Germaine Acogny: Mother of Contemporary African Dance

Germaine Acogny, also known as the mother of contemporary african dance, will be gracing our shores this March, read on to learn more about this exceptional woman and about her Australian events.

Written by Sacreblue!

22 Feb 2023

3 min read

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Germaine Acogny

The Mother of Contemporary African Dance

International dance star Germaine Acogny, commonly referred to as the Mother of Contemporary African dance, is gracing Australia with her presence this March to perform in various showcases and conduct masterclasses and other meetings. On the 11th of March, she will perform a stunning set at Sydney’s Opera House on the opening night of the All About Women Festival.

The Senegalese dancer and choreographer, born in Benin in 1944, moved to France as a teenager to study modern dance and ballet. She later decided to return to Senegal to teach dance locally while creating and perfecting her own technique and style, which would later become known as the Germaine Acogny technique. In 1977, she ran the Mudra Afrique dance school where she taught a mix of African dances intertwined with Western styles, ultimately leading to the publication of her book African Dance in 1980, which became a pillar for Senegalese dance. With her husband Helmut Vogt, she then founded the “studio-school ballet-theatre du 3e monde” in Toulouse in 1985.

Germaine Acogny achieved international fame in 1991 after winning the London Contemporary Dance and Performance Award and opened, in 1998, the now-celebrated Ecole des Sables. It is considered to be a prominent contemporary dance centre, which attracts dancers and choreographers from around Africa and the rest of the world. Her performances, both as a dancer and choreographer, have won numerous awards, a testament to her talent. In 2021, the still-dancing 78 year-old was awarded the Golden Lion for Dance at the Venice Biennale after being named a Knight of the Order of Merit, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic, and Knight of the National Order of the Lion of Senegal.

This March, it is in Australia that Mama Africa will land. Starting with the Opera House in Sydney for the opening night of All About Women, she will then go on to teach her Germaine Acogny Technique discovery Masterclass to Australian and Aboriginal dance students. These moments of interaction will enable artists to discover, discuss, learn, and create in a supportive environment. She will end her Australian journey in Melbourne to perform the beautiful Somewhere at the Beginning at Arts House, in which Germaine shows, through her testimony and her dance, a confrontation between the self and the world, as if a new start was still possible. Where the great ideologies no longer manage to provide an identity to the individual, it seems essential to continue to offer a dialogue with the intimacy of all.

Do not miss the opportunity to discover this incredible artist and her magnificent work in Sydney  ( and Melbourne ( !

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