Haiti, the second independent republic in the Americas, partakes of three cultural sources: African, American, and European. The dances and culture of Haiti have been extremely important in the development of American dance, thanks to the pioneering work of Katherine Dunham. Peniel Guerrier draws on his extensive knowledge of Haitian folkloric dance to create original combinations within the different traditional Haitian rhythms. His dances enhance the energy and flow of traditional forms with beautiful, vivid body shapes.
Peniel Guerrier has been studying Haitian folkloric dance and music for the past 25 years. He began instruction under one of the most prestigious Haitian folkloric dance teachers, Herve Maxi. He has subsequently performed with the National Dance Theatre of Haiti and Baccoulou Dance Company for eight years, touring worldwide to places such as Venezuela, Paris, Hungary, Japan, Montreal, Germany, and Santo Domingo. While living in Haiti, in addition to performing, Peniel taught at the National Dance Theatre and ENARTS, two of the foremost dance and music centers in Port au Prince.
Peniel moved to New York City in pursuit of his dream of promoting and preserving Haitian folkloric culture. He draws on his extensive knowledge of Haitian folkloric dance and music to engage a diverse range of communities in learning about Haitian folkloric culture. As a dance teacher he is appreciated for his attention to detail, and unwavering confidence in every student. As a performer, he is famous for the energy and originality he injects into traditional dance forms, bringing audiences to their feet at every performance.
Peniel teaches regularly at the Djoniba Dance and Drum Center (Peridance), and PMT dance studio. He has been a guest teacher at Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, Greenfield Community College, Amherst College, Wellesley College, and Brown University. He travels regularly throughout the country to give workshops and lectures on Haitian folkloric dance and culture, at venues such as the New Orleans Dance Festival. Peniel and his students also perform throughout the year at venues such as the Alvin Ailey Dance Center and the Brooklyn Museum. Peniel is extremely interested in reaching marginalized communities through Haitian dance, and as such has held successful workshops with people with disabilities, older populations, incarcerated peoples, etc. Peniel has been featured in a variety of media, most recently WPIX 11, the Bomb magazine, New York Seikatsu, Daily News, NYU Washington Square News, Haiti Exchange Newsletter, Variation News (CT) and Alter Press Lincoln Center.