Germaine Acogny
Of Motions and Emotions

Dancer-choreographer, giant baobab, visible in the entire world, considered as the pioneer of African contemporary dance.

Germaine was born in Benin and moved to Senegal at the age of four.
Granddaughter of a Yoruba priestess, very close to nature to whom she pays homage every morning, with poses and postures inherited from her ancestors. Proud of this heritage, she draws from this to synthesize traditional dance techniques from all over Africa. She mixes these poses with western contemporary dance, mostly Paris and New York influences.
From 1977 to 1982, she directed Mudra Afrique under the patronage of dancer-choreographer Maurice Béjart and President Léopold Sédar Senghor. The original, incredibly creative ballet of Mudra Afrique is still timeless!
She also established Majorettes du Sénégal, which brings together young high school girls, who produced an extraordinary show, in full African dress. Some key events they perform include each national holiday on April 4, before the entire nation, to the rhythm of the drumming of the late drum major Doudou Ndiaye Rose, another well known baobab...
When Mudra Afrique closed, she moved to Brussels with the Maurice Béjart Company and organized African dance workshops.
In 1985, she created, with Helmut Vogt, the Ballet Theatre du 3e Monde studio-school in Toulouse.
In 1995, she returned to Senegal and founded with her husband the association Jant-bi as well as L'École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw. There she built close relationships with the communities, especially the women, and is initiated into Ndeup (traditional Lebou healing ceremony through dance and trance).
Over the years, this school has become a prestigious institution that has been offering professional training to African dancers since 1998, with the help of renowned teachers.
The International Center for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances is a meeting place for people from all over the world. Since 2010, alumni are equipped to be passers of this gestural technique called "The Acogny technique".
And yet... The very existence of this glorious school, unique of its kind in the whole of Africa, has been under financial threat for several years... Despite everything, miracles and goodwill has always kept its doors open!
She still dances, certainly for pleasure, and perhaps also out of necessity...
In spring 2019, at the age of 75, Germaine Acogny gave a masterful performance in Paris of "Mon Élue Noire", a play written for her by Olivier Dubois in 2014, winner of a Bessie Award in New York in 2018.
She is a woman whose career has been marked by many experiences, numerous rewards, successes and international prizes. She has cultivated a great closeness with young artists and this has enabled her to restore and renew herself!

It is an exceptionally profound moment to witness the passing down of the knowledge of dance from her to younger people from all over the world in workshops
She says, "Drawing from the diversity and richness of culture it not only frees dancers, but also helps them to make choices that will guide their lives.”
She says, "Drawing from the diversity and richness of culture it not only frees dancers, but also helps them to make choices that will guide their lives.”
Dance is about movement, movement and connection.
Her life work shines bright like the brilliance of the starlight.

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