a challenge to the notional life.”

"Think Like a Guy" Priscilla Marrero & Carlota Pradera | Photo by Neil de la Flor

“Think Like a Guy” Priscilla Marrero & Carlota Pradera. Photo by Neil de la Flor

So, I wanted in. I got up, put my notebook down, grabbed my camera and made my way to stage level where I crawled around on my hands and knees and photographed the event. I didn’t want to be an art-resister. I wanted be as close to this other world as as possible.

"Soli" by Delou Africa  Dance Ensemble | Photo by Neil de la Flor

“Soli” by Delou Africa Dance Ensemble. Photo by Neil de la Flor

I left the Little Haiti Cultural Center (LHCC) sky high and thankful for two things: the Little Haiti Cultural Center and Afua Hall. The LHCC gave Hall the freedom to select a broad cross section of artists to perform and Hall resisted the notion that art should be safe. Art is (and should always be) dangerous!

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