Ecole des Sables


Ecole des Sables

The Rite of Spring-Premieres

The Rite of Spring/ common ground[s] receives its premieres in Senegal at Théâtre National Daniel Sorano on 25 March, and presents at the open-air Blaise Senghor Culturel Centre (28 March); Wuppertal Opera House (9-12 April); Sadler’s Wells (17-20 May) and Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville (1-21 June), with more to be announced.

Pina Bausch’s seminal work, Le Sacre du printemps (1975), is danced by a newly assembled company of dancers from African countries, with rehearsals taking place in Toubab Dialaw at École des Sables. Faithful to Stravinsky’s composition, this monumental work examines unyielding ritual, with the sacrifice of a Chosen One changing the season from winter to spring.

The first part of the evening sees Germaine Acogny, “the mother of contemporary African dance” and founder of École des Sables, unite with Malou Airaudo, an early long-standing member of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch who performed leading roles in many of Bausch’s pieces, including the Chosen One in The Rite of Spring. Together they create and perform their duet common ground[s].

Germaine Acogny, Founder of École des Sables, said: “For a long time, I have had a connection with Pina and her seminal work The Rite of Spring. When I first saw the piece danced by Paris Opera Ballet, I was highly impressed with the way the dancers performed the choreography so deeply rooted in the earth, despite their classical training. It was then that I thought such a dance would be very well received by an African audience due to the closeness of the theme and African spiritual beliefs. I recognised my own culture within it. Deeply inspired by the work, I have performed My Black Chosen One – Sacre #2 by Olivier Dubois since 2015.

 The new duet is a continuation of a conversation I had with Pina. I am very excited that École des Sables and I are a part of this special exchange.”

Salomon Bausch, Executive Director of the Pina Bausch Foundation, said:
“This is the first time, that Sacre is done not with an existing company, but with dancers who came together specifically for this piece. I’m very excited to be seeing the impact of their personalities and their diverse dance backgrounds on the piece but also vice versa; how the piece influences the dancers, both, as artists and as human beings. This project is very important to us; I expect it to open our eyes for a new way of thinking about the future of Pina Bausch’s work.

 I feel a very strong energy between Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo, while these two dance legends explore their own histories and literally discover common grounds. Coming from very different dance traditions, they still share so much. The collaboration will also connect to both their schools, the École des Sables and Folkwang University, which will again open new doors.”

Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said:
“I remember having conversations with Pina about the series of productions she had been creating for her company, each inspired by a residency in a different world city, back in 2008. We spoke of the fact that Germaine Acogny’s École des Sables would be an ideal partner for a new work co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, which would have been the first created by Tanztheater Wuppertal in an African country. We arranged a trip to Senegal in the autumn of that year, but Pina’s health began to deteriorate and the trip never happened.

Following her death, when Salomon Bausch came to me with the idea of co-producing this programme with École des Sables, he had no knowledge of the original 2008 discussion. This completed a beautiful circle of serendipitous events that is very much in harmony with the spirit of Pina. I am so excited by the opportunity to present such an amazingly unique collaboration not only to Sadler’s Wells’ audience, but to audiences across the world.”

A Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables & Sadler’s Wells production, co-produced with Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Festspielhaus, St Pölten; Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and Théâtre de la Ville-Paris.

The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the International Coproduction Fund of the Goethe Institut and kindly supported by the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.



Théâtre National Daniel Sorano, Dakar

25 March

Free entry

 Blaise Senghor Culturel Centre, Dakar
28 March

Free entry

 Wuppertal Opera House, Germany
9-12 April
Tickets: https://wuppertaler-buehnen.reservix.de/p/reservix/group/329358?

Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
1-21 June
Tickets: https://www.theatredelaville-paris.com/en/spectacles/