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Cassa Cassa

Danced encounters of africa and its disapora

Numeridanse 2012 - Director : Lefebvre, Élodie

Choreographer(s) : Acogny, Germaine (Senegal)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse

en fr

Cassa Cassa

Danced encounters of africa and its disapora

Numeridanse 2012 - Director : Lefebvre, Élodie

Choreographer(s) : Acogny, Germaine (Senegal)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse

en fr

Cassa Cassa, rencontres dansées de l'Afrique et de sa diaspora

Germaine Acogny, a leading figure in contemporary African dance and the founder of the École des Sables in Senegal, has longed for many years to bring together choreographers from Africa and the diaspora.

In 2007, the École des Sables invited for the first time thirty-five choreographers and musicians of African origin for the project « Rencontres dansées de l’Afrique et de sa diaspora » (« Danced Encounters of Africa and its Diaspora »). This remote place became for two weeks the site for exceptional exchange. Each artist who has accepted the invitation brings his or her own personal universe. They unfold it under the others’ gaze, in a quest for the nature of the links that unite them with Africa; they put it into a dialogue with their partners’ universes, searching for the mutations of form and meaning which their dancing has undergone. It is with a desire for communion and sharing that these unique trajectories meet at the École des Sables; it is between the bush and the ocean that they reunite with their collective history.

Source:  Élodie Lefebvre 

Acogny, Germaine

Germaine Acogny is one of the best known personalities  of the African contemporary dance scene, including the field of teaching  and development of contemporary dance in Africa.  

Senegalese and French, she participated from 1962 till 1965 at the  formation at Simon Siegel’s school (the director was Ms Marguerite  Lamotte) in Paris and received a diploma in physical education and  harmonious gymnastics. Then, she founded her first dance studio in Dakar, 1968. Thanks to the  influence of the dances she had inherited from her grandmother, a Yoruba  priest, and to her studies of traditional African dances and Occidental  dances (classic, modern) in Paris and New York, Germaine Acogny created  her own technique of Modern African Dance and is considered to be the  “mother of Contemporary African dance”. 

Between 1977 and 1982 she was the artistic director of MUDRA  AFRIQUE (Dakar), created by Maurice Béjart and the Senegalese president  and poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. In 1980, she wrote her first book entitled “African Dance”, edited in  three languages. Once Mudra Afrique had closed, she moved to Brussels to work with  Maurice Béjart’s company, where she organised international African  dance workshops, which showed great success among the European students.  This same experience was repeated in Africa, in Fanghoumé, a small  village in Casamance, in the south of Senegal. People from Europe and  all over the world travelled to this place.

Together with her husband, Helmut Vogt, she set up in 1985, in  Toulouse, France, the “Studio-Ecole-Ballet-Théâtre du 3è Monde”.
After having been away from the stage for several years, Germaine Acogny  made her come back as a dancer and choreographer in 1987. She worked  with Peter Gabriel for a video clip and created her solo “Sahel”. Other  choreographies follow. Her solo “YE’OU”, created in 1988, tours on all continents and wins the  “London Contemporary Dance and Performance Award” in 1991.
In 1995, she decides to go back to Senegal, with the aim of creating an  International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances: a  meeting point for dancers coming from Africa and from all over the world  and, a place of professional education for dancers from the whole of  Africa with the aim to guide them towards a Contemporary African Dance. The construction of the Centre -also called “L’Ecole des Sables”- was  achieved in June 2004. Although, since 1998, three-month professional  workshops for African dancers and choreographers were organised every  year. About 40 dancers from all over Africa met, exchanged and worked  together each time.
In 1997, Germaine Acogny became Artistic Director of the “Dance section  of Afrique en Creations” in Paris, a position she held until September  2000. During this time, she was responsible for the Contemporary African  Dance Competition, an important platform for young African  choreographers.

In 2005, she was invited as regent at UCLA (University of Los Angeles).
Her solo “Tchouraï”, created in 2001, choreographed by Sophiatou Kossoko  was successfully touring until 2008. She has presented it in France  (Theatre de la Ville, Paris), Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Italy,  the US (New York, Chicago) Brazil and in China (first Contemporary  Dance Festival in Shanghai).
In 2003/2004, she created the piece “Fagaala”, for her company JANT-BI,  based on the genocide in Rwanda. It was co-choreographed with Kota  Yamazaki/Japan for 7 African dancers, a fusion between Butoh and  traditional and contemporary African Dances. It had already three very  successful tours in the US, and was performed in Europe, Australia  (Melbourne Festival, Sydney Opera House) and in Japan.

In 2007, she and Kota Yamazaki received a BESSIE Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) for “Fagaala”.
Later that year, the great challenge was the choreographic part of the  OPERA du SAHEL, an important African creation, initiated and produced by  the Prince Claus Fund in Holland. It premiered in Bamako in February  2007, followed by performances in Amsterdam and Paris and a first  African Tour in 2009. 

