Germaine Acogny – dancer, choreographer and founder of École des Sables – is coming to the Netherlands with École des Sables. Her dance company, in collaboration with Pina Bausch Foundation and Sadler’s Wells, performs the iconic The Rite of Spring in Pina Bausch’s famous  choreography (1975). Prior to this breathtaking piece, Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo will dance the  duet common ground[s].

Deeply moved was Germaine Acogny upon seeing the iconic Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) by the Paris Opera Ballet. In Pina Bausch’s version, dancers set aside their dance technique to perform a dance rooted in dark earth in which the stage is covered. Male and female dancers engage in a wild and poetic struggle that culminates in the sacrifice of the “Chosen One” to outline the transition from winter to spring. The result is enormously compelling and moving choreography.

In addition, there was recognition for Acogny in theme and spiritual beliefs from her African culture, despite the fact that the piece is originally based on ancient Russian ceremonies. Salomon Bausch, executive director of Pina Bausch Foundation and son of Pina Bausch, immediately liked the idea of working with Germaine Acogny and her École des Sables to re-create The Rite of Spring with dancers from various African countries.

Ambassador of African dance and culture
The Senegalese-French Germaine Acogny (Benin, 1944) is known as the founder of modern African dance. She was influenced by the dance she inherited from her grandmother, a Yoruba priestess, and her studies of traditional African dance and classical and modern Western dance in Paris and New York. Acogny’s work is highly regarded worldwide; she dances, choreographs and teaches on all continents. With her background in traditional African dance, as well as classical and modern Western dance, she is a true ambassador of African dance and culture.

École des Sables
In 1998, Germaine Acogny and her husband Helmut Vogt opened École des Sables in Senegal. This school is an international center for traditional and contemporary African dance, and in recent years the center has grown to become Africa’s leading institute for the development of professional dance. École des Sables works primarily with a training program for young dancers and choreographers from all over Africa. By attending the training, they become professionalized so it is possible to live from the art form “dance”. In addition, the dance center was created to promote communication and cooperation between dancers, choreographers and companies from Africa and the rest of the world.

The Rite of Spring / common ground[s]
A collaboration is reflected in the program The Rite of Spring / common ground[s]. At the École des Sables, a team of dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal revived and shared the essence of The Rite of Spring choreographed by Pina Bausch in 1975 with 36 performers from 14 African countries. Also common ground[s] brings  two worlds, Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo, icon of the first hour at the Tanztheater Wuppertal, together.

The Rite of Spring / common ground[s] can be seen from 12 until 14 January in Amare, The Hague