KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Dancer and choreographer Rhodnie Désir, a resident of Montreal with Haïtian roots, has arrived in Nova Scotia on a mission to explore through her art the many connections between slavery, the rhytms long kept alive within African Nova Scotian, Acadian and Mi’kmaq communities, and resistance/resilience.
Nova Scotia is the current stop of her ambitious project. As this weekend’s featured video shows she already visited Martinique, Brazil and Haiti.
In Nova Scotia Désir is teaming up with African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq musicians to understand the resilience of these communities that survived hundreds of years of colonialism and racism.
“I spend a lot of time in the dance studio, but then I venture out and when I come back I have new ideas and opinions, it keeps evolving,” Désir tells the Nova Scotia Advocate, just after returning from a conversation with poet, educator, and historian Afua Cooper.
So far four elements have crystalized from her visit to Nova Scotia, all linked with ideas of resistance, says Désir, the notion of the land, the water, the light and community.
For instance,when Désir thinks of land she thinks of how Mi’kmaq, Acadians and African Nova Scotians all faced eviction from their lands. In terms of communities she is getting a sense of their ongoing strength and efforts to be heard, she says. Water evokes the lack of potable water at Africville, as well as its associations with baptism.
The entire process is captured by a film team, and will be unveiled in 2019 in the form of a Web Documentary.
“There is still so much I need to learn here, and research”, she says. “I accept that, things continue to evolve, it is about the movement.”
Meanwhile, on November 7 you can join a discussion and dialogue with the choreographer and screening of the Brazil BOW’T TRAIL stopover, to take place at the Spring Garden Road Central Library.
As well, on November 3rd Désir will open the “Salon du Livre” of Francofest with a new solo choreography created on site. This event takes place at the Grand Havre Community Council, Ecole du Sommet.
Check out the press release about Rhodnie Désir’s Nova Scotia visit here.
Follow the project on Facebook.
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