Jubilation Foundation Teaching Artist Fellow Guy Thorne (left)

Guy Thorne

Rochester NY
Fellowship: 2011 / 2012

“We are all griots in our own way,” says Guy, “storytellers who pass on knowledge, making history relevant to the current generation so we don’t make the same mistakes again. We are inspired by what came before us.”

A native of Guyana (South America), Guy studied at Dance Theater of Harlem, then became a principal dancer with Garth Fagan Dance, before co-founding Futurpointe Dance in 2009. His work is a fusion of international dance styles and multi-media creations. Why the name FuturPointe? “When we speak,” says Guy, “we use words. Words are pointers, not the thing itself; they point to the thing. If we get different pointers, we create a different world. Our mission is to create work that points to the future in a new way. Each piece gives you a new perspective, and points you in a new direction.”

Guy is using his Jubilation grant to introduce local children to Jonkanoo, a West African and Caribbean performing art that combines costume-making, singing, dancing, and drumming. “Teaching and sharing with kids creatively gives them opportunities to hold on to their unique artist within,” says Guy. “They get that experience of manifestation, using their own hands to bring something they imagined into reality.”

The Jonkanoo workshop is designed for elementary age children (5-13). Each year they choose a different theme, for example, farming. “First you break up the earth,” says Guy, “so the kids create a dance move that represents breaking up the earth. Then you clear the field, so they create a dance about picking up and tossing out rocks, and a song to accompany it. We go all the way through planting and the harvest.”

The children he works with don’t always know where food comes from. “One kid wanted to plant a bacon seed!” he says, citing another reason this work is important. “We are presenting information in a playful way, adding core messages like our connection to our food. Children are rapid learners, soaking it up. They understand playing and learning at the same time.”

Jubilation 2012 retreat video

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