RHODNIE 
DÉSIR
 

CREATIONS

« Maybe creation is about accepting that,

with every millisecond, we can endlessly re-create ourselves,

so as to better come to terms with the world in which we exist. »
- Rhodnie Désir

© Kevin Calixte

 

« Rhodnie Désir you are a fascinating artist. [...] We truly understand why you are a reference. »
- PÉNÉLOPE MCQUADE, ICI PREMIÈRE (RADIO-CANADA)

Born to a mother from Gonaïves and a father from Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Rhodnie Désir articulates her gesture using sung or spoken languages specially created for each of her works, from which emanates a gesture, like a unique time marker, affirming a contemporaneity that is mainly inspired by traditions from Haiti, Central and West Africa, and other Caribbean countries.

 

With a degree in Communications and Marketing from Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal, Business Start-Up from SAJE Montréal Métro, and the Professional and Artistic Training Program in African Dance from Zab Maboungou / Nyata Nyata Dance Company, Rhodnie Désir has taken professional training courses with masters of ancestral contemporary languages. 

 

Her flagship work, BOW’T (2013), put her in the spotlight on local and international stages, including Burkina Faso and Canada, completing her repertoire of some fifteen works and multiple international collaborations. In 2014, Rhodnie was the only North American artist who took part in the International Dance Festival in Ouagadougou with BOW’T, and to participate as a specialist panelist in the UNESCO seminar "Artists and the Memory of Slavery: Resistance, Creative Freedom and Legacies" in 2015.

 

Her unique Afro-contemporary and choreographic-documentary signature led her to conceive the pioneering and international project BOW’T TRAIL (www.bowttrail.com) in six countries of the Americas: Martinique, Haiti, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. This project gave rise to seven new choreographic works, a web series of five episodes (TOU.TV) and a web documentary of 75 videos soon to be broadcast on ICI ARTV/Radio-Canada, tracing the rhythmic and resistance heritage of the Afrodescendant peoples of the Americas. This innovative appreciation of Afro-descendant intangible heritage has earned her recognition from UNESCO's “Slave Route” project and allowed her to be the only guest North American artist in the Francophone cultural programming of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, at the invitation of former OIF Secretary General Michelle Jean and the late artist emeritus Manu Dibango.

 

Rhodnie is the businesswoman behind the cultural action company DÊZAM, allowing her to develop more than 2500 cultural actions between 2008 and 2018. She also founded the artistic organization RD Créations in 2017.

 

Committed to the advancement of her community, she sat on the Board of Directors of Festival Quartiers danses and the Regroupement Québécois de la danse where she chaired the Diversity Committee, and was also Chair of the Board of Montréal, arts interculturels, until recently. Winner of the Grand Prix Lys de la diversité in 2016, she is frequently invited as a speaker as well as a jury member for arts councils and government bodies.

 

At the 2020 Prix de la Danse de Montréal, Rhodnie Désir won the Prix Envol, for cultural diversity and inclusive practices in dance, which was presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, as well as the coveted Grand Prix, presented by Québecor and the City of Montreal. She was listed as one of the “25 to Watch” in 2021 by the New York Dance Magazine.

BOW'T TRAIL
RETROSPEK-
2020

AFRO-CONTEMPORARY

DANCE

CHOREOGRAPHY, ARTISTIC DIRECTION & VOCAL COMPOSITIONS  Rhodnie Désir
DANCER  Rhodnie Désir
MUSICIANS  Engone Endong + Jahsun
LIGHTING AND INNOVATION DESIGN

Juliette Dumaine + Jonathan Barro (1st phase of the creation)
VIDEO DESIGN  Manuel Chantre
COSTUME DESIGN  Mélanie Fererro
BEATMAKER & MUSIC COMPOSITION  Engone Endong
PRODUCTION AND TECHNICAL DIRECTION  Rasmus Sylvest

SENIOR CONSULTANT  Philip Szporer
REHEARSAL DIRECTOR  Isabelle Poirier

DURATION : 75 minutes (including the audience entry)

CREW : 1 dancer + 2 musicians + 2 technicians + 1 production director + 1 administrator

SET-UP : 12 hours
STAGE DIMENSIONS : Width 28' / Depth 28' /  Height 16.4'
(8.5m x 8.5m 
x 5m)
AUDIENCE SIZE : Small and medium size venues 

