Dorothée Munyaneza

Chicago-Marseille Residency 2019/20

Writing/Multidisciplinary Performance

Dorothée Munyaneza is a Rwandan-French writer-performer who creates work to illuminate the unthinkable in previously unimagined ways, dealing with rupture as a dynamic force.  She debuted in Chicago in 2018 with Unwanted, her testimonial about female strength created after returning to the homeland to listen to women survivors of genocide, created with French composer Alain Mahé,  South African visual artist Bruce Clark, and Portland’s rocker Holland Andrews.

In 2019 her Chicago-Marseille Residency continues the intercontinental, inter-city and multigenerational journey. For 11 weeks it connects Dorothée with Chicago artist-organizers, including several since first meeting in 2018 for a conference in Lagos, Nigeria: Keyierra Collins (dance); Ben LaMar Gay, avery r young, Tomeka Reid (music, poetry); and Norman Teague, Folayemi Wilson, Raquel Monroe (visual art).  The residency provides Dorothée 18 days at Ragdale (August-September). She returns late October to begin an 8-week residency hosted at Experimental Station (Lead Partner), accompanied by Nicolas Détrie, urban economist and life partner, and their young children Isaac and Naomé.

In their home city of Marseille, Dorothée and Nicolas are establishing a collaboration practice centered on urban dwellers, youth to elders, fusing creative practice, participatory workshops, and applied economics to harness new urban strategies in order to include all of city’s stakeholders.

The goal for Chicago is wayfinding an artistic process that produces similar scalable social impact through a residency that is generative creatively and socially, that elevates the natural reciprocity of city people’s daily exchange.

Time together and meetings with youth and adults in neighboring Woodlawn-Hyde Park/Kenwood Wash is central to the residency’s potential as a generator of new social, cultural and economic initiative.  Building on Experimental Station, lead partner in Woodlawn is providing Dorothée studio space and coordinating meetings with the youth and staff of Blackstone Bikes and Invisible Institute.

In addition HCL is working with the University of Chicago for additional conversations organized in partnership with France Chicago Center, the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention at the School of Social Service Administration, and the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, and with DePaul University’s Egan Office of Urban Education and Community Partnerships at Steans Center.

In 2020, several of the Chicago artist-organizers rejoin Dorothée for creative and production residencies in France, including at Coco Velten, an initiative of Ville de Marseille that Nicolas directs deploying a previously vacant building which combines the city’s social, economic and cultural functions with non-profits and small businesses.   As in Woodlawn’s Experimental Station, Coco Velten is uniquely positioned to encourage mixing of social groups and capacitating citizens to develop new social, cultural and economic initiative. Dorothée and her company Kadidi premiere the dance-theater work developed in part in Chicago at Festival de Marseille 2020. Chicago artists planned to appear include Keyierra Collins, Ben LaMar Gay, avery r young.

Generous support is provided by the FACE Foundation, Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Chicago, and Institut Français Paris. In partnership with: High Concept Labs, Experimental Station, The Ragdale Foundation, The Poetry Foundation, France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago, and Kadidi. Yolanda Cesta Cursach Montilla, Project Curator and Producer.

Photo credit Richard Schroeder


Dorothée Munyaneza is from Rwanda where she spent her childhood, of British nationality and currently lives in Marseille, France. She develops a range of work mixing genres and disciplines, between dance and folkblues such as using Woody Guthrie’s texts with Seb Martel and Catman; between dance, poetry and experimental music with Alain Mahé, Jean-François Pauvros and Ko Murobushi; and site-specific work such as at the Centre Pompidou, Paris with Alain Mahé or using the permanent collection of the MuCEM in Marseille, France.

She was trained in music studies at the Jonas Foundation in London and at Canterbury University, and has taken part on the AfroCelt Sound System’s Anatomic album and composed and sang part of the original soundtrack of the film Hotel Rwanda.

Her first solo album in 2010 was produced by Martin Russell, and her collaboration with English composer James Brett for her Earth Songs album was released on itunes in 2012. She entered contemporary dance upon meeting François Verret in 2006, and has collaborated with artists such as Nan Goldin and choreographers Mark-Tompkins, Robyn Orlin, Alain Buffard, Rachid Ouramdane, Maud Le Pladec. She founded her company Kadidi in 2013 and premiered her first full length work Samedi Détente in 2014 at Théâtre de Nîmes, which has since toured to Paris Théâtre de la Ville and throughout France, Europe, the US and Rwanda.

Unwanted, her second full length work premiered in July 2017 at Festival d’Avignon and has been performed more than a hundred times. As artist associate at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, for Chantiers d’Europe, Munyaneza presented Woad, a concert-performance with musicians Benjamin Collin and Daniel Ngarukiye and flamenco dancer Yinka Esi Graves.

Moreover she has been member of the jury for competitions such as Danse Elargie in 2014 and in May 2019 for Africa Simply the best at Laboratoire Ankata, founded by choregrapher Serge-Aimé Coulibaly. More information at

Nicolas Détrie is founder and director of Yes We Camp, a non profit organization implicated in urban and social innovation. With his collaborators at Yes We Camp (architects, chefs, thinkers, artists, refugees, urban planners, makers), Nicolas seeks to address social and spatial fragmentations in urban areas, while creating space for experimentation within cities. The projects he develops rely on temporarily occupying vacant buildings with a past history and usage as well as outdoor spaces so as to examine lively urban prototypes that combine social groups and capacitate citizens to develop new social, cultural or economic initiatives.

His degree is from the business school ESSEC (France), where he specialized in urban economics while being actively engaged in student organizations supporting underprivileged youths. As director of “Les Ateliers de Cergy” (2007-2012) he developed collaborative creativity workshops to define urban strategies with cities’ stakeholders. In 2018 the national government recognized his work with Yes We Camp for “French Impact” which distinguishes pioneering, impactful and scalable social initiatives.