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Black Baroque Series: Bintou Dembélé and Les Indes Galantes

Bintou Dembélé created the choreography of a landmark production of Rameau’s opera-ballet Les Indes Galantes (1735)—a ballet saturated with unbridled French Baroque colonial fantasies—which shook the Opéra Bastille in 2019. As a speaker featured on the “Black Baroque” focus series, Dembélé will comment on the significance of the Bastille production of Les Indes Galantes as well as her work dismantling oppressive structures as a Queer Black artist in the world of opera.

Bintou Dembélé 

Born in the Paris Region, Bintou Dembélé is one of the major artists of the hip-hop movement in France.. As a dancer and choreographer, she has worked with artists such as MC Solaar, Grand Corps Malade, Sophiatou Kossoko, photographer Denis Darzacq or choreographer Hooman Sharifi.
In 2002, she created Rualité, an artistic and cultural platform that has produced many of her works: L’Assise (2004), LOL (2008), Mon appart ’en dit long (2010), Z.H. (2014), S/T/R/A/T/E/S – Quartet (2016), Le Syndrome de l’Initié.e (2018), which have been performed in France, Belgium, Burma, Chile, French Guiana, Italy, Macedonia, Mali, Sweden and Switzerland.
Her works explore ritualistic and corporal memory, marginal cultures, the nebulous aspects of colonial and postcolonial history, the strategies of reappropriation and the flight from slavery.
In 2017, Clément Cogitore invited her to choreograph his film Les Indes galantes for 3e Scène – Opéra de Paris. Their partnership expanded in 2019 when she choreographed Cogitore’s production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes galantes at the Opéra Bastille.
In 2020, she became an associate artist at Les Ateliers Médicis (Clichy-sous-bois / Montfermeil)

Bintou Dembele will be in residence in Chicago from August to October 2021, as part of Clichycago, a collaborative creative project between artists, local groups, and organizations based in Chicago’s South Side and the Parisian outskirts of Clichy-Montfermeil. 

The Black Baroque visiting artist lecture series will spotlight Black theatre-makers who work with, against, and through Baroque culture in the contemporary historical moment.

The co-curricular series was designed by Noémie Ndiaye and visiting professor Gabrielle Randle-Bent and is co-sponsored by Court Theatrethe Committee on Theatre and Performance Studiesthe Department of EnglishDepartment of Romance Languages and Literaturesthe Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and the Center for Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago