BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek:
Conference Discussion + Studio Performance
By RHODNIE DÉSIR
October 19 & 20, 2023
Venue: Winchester Street Theatre – 80 Winchester Street, Toronto
Tickets: $15 for the Conference; $15 for the Studio Performance
$25 for both the Conference and Studio Performance
dance Immersion’s 30th Anniversary Season begins with the studio presentation of Rhodnie Désir’s BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek. This is a full-circle moment for us. In 2013, dance Immersion presented a brief excerpt of the very beginnings of this dance piece in one of our Showcases. Rhodnie has since expanded the piece into a journey named BOW’T TRAIL, touring the Americas for research and development and performing the work globally. On its 10-year anniversary, and our 30th, BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek will return to Toronto for the first time since that 2013 debut. This studio event is a pre-cursor to the performance of the full mainstage BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek that dance Immersion plans to present in Toronto in April 2025.
Thursday, October 19, 2023 – RETHINKING THE WORLD: A Duty to Remember 8:00 – 9:30 PM
“Education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world.” – Nelson Mandela
To celebrate the contribution and richness of the heritage of various Black communities, choreographer and documentary filmmaker Rhodnie Désir invites you on a journey that is at once geographical, anthropological, historical, and artistic—a journey into the heart of the history of Afrodescendants in the Americas. Since 2015, Rhodnie Désir has been exploring the Americas in search of Afrodescendant cultures. She has been working on retracing their memory, inspired by her ancestors. Compelled by the need and the will to transcend her origins, she has conceived the pioneering international project BOW’T TRAIL, which has taken her to Martinique, Haiti, Brazil, Mexico, Halifax and New Orleans.
This 90-minute discussion and artist talk will take you on Rhodnie’s immersive research, artistic, and ancestral journey – an important journey for dance and theatre makers, visual artists, and African Diasporic communities.
Friday, October 20, 2023 – BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek: Studio Version 7:00 PM
Performances by Rhodnie Désir, Engone Endong, and Jahsun
“BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek is a palimpsest of solemn beauty, enriched by the research its actor has done and by each of the layers that have been added to her creation.” Philippe Mangerel, JEU Revue de théâtre
BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek, the ambassador piece of the BOW’T series, is a conversation between the present and the past, channeled through the body of Désir in which more than 130 testimonies collected on 7 lands of the Americas still reside. The choreographer, driven by a desire and a need to transcend her origins, has been carrying research in the Americas since 2015 to immerse herself with the African cultures and rhythms deployed by the peoples who were taken there.
This abbreviated studio version of the piece involves a 30-minute movement and musical performance followed by an artist-talk about the work.
Rhodnie Désir’s BOW’T TRAIL also led to:
– a five-episode web series on TOU.TV
– a web documentary made up of 75 videos on 7 different themes, broadcast on ARTV / RADIO-CANADA
– 9 choreographic productions, from 2013 to 2021
– as well as numerous workshops and conferences
– the movie « Sur les Pas de Rhodnie » on ICI ARTV
Choreographer-documentarian and artistic director of RD Créations, Rhodnie Désir has created about twenty pieces, like BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek and her pioneering memoir journey BOW’T TRAIL have earned her two awards from the Prix de la danse de Montréal (2020): The Prix Envol and the Grand Prix. In 2021, she was chosen as one of the “25 to watch” by Dance Magazine in New York and nominated for the prestigious career award “The APAP Award of Merit”. In 2022, she received the “Danseuse de l’année” award at the Gala Dynastie, she became the first Associate Artist of the famous Place des Arts institution in Montreal and she makes her entry at the Dance Collection Danse Hall of Fame (Sandra Faire Next Génération Award). Her choreographic-documentary and Afro-contemporary signature is deeply rooted in the polyrhythmic languages. As a performer and an orator of a remarkable power, her words and her international civic actions unite beyond dance, and makes her shine as far as at the UNESCO
Producer, beatmaker, DJ, Japanese mangas, cultures and traditions lover, Engone Endong explores civilizations and offers an alternative approach of musics, arts and world traditions by cleverly mixing ancestral knowledge with today’s sounds (electroic, hip-hop, experimental). Collaborating internationally as a DJ (Elom 20ce in Togo, Pamela Badjogo/Prix RFI Découverte nalist, Société des Arts Technologiques), he composes soundtracks of various realms, such as the virtual experience of the movie “Les Etats-Unis d’Afrique: au-delà du hip-hop”, by Yanick Létourneau (PERIPHERIA, prix de la Critique RIDM 2011). He is the face of Atsie Sun Orchestra, a virtual and imaginary band whose free album, released in December 2011, has been downloaded more than 6,000 times worldwide. Standing out as a performer, he performed alongside the legendary American DJ Rich Medina and was the headline of the Piknic Electronik festival in 2013. The same year, the Pop Montreal festival emphasized his participation by programming him three days in a row. Creator of the “African Sessions” nights (with DJs Sugarface Nene and Je Suis TBA) at the legendary Club Balattou, he signs in 2014 the new record label UNLOG that focuses on instrumental music. His politically engaged album #OKENG was critically acclaimed in the American medias OKAYAFRICA and AFROPUNK. On May 1st 2017, he released his very rst mini- lm “Demain, un jour nouveau” (Tomorrow, a new day), inspired by his new composition in collaboration with the SLAM Action collective from Gabon and the contemporary choreographer Gael Ikonda. In the summer 2017, he collaborates with choreographer Rhodnie Désir on her new creation Dusk Society for the Dusk Dances festival in Toronto.
A self-taught drummer/band leader, Jahsun has over 30 years of professional experience. He is one of the most requested drummers in Montreal. Specializing in reggae, jazz-hop, funk, R&B & soul, hip-hop music, he has toured across Canada, India, China, the Caribbean & the United States. Jahsun has solid experience performing in large, international festivals and concert venues and studio recording in a variety of genres, focused on both improvisational and rehearsed content. Since 2003, he has been founder and artistic director of the Kalmunity Vibe Collective, a premiere platform for artistic expression, artist development & networking based on improvised music. Comprising a group of over 100 artists, Kalmunity has produced 2 weekly events: Kalmunity’s Tuesday nights, a live organic improvisational event (18 years running); and Kalmunity Jazz Project, a more intimate jazz-fusion improvised repertoire (15 years running). In addition, Jahsun is co-founder of the Kalmunity Music Week since 2018, Canada’s first Black arts week. Jahsun has been at the forefront of Montreal’s live music scene for over 20 years, has woven his sound into Montreal’s sonic fabric and is always committed to providing a space/stage for storytelling & creative black music.
BOW’T TRAIL Retrospek CREDITS
RD Créations, National Arts Center of Ottawa
Canada arts council; Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec; Conseil des arts de Montréal; Espace Libre; Centre de création O’Vertigo
Choreography, Dancer, Artistic Direction and Vocal Compositions
Engone Endong & Jahsun
Lighting Designer (accessories)
Beatmaker And Music Composer
Artistic Senior Consultant
Toronto 2023 Production Stage Manager