In 2008, another choreographic work was organised as a collaboration  between Jant-Bi company (7 male dancers) and Urban Bush Women company (7  Afro-American female dancers) from New York. This new creation “Les  écailles de la mémoire – Scales of memory” was created by her and Jawole  Zollar, the artistic director of Urban Bush Women and had great success  during several touring in the USA and in Europe. Her creation, the solo “Songook Yaakaar” had its Premiere at the  Biennale de la danse in Lyon in September 2010.

In 2014 the French choreographer Olivier Dubois created a solo piece for  Germaine Acogny “Mon élue noire – Sacre no.2” based on the original  music of “Le Sacre du printemps.” In 2015 her new solo creation “Somewhere at the beginning”, came out in  collaboration with theatre director Mikael Serre, a creation that  combined dance, theater and video. The premier took place at the Grand  Theatre de la Ville du Luxembourg in June 2015. She continues to collaborate with international schools and Dance  Centers and regularly teaches master classes. From January 2015 she submitted the Artistic Direction of the Ecole des  Sables to her son Patrick Acogny. 

In 2020, Germaine Acogny and Helmut Vogt made the decision to hand  over the role of Artistic Direction and custodian of the Ecole des  Sables to two of its trusted Alumni that are also holders of the Acogny  Technique Diploma: Alesandra Seutin and Wesley Ruzibiza, to work  alongside Paul Sagne, who has been working and evolving within Ecole des  Sables for the last 15 years and who has now been appointed  Administrative Director.

In February 2021, Germaine Acogny was Awarded with “The Golden Lion for Lifetime achievement” in dance by the La Biennale di Venezia.

Source : Ecole des sables 's website

More information :

Lefebvre, Élodie

 Artist and filmmaker Élodie Lefebvre was born in Toulouse in 1974. Her mother is a Flamenco dancer and her father an architect. She discovered experimental video while studying at the Toulouse École des Beaux-Arts. Halfway between installation and moving image, her work is deeply imbued with the experience of the body. Her documentary films open up a space to share and exchange with other artists, their rapport to creation and the physical or symbolic place from which they hail. The first one, "Au coeur des sables" (2001), is set at the École des Sables, founded by Germaine Acogny. "Cassa Cassa", the second installment of their collaboration, captures one of the "danced encounters" held at the school, where the sensibility and engagement of choreographers from Africa meet those of their peers from the African diaspora. 

Source:  Élodie Lefebvre

École des sables

Germaine Acogny is a leading figure in African dance. With l’École des sables, founded in 1996 at Toubab Dialaw in Senegal, she pursues her objective; to teach the new generations of African dancers and to initiate them to contemporary dance, without discarding their traditions. For three months in 2001, Germaine Acogny and her guests, choreographers Flora Théfain (Togo), Bud Blumenthal (USA) and Bernardo Montet (France), presented their vision of choreography to thirty students from seventeen African countries.

Cassa cassa

Choreography : Gregory Maqoma / Cie Voyani / Afrique du sud - Errol Grimes / Cie Errol Grimes dance group /Barbades - Clément Kapo / Cie Ballet National / Bénin -Tatiana Damasceno /Brésil - Ruis Moreira / Cie Sera que?/ Brésil - Salia Sanou / Cie Salianiseydou / Burkina Faso - Jean Miche Fonkam / Cie Phénix / Cameroun - Fred Bendongué / Cie Fred Bendongué / Cameroun / France - James Carlès /Cie James Carlès / Cameroun / France - Nadia Beugré / Ex Cie Tché tché / Côte d'ivoire - Junaid Jemal / Cie Adugna / Ethiopie - Lena Blou / Cie Trilogie /Guadeloupe - Nicole Lumarque / Ballet National / Haïti - Odak Onyango / Kenya Performing art group / Kenya - Fumi Adewole / Nigéria / UK - Lola Adodo / Nigéria / UK - Arir Andriamoratsiresy / Cie Rary / Madagascar - Adedayo Liadi / Cie Ijodee / Nigéria - Flavia Chevez Le Messurier / Pérou / UK - Longa Fô / RDC - Andreya Ouamba / Cie 1er Temps / Congo / Sénégal - Germaine Acogny / Cie Jant bi / Sénégal - Patrick Acogny / Cie Jant bi / Sénégal / France - Kaolak Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye / Cie Kaloack Danse / Sénégal / Tchecoslovaquie - Flora Théphaine / Cie Kossiwa / Togo / France - Hyacinthe Tobio / Cie Les jeunes tréteaux / Tchad - Jawole Zollar / Cie Urban Bush women / USA - Nora Chipaumire / Zimbabwé / USA - Gilbert Douglas /Tumbuka dance Cie/ Zimbabwé / Australie.

Original music : Aymeric de Tapol (direction) / Joao Paulo Tiago – Brésil / Francisco Tiago – Brésil / Gilberto Amancio - Brésil Allan Blou – Guadeloupe / Félix Flauzin – Guadeloupe / Raoul Jr Denis – Haîti / Abdoula Diop – Sénégal / Djibril Bâ – Sénégal / Ndey Sec – Sénégal / Oumar Fandy Diop – Sénégal / Ousman Sene – Sénégal / Pape Badara Fall - Sénégal

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Association Jant-bi

Duration : 52'

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