Art Saves Lives!
Nicole Chantal De Weever is a dancer/choreographer, actor, mentor, and President/Founder of Art Saves Lives Program, all at the young age of 34. She weaves her purpose-filled life through two places. When I interviewed her, she was home in New York City. Her creative journey started in her second home and birth place, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.
At age 4, De Weever was introduced to dance at Reinfield and, later, Motiance schools of dance on St. Maarten. At age 14, De Weever moved to Virginia, attended high school there, and trained intensely at the Fairfax Ballet. She then attended NYU, which “broadened [her] perspective even more.” Her career is “versatile.”
Nicole De Weever does freelance work, and she cannot be limited to any area of her training. Her love of dance is eclectic, from Afro Cuban Caribbean flavor, contemporary, modern, jazz, and hip-hop, to classical ballet. “I was the assistant to the choreographer Jeffrey Page for the Beyoncé Girls Run the World. I was also the assistant to Jeffrey Page for Beyonce’s appearance on the Billboard Awards and Oprah Winfrey.” DeWeever was “most featured dancer” for the musical, Fela. DeWeever is a recipient of the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, 2010 for Best Female Dancer on Broadway.
As an art form, dance served as fuel for Art Saves Lives Program, (ASLP), the program and Foundation created by De Weever. “It started with me,” she acknowledged. “At a very young age, instinctively I knew I wanted to do something creative.” To pursue a career in any art is a huge endeavor for a Caribbean born child. According to De Weever, being an artist is not generally encouraged by the elders in the community. De Weever grew up with her sister, Angelique, her Mom, Beatrice and Dad, Wilfred, (now deceased). “My family was very supportive. I could not imagine what my life would be like if I was not allowed to explore fully what I wanted to be,” says De Weever. Art Saves Lives gives its participants, 12 and up, the same vision.
The vision of ASLP is to provide aspiring young artists with the training,
education and guidance needed for the successful pursuit
of careers in creative arts, entertainment and education.
ASLP is an interdisciplinary program that infuses art to strengthen mind, body, and spirit. “Art heals, art transforms, and art is a unifying force.” The students go beyond the creative arts to a “nurturing learning environment” that includes Communication, Critical Thinking, Academics, and Creative Development. “We don’t even have a rejection process.” DeWeever indicates, “Everyone who is interested comes. It doesn’t matter if they come from the Dutch or French side of the Island.” Renowned artists come from all over the world to “empower” the students at ASLP.
Nicole De Weever has been at the forefront in promoting this worthy foundation, as well as finding funds to support this vital work. Funding has come from individuals, corporate, and governmental agencies. De Weever also works with social media, and brand products promoting her mission, “Positive change.” Her mission is realized one student at a time.
For more info please visit: www.ArtSavesLivesFoundation.org
Article written by Victorine