The Kennedy Center

Chantal Loial


Chantal Loïal

Born in Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, Chantal Loial was just six years old when she performed her first steps in a traditional Guadeloupian dance troupe. With her arrival in France in 1977, she could truly fulfil her passion, connecting the realms of African, Caribbean and contemporary dance. Over the years, she acquired a complete mastery of her art and joined the ranks of professional dancers and choreographers. She has deepened her experience by working with such figures as choreographer Assaï Samba, choreographer Lolita Babindamana from the National Ballet of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lemba Ballet Theatre, Congolese singer Tchico Tchikaya, Zairian singer Kanda Bongo Man, choreographer Georges Momboye, as well as José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu, Jean Deschamps and Macha Makeieff. With these different companies, she has participated in numerous tours in France and abroad. She also danced with Montalvo-Hervieu Company (France), Les Ballets C. de la B. (The Contemporary Ballet of Belgium) and for Raphaëlle Delaunay, in the piece Bitter Sugar, before forming her own dance company, Difé Kako, in 1994.

In addition to her activities as a choreographer and dancer, Chantal Loïal has never ceased to communicate her knowledge and passion. All the while, she has maintained her enthusiasm and dynamism, accompanied by dancers and musicians of the company, through workshops, courses, dance conferences and Caribbean balls.

In 2008, she obtained her national diploma in contemporary dance at the National Dance Centre of Pantin. In 2015, she was awarded the Legion of Honor for her 28 years of cultural contribution to the nation of France.

They Call Her Venus is a tribute to Sarah Baartman, a South African woman better known as the Hottentot Venus. She was brought to Europe in the early 1800s where she was exhibited for public display. Touched by her life, Chantal Loïal worked to create a testimony, a choreographic ode to black women, but one which speaks to all women. In collaboration with Paco Dècina, she designed choreography melding traditional Afro-Caribbean moves with a contemporary aesthetic.


Watch Past Performances

Video 2/23/2015: Chantal Loial

The dancer presents an original dance work that serves as testimony and a tribute to Sarah Baartman, a South African woman better known as the Hottentot Venus, but also as an ode to black women. They Call Her Venus, created in collaboration with Paco Dècina, melds traditional Afro-Caribbean moves with contemporary aesthetics.

Chantal Loial