OUTREACH : Conference and tailored workshops

VIEW COMPLETE TECHNICAL RIDER
 

VIEW THE PRESENTATION DOCUMENT

 

VIEW PRESS KIT

FOLLOW THE BOW'T TRAIL WEBSERIES  ON RADIO CANADA'S  ICI.TOU.TV

RHYTHMS, DANCE AND RESISTANCE :
AN ACT OF MEMORY

Choreographic-documentary work

BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek is a work on courage and memory for four physical bodies : one female dancer, two musicians, and one immersive display of digital projections. Rhodnie Désir used BOW’T, a piece she created in Montréal in 2013, as the starting point for this piece. It is the fruit of a year long research process and joint efforts spanning the four corners of the continent.

The choreographer, driven by a desire and a need to transcend her origins, drew from the jungo (Brazil), danmyé (Martinique), Vodun dance (Haiti), son jarocho (Mexico), blues (New Orleans), and gospel paired with Mi’kmaq rhythms (Canada) to immerse herself in the African cultures and rhythms brought to the Americas by enslaved Africans.

Her IMPULSE : to rise up, in an innovative and authentic way, against one of the greatest crimes in human history, the slave trade.

Her QUEST : to tell the story of resistance movements with humility, humanity and thus pay tribute to the expression of her ancestors’ creative genius.

Her PROCESS : BOW’T TRAIL, a ground-breaking international and interactive documentary and choreography project, that bears the UNESCO Slave Route label.

Over the past five years (2015-2019), she recreated the original work, gradually lending it the multiple rhythmic voices – danced, sung and drummed – specific to each of the six countries she visited.

Rhodnie Désir takes the stage to present the 8th and final iteration of the work BOW’T. The performance will feature video projections illustrating her approach with the bearers of memory who inspired her, while connecting the audience with the subject matter and immersing it in multidimensional visual and sound textures.

 

Coproduced by RD Creations and the National Arts Center (Ottawa)

 

« This light imprinted masterpiece offers you access to my thoughts, to what I had to go through emotionally and mentally. It addresses matters of history, but mostly of the body within our colonial system. Amongst past and present : this work is political, just like my
own body can be ! »

– Rhodnie Désir

DUSK SOCIETY-2017

AFRO-CONTEMPORARY DANCE

CHOREOGRAPHY, ARTISTIC DIRECTION & VOCAL COMPOSITIONS  Rhodnie Désir
DANCER  Rhodnie Désir
MUSICIAN, COMPOSITION AND LIVE PERFORMANCE Engone Endong

AUDIO TESTIMONIES Excerpts of the poem 43rd Parallel by Doyali Islam, followed by inspiring testimonies by generous citizens of Toronto

DURATION : 10 minutes 

CREW : 1 dancer + 1 musicians 

SET-UP : 2 hours 30 minutes prior to the show
STAGE DIMENSIONS : Circle of 30’ diameter (9m15cm) Outdoors, grass area.

AUDIENCE SIZE : Approximately 150 people, placed in a circle 

OUTREACH : Conference and tailored workshops

VIEW COMPLETE TECHNICAL RIDER (in French only)
 

In this non proscenium work originally commissioned by Dusk Dances Festival Désir offers a strong contemporary and documentary look at current social issues that preoccupy Quebeckers. Originally inspired by testimonies from Torontonians, Dusk Society rebirths in a second version and reclaims space at a time when the multiplication of events keeps piling up.

 

In this universal message, the body of the choreographer becomes a graphic representation of the society’s pulse, as a way to express people’s voices and thoughts. Faithful to her documentary approach, she creates a solo piece inspired by interviews and historical sources.

 

Possibility of adapting the piece with new testimonies collected from the citizens of your community. A touching process of connecting citizens together through the realities they are experiencing.

The original version of Dusk Society was first commissioned by Dusk Dances Festival (2017), premiered at Dusk Dances on July 7th 2017, at Withrow Park, and seduced the hearts of Canadians in Barrie, Hamilton, Toronto and Repentigny over twenty evenings.

 

« If tomorrow everything would collapse, and we would have to rebuild a new society based on our collective memories, what would it be like? What would its founding principles be? »

– Rhodnie Désir

© 2020  Cusson Management inc

DUSK SOCIETY

Photo : Vanessa Fortin