Germaine Acogny honoured for her life's work

Golden Lion of the Biennale Danza Festival

The founder of contemporary »African Dance« has been committed for decades to the deepening and spreading of African Dance. Since the 1960s, Germaine Acogny has been realizing and manifesting her vision, enriching the african - and eventually the international - dance world as a dancer, teacher and mentor. The Biennale Danza Festival now honours her life's work with the Golden Lion. In anticipation of this year's »Sacre« project, we congratulate her! [This text has been translated electronically.]

In her childhood Germaine Acogny already knew that she wanted to learn and teach dance. However in the 1940s and 50s, there was as little a dance school in her home country of Senegal as there was on the rest of the continent. Before she could overcome this circumstance in 1968 with her first dance studio in Dakar, she studied at the École Simon Siegel in Paris. Together with her husband Helmut Vogt, she founded the Studio-École-Ballet-Théâtre du 3è Mondein Toulouse in the mid-1980s in Toulouse and established her occidental-African perspective and therefore her style in the western dance world. Acogny gained reputation and fame and notoriety for her technique of contemporary African dance in which she draws her influences from Yoruba circles, traditional African and European dance and modern dance. But there is more to her »African Dance« than a mere fusion of different experiences: It is symptomatic for her vision to emancipate African dance on its own continent and thus to enter into international exchange. Such an emancipation is only possible in the networking and professionalization of diverse African dancers. In 1995 Germaine Acogny finally returned to Senegal and founded the École des Sables together with her husband which teaches dancers from different parts of Africa in traditional and contemporary African dance and is a place of artistic exchange and research.

Because of her transcending of borders and oceans, her vision and development of an autonomous African dance and because of its pedagogical, artistic and also art-political engagement Acogny is an internationally sought-after personality. At the 2021 Ludwigsburg Festival, she will be part of Pina Bausch Sacre both herself and with her École des Sables. With the duet »common ground[s]«, in which she and Malou Airaudo deal with their stories and emotional experiences, Germaine Acogny responds to Pina Bausch's choreography for »The Rite of Spring«, performed by dancers from 14 African countries. This project is part of her mission of exchange and brings a new perspective to Ludwigsburg.

The Biennale Danza Festival now honors this inspiring life's work with the Golden Lion. We congratulate her on this award and look forward to having her as our guest at the Ludwigsburg Festival 2021!