Dedicated to Yosheh Amayo-Baptiste
On April 3, 2004, Francine Bazy (known locally as Yosheh Amayo-Baptiste) stepped off the stage at the Seattle Center House during the 12th Annual WorldRhythm Festival. Yosheh had a severe medical emergency and collapsed. Despitevaliant efforts by the Seattle Center Staff and the Seattle Fire Department, Ms.Amayo-Baptiste was unable to be revived and passed away at the age of 43.
The Seattle World Percussion Society dedicated the remainder of the festival toher life's work of teaching and performance. She demonstrated that passion andwillingness to be in community with her gifts right up until her last dance. Wehonor her life and spirit. And celebrate her brightest light as one thatinspires and touches us. May her gifts continue. AXE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yosheh Amayo-Baptiste Biography
Yosheh Amayo-Baptiste was a performer of international caliber, a dedicated dance educator, and a gifted choreographer specializing in the ritual and celebration dance styles of the African Diaspora. Her areas of dance expertise included:
* Modern, Jazz, Tap, and Katherine Dunham technique
* West African dance styles of Senegal, Guinea, and the Casamance.
* Nigerian Traditional Yoruba dance of the Bantu/Hausa people.
* Orix dances of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban religious traditions: Ixeja, Ians/Oya, Oxal/Obatala, Xango/Shango, Ogun/Ogum, Oba, Omulu, Oxum/Oshunmare, Yemanja/Yemanya.
* Brazilian and Caribbean traditional and social dance, including Afro-Cuban Rumba, Afro-Brazilian Samba de coco, Samba duro, Samba-reggae, Samba mulatto, Pagode and Forr, Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, and West Indian Carnival masks and folklore.
Ms. Amayo-Baptiste began studying dance at the age of six in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988, she began her professional career; her talents and reputation led her to perform and travel with the masters of leading international dance companies and musical productions throughout the United States and abroad, including The National Dance Company of Benin (1988-1990), Olodum (1991), Le Ballet Africain (1991-1992), Oba Oba (1990-1992, U.S. national tour), Bahia Bragad Escola de Samba (1992), Rio de Janeiro Mocidade Independente (1994), Escola de Samba Brasileria (1991-1995), The National Dance Company of Senegal (1999-1995), and Ballet Folklorico da Bahia (1996). She also has worked intensively with the group Afrocubanismo.
In addition to her work on dance projects with contemporary choreographers such as Toni Basil and Debbie Allen, Ms. Amayo-Baptiste was featured in television, theater, and film, including "Coming to America" (Warner Bros., 1988), "Northern Exposure" (1991), the PBS production "African Dance in America" (1997). In 2000, Ms. Amayo-Baptiste presented new works in "Shameless," a collection of works in progress from Seattle's best up-and-coming choreographers, sponsored by On the Boards.
Ms. Amayo-Baptiste held adjunct teaching positions in dance at Antioch University (Seattle, WA), Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA), and worked as an Artist in Residence in the schools, holding dance workshops for students and K-12 educators. Through grants from Artists' Trust and other sources, she worked to create special programs and festivals that express the dance and music of the African diaspora, most recently by coordinating the Seattle's first Caribbean Festival (Seattle Center, July 2003).
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