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Germaine Acogny’s technique or body freedom through discipline !
Since 1998, l’Ecole des Sables (INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN DANCES), created by dancer-choreographer Germaine Acogny and her German husband Helmut Vogt, accompanies and promotes the development of dance in Africa in general and contemporary African dance in particular through professional workshops for young African dancers and choreographers.
The Center is a space for learning, meeting and exchange for dancers from Africa and all over the world all at the same time.
The specific teaching of Germaine Acogny is based on her African Modern Dance technique, a synthesis of Traditional Dances from West Africa (Sahel and forest area) and Contemporary Western Dances. Germaine Acogny was the first one in Africa to start since 1968 to develop Contemporary African Dance. She is now considered as the Mother of African Contemporary Dance. Her technique is absolutely comparable to Western techniques such as Graham’s or Limon’s.
Germaine Acogny’s technique is fully part of the academic program of workshops of l’Ecole des Sables. It is also taught in Germaine Acogny’s Masterclasses, in dance centers and school when she is invited to or during her tours around the world.
Since 2010, a program of Transmission of her technique has been initiated at l’Ecole des Sables. This is a 3-step workshop sessions of 7 weeks each, allowing about ten former trainees of l’Ecole des Sables selected by the directors to acquire and master the Modern African Dance technique developed by Germaine Acogny and teach it.
Germaine Acogny defines her very specific technique with these words: «an African Dance of modern expression». This technique was built based on her perfect knowledge of most West African traditional dances, influenced by Western dances she also studied, and the synthesis of traditional dances from which she kept the strongest elements, energy, rhythm, telluric strength, rooting to the ground and elevation to the sky.
This technique mainly focuses on the work of the spine and most movements are based on three elements: undulation, contraction, vibration/tremulation. Most movements are inspired by nature – plants or animals – but also by elements of ACOGNY | 8 TRANSMISSION TECHNIQUE DE DANSE AFRICAINE MODERNE GERMAINE everyday African life. She uses symbolic images from nature to name them: palm tree, eagle, rain water, water lily, Guinea-fowl. They are precise, clearly defined and deeply related to breathing, all of this producing a very pure, powerful and elegant style.
Germaine Acogny also works a lot using improvisation. She trains African dancers to discover their own style transforming traditional dances into contemporary expression and forms. Germaine’s work helps dancers see their own corporal language through a different angle to analyze and use it with creativity. Her technique is strongly related to Africa but at the same time opens up to the universal. To Western dance world, she suggests to open up to African dance, its richness, power and strength and to use it as a new source of inspiration. She offers, through her technique, to reunite with the «lost body» and make it feel the ground, the earth, the rhythm, the heart beating, and discover a new energy flow in the body.
Germaine Acogny proposes in her approach an evolution towards an African dance of modern expression, still rooted in the huge richness and variety of traditional dances.
Step 1: January 11th to February 27th, 2010
Step 2: January 26th to March 16th, 2011
Step 3: January 16th to March 3rd, 2012
Step 1: October 31st to December 17th, 2011
Step 2: July 23rd au September 8th, 2012
Step 3: March 25th to May 11th, 2013