Tatiana Desardouin is the founder, choreographer, and artistic director of Passion Fruit Dance Company. She receives a 2022 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance for her presentation of hip-hop and house dance that brings the vernacular tradition of these genres in the Black diaspora to her work.
The Vilcek Foundation Prizes are awarded annually in recognition and celebration of the contributions of immigrants in the arts and humanities and in biomedical science in the United States. The prizes serve the Vilcek Foundation’s mission to acknowledge and honor the positive impact of immigration on arts, culture, and society. Recipients of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise each receive a commemorative trophy and an unrestricted cash award of $50,000.
Desardouin’s identity and experience as a Swiss-born Haitian woman and a Black woman are critical components of her work. “The foundation of my art is my deep commitment to recognizing and preserving all of Black culture’s contributions to dance and society,” says Desardouin. “I believe that dance is a source of empowerment that can unify people while building individual confidence and identities.”
Says Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel, “We celebrate Desardouin’s leadership in hip-hop and house dance for the impact her work has on the wider landscape of contemporary dance. Her engagement with the complex histories of these genres informs all her work, and has a profound effect on students and audiences.”
As a young adult, Desardouin founded Geneva’s first hip-hop dance school and company, Le Centre Hip-Hop, and became a member and curator with JAIA—a Geneva-based nonprofit focused on developing and promoting hip-hop dance and culture through workshops, classes, and competitions.
After earning degrees in psychology and education, Desardouin immigrated to the United States in 2016, settling in Brooklyn, New York. She founded Passion Fruit Dance Company with the mission of creating dance and educational programs that explore the human experience, address social issues, and inspire young artists to find their voice.
In addition to her leadership with Passion Fruit Dance Company, Desardouin is an artist in residence at the 92Y; she is one of the core dancers of Rennie Harris Puremovement, and a core member of LayeRhythm Experiment Company. Desardouin has won awards for her performances at major hip-hop and house dance competitions throughout Europe and the United States.
Desardouin is passionate about the responsibility she feels to share with her students and audiences the history and traditions that led to the development of hip-hop and house dance. She applies her formal training in education to the design of her workshops and performances.
“For me, it’s more than just the movement,” she says. “The goal is to be a culture bearer.”