Carole Alexis, director and choreographer of Ballet des Amériques – the Ballet of the Americas, was honored with an award for her contribution to the arts and the advancement of Martinican culture in the Americas at a Press Luncheon held at Le Bernardin on September 6, 2017, for some 30 journalists and representatives of publications and media outlets such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Departures, Food Republic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Weekly, Ebony and Vogue. The Consul General of France, Madame Anne Claire Legendre, and Eric Bayer, the Deputy Consul General, were honorable guests at the Luncheon. The event, hosted by the Martinique Promotion Bureau at one of New York City’s finest restaurants, featured Martinque’s greatest asset, more important still than the natural beauty of this “Flower of the Caribbean”: moun, its people. This Creole term is the title of a booklet distributed to guests, which featured photographs and biographical sketches of Martinique’s “cultural ambassadors” in the New York City area, who were all in attendance at the Press Luncheon: Carole Alexis, director of Ballet des Amériques; Eric Gestel, executive chef at Le Bernardin, who also created the exquisite lunch; Olivier Glissant, composer, musician and producer, who created the Brooklyn Orchestra; Ingrid Jean-Baptiste, founder of the Chelsea Film Festival; Moana Luu, designer, television host, producer and philantropist; and Franck Muhel, dancer, teacher and choreographer, who in one of his many roles also works with Ballet des Amériques. So what characterizes moun, the people of Martinique and its cultural ambassadors? In the words of the Martinican poet Edouard Glissant quoted by Muriel Wiltord, Director of the Martinique Promotion Bureau: “Our boats are open and we sail them for everyone …” Disproving the stereotype of insular “expats”, the cultural ambassadors present at the Luncheon are working in New York because they have something important to say to the world. Where our American institutions and businesses are making commendable efforts to promote diversity and inclusiveness, moun, the people of Martinique, are living it: Their African, European, Native American and Asian heritage, in other words, their Creole culture is a given and thus the basis for the world-directed creativity of this nation’s artists, wherever they may reside. While Martinican culture at its highest may be experienced right here in New York City, a multitude of direct flights are now operated between North America and Martinique, allowing us all to sail Martinican boats…
Pictured below from left to right: Moana Luu; Cora Emmanuel; Deputy Consul General Eric Bayer; Carole Alexis; Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre; Norwegian Air representative Réal Hamilton-Romeo
Pictured below from left to right: Carole Alexis; Moana Luu; Frank Muhel; Muriel Wiltord; Ingrid Jean-Baptiste; Chef Éric Gestel; Olivier Glissant; Consul General Anne-Claire Legendre; Chef Éric Ripert
Ballet des Amériques is a not-for-profit organization operating a professional dance company and a pre-professional ballet conservatory in Port Chester, New York.