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The Black Baroque Project presents Opera-Ballet Les Indes galantes (2019), Followed by a Live Q&A with Choreographer Bintou Dembélé

©️ Courtesy of Opéra-Bastille Paris (2019)

Free and open to the public. No reservation is required  but capacity is limited  to 250 (first come, first served) . Proof a COVID-19 vaccine and mask are required to attend.

On October 30, the Black Baroque Project at the University of Chicago will present a screening of the landmark Opera-Ballet Les Indes galantes (2019), followed by a live Q&A with choreographer Bintou Dembélé and moderated by Noémie Ndiaye (University of Chicago Department of English) and Martha Feldman (University of Chicago Department of Music).

On the stage of Paris's legendary Opera Bastille, choreographer Bintou Dembélé brings together 30 dancers to reprise, remix, and subvert Jean-Philippe Rameau's baroque opera Les Indes galantes (1735). A masterpiece of the Enlightenment, Les Indes galantes offers sparkling entertainment. Yet Rameau’s first opera‑ballet also testifies to the ambiguous view held by Europeans concerning other peoples: Turks, Incas, Persians, “Savages”… In 2017, film director Clément Cogitore made an explosive and critically acclaimed film adaptation of an excerpt from Les Indes galantes in collaboration with Krump dancers. In 2019, with choreographer Bintou Dembélé, he takes up Rameau’s box of delights in its entirety to set it once more in an urban and political space and explore its frontiers. 

Sponsored by the University of Chicago's France Chicago Center, Department of Music and Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Bintou Dembélé


©️ Courtesy of Max Li (2021)

A prominent artist on the French hip-hop scene, Bintou Dembélé has collaborated with artists such as Denis Darzacq, Mohamed Bourouissa, and Sophiatou Kossoko. Shaped by a wide range of influences, her work incorporates repetitive music with rhythmic polyphonies and Street Dance. Bintou Dembélé explores marginalized cultures as well as ritual and corporeal memories, questions notions of gender, probes the wounds of the past and the possibility to move beyond them through strategies of reappropriation and “marronnage.” Her performances draw on various aesthetics from the worlds of dance, music, voice, and the visual arts. Bintou Dembélé is the founder of Rualité, a structure through which she produced L’Assise (2004), LOL (2008), Mon appart’ en dit long (2010), Z.H. (2014), S/T/R/A/T/E/S-Quartet (2016), and Le Syndrome de l’initié.e (2018). Clément Cogitore asked her to choregraph Les Indes galantes at the Paris National Opera: a short film gone viral on the digital platform 3e Scène (2017) was followed by the full choreography of Rameau’s opéra-ballet at the Opéra Bastille (2019). As part of its exhibition Opéra Monde, La quête d’un art total (2020), the Centre Pompidou-Metz gave her complete freedom to create, which led to the creation of Les Indes Galantes #3. In 2020, the Lyon National Opera invited her to put together a solo performance for dancer Merel van Heeswijk. An associate artist at Ateliers Médicis (Clichy-sous-Bois / Montfermeil), she has also been an artist-in-residence at Villa Médicis (Rome) and is currently in residence at Villa Albertine (Chicago). She is one of ten international artists invited to take part in the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, for which she directed the dance film -s/t/r/a/t/e/s

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