Artist Feature: Germaine Acogny

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Photo from meeting with Germaine Acogny, founder of L’école The Sables, Senegal.

Germaine Acogny is a Senegalese-French dancer and choreographer. Acogny was born in Benin in 1944 and she moved to Dakar when she was six years old. She is considered the mother of contemporary African dance and has been creating contemporary dances with African roots for 40 years. She created her first dance studio in Dakar in 1968 and often attributes much of her influence to her grandmother, a Yoruba priest, and her training African and Occidental movement styles. Acogny formed her own technique and form of modern dance, which she published in 1980 in her book, African Dance. She has worked as a choreographer and artistic director in numerous companies, including Mudra Afrique, founded by Maurice Béjart and Leopold Sedar Senghor, Senegal’s first president. She opened Studio Ecole Ballet Théâtre du 3è Monde, in Toulouse and in 1997 she established L’École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. She is also the founder of Compagnie Jant-Bi, which performed in the 2008 Next Wave festival.

This year, Acogny was invited by Abdel R. Salaam, Artistic Director of BAM’s 2016 DanceAfrica Festival (May 25—30) as a special guest and program highlight. Mamedjarra Diop connected with Acogny at the festival in Brooklyn. Acogny invited Diop to visit L’École des Sables in Senegal this summer and has since graciously offered to host our students for have a workshop this summer at’École des Sables.

Links to more info about Acogny:

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