EVOLVE Diaspora was birthed out of a conversation between two people who shared a common background. Kelly S. White and Winston Benons Jr. are both professional dance educators, scholars, performers and choreographers. They created EVOLVE Diaspora as a personal mission to help further their own professional development.
In January 2017 EVOLVE launched their program, announcing the inaugural workshop called EVOLVE Intimate Moments with the Masters. Over a weekend in February 2017, ten dance professionals gathered together in a studio in Brooklyn, NY to train under a Master Teacher in Haitian Folkloric Dance and Music. They were able to submerge themselves in intense dance training, music, history and the lore of Haitian Dance.
In addition to the workshops Kelly & Winston created EVOLVE Explorations, a cultural immersion trip where participants travel to various locations in the African Diaspora to study dance and culture. Their first trip was to Havana, Cuba in July of 2017. Since then they have returned back to Havana and added Matanzas to their 2018 trip. In April 2019 EVOLVE Explorations will travel to New Orleans, LA and are scheduled to return back to Cuba in July of 2019. The most recent program added to the EVOLVE Diaspora roster was EVOLVE Communities. With the help of the Brooklyn Arts Council Evolve Communities made it’s debut in July of 2018. They curated a free workshop series designed for families to experience and learn about the various dances of the African Diaspora. The goal was to make quality dance training accessible to everyone and help increase family bonding time.
Kelly and Winston took a major leap of faith and shifted from having informal conversations about their need for enrichment to developing and creating programming for a population of movers who had the same thirst for knowledge as them.