It all started in 2013, with a choreographic piece entitled BOW'T. Created by Rhodnie Désir, the piece was named a "2014 Revelation" by renowned journalist Philip Spzorer (Dance Current Magazine) and received two performance requests from the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean (Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie).

The piece has graced local scenes (Arts Council tour of Montreal, Saint-Adèle, Ottawa, Toronto, etc.), as well as received international acclaim. It was the only production from North America to be presented at the 2014 Ouagadougou International Dance Festival (Burkina Faso). In BOW'T, Rhodnie touches the topics of migration and deportation, clearly bridging its historical presence with current news surrounding migrant mobilisation. By isolating the subject of deportation and deepening her gaze, she bravely addresses one of the greatest crimes against humanity: the slave trade. The idea for the BOW'T TRAIL was born in August 2014.

Let’s retrace the memory of African descendants!

Tradition: a living legacy to be preserved!

What do Jazz, Rara, Blues, Gospel, Gwoka, Bèlè, Candomblé, Tango, Rumba, Calypso, Swing, Mento have in common?

You may be able to respond with the help of the international BOW'T TRAIL project: A WORLD PREMIERE.The project will take us across many oceans, visiting 40 countries in order to reveal their rich and common heritage.

BOW'T TRAIL traces, the significant heritage of African peoples and Afro-descendants (Africa, Caribbean, Europe and North America). In each of the 40 countries, Rhodnie Désir and her team will conduct a 30-day stay where they will dedicate 10 days to cultural and educational activities. Collectively, these 10-day sessions will total 400 days of action (40 x 10 = 400). This is a symbolic reference to the more than 400 years of slavery endured by African descendants. It is a space to retrace a collective memory together.

>> Mission

The mission of BOW'T TRAIL is to awaken memory, rediscover the contributions of African descendants and acknowledging the CULTURAL DIVERSITY of contemporary societies around the world. This is accomplished using a pedagogical approach that focuses on art, history and culture. BOW'T TRAIL is dedicated to the recognition of the intangible heritage of African descendants. It is through the re-creation process (research and creation) that the BOW'T piece takes shape. Although originally rooted in Haitian traditional rhythms, the new BOW’T work will invoke the rhythms of the host nation. In order to incorporate the new rhythms, an important player is required: a drummer (musician).

>> 30 DAYS/3 STEPS

  1. J0 to J7  - Arrival in the country, meetings with partners and local actors / planning and organization of the videoshoot;
  2. J8 to J21  - Research and creation in studio with musician / drummer;
  3. J22 to J30  - Residency at a theater, performances, discussion and departure. Throughout the stay there will be cultural activities (workshops / seminars / danced conference) in the community, and in the school system (primary, secondary and university). This is a necessary and contemporary step towards achieving the objectives of the project.

>> 400 DAY COUNTDOWN - DIRECTOR: Marie-Claude Fournier

Inspired by the BOW'T TRAIL project, Marie-Claude Fournier became the honorable director and editor of this choreographic work by Rhodnie Desir. During the 30 days of each project, she will be responsible for documenting the stages of the project in detail, and help to capture interviews with people from the host culture. At the end of each voyage, a documentary episode highlighting each country will be edited and produced. The webseries will equal a total of forty 52-minute episodes that include educational content (8 minutes capsules). This content implies a concrete contribution in transmitting culture to local and international communities!


The BOW'T TRAIL is recognized by the Slave Route project (UNESCO) and has been recognized by the International Decade For People of African Decent (United Nations).