Discover Germaine Acogny, dubbed Mother of African Dance

Germaine Acogny, dubbed “Mother of African Dance,” challenges norms, infusing Blackness and West African rhythms into her choreography. Born in Benin in 1944 and settled in Senegal, she founded Jant-Bi dance company and École des Sables, a renowned dance center. Despite encountering racial and gender biases in her early dance training in Paris, Acogny embraced her unique physique and African heritage, pioneering a distinctive dance language.

Image credit: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Her influence extends globally, receiving accolades such as the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and a Bessie Award in New York. Through her technique, she fosters a fusion of traditional African, European, and American dance forms, shaping contemporary African voices. Acogny’s work embodies a feminist decolonial narrative, exploring themes of history, identity, and spirituality.

Notable works include “Fagaala,” delving into the Rwandan genocide through a fusion of Butoh and West African dance, and “Somewhere at the Beginning,” a poignant solo reflecting on her dual heritage and colonial legacies. As she celebrates her 80th birthday, Acogny’s legacy stands as a testament to her transformative impact on African dance, reshaping perceptions of bodies, histories, and identity.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the people.

Discover Germaine Acogny, dubbed Mother of African Dance

Germaine Acogny, dubbed “Mother of African Dance,” challenges norms, infusing Blackness and West African rhythms into her choreography. Born in Benin in 1944 and settled in Senegal, she founded Jant-Bi dance company and École des Sables, a renowned dance center. Despite encountering racial and gender biases in her early dance training in Paris, Acogny embraced her unique physique and African heritage, pioneering a distinctive dance language.

Image credit: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Her influence extends globally, receiving accolades such as the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and a Bessie Award in New York. Through her technique, she fosters a fusion of traditional African, European, and American dance forms, shaping contemporary African voices. Acogny’s work embodies a feminist decolonial narrative, exploring themes of history, identity, and spirituality.

Notable works include “Fagaala,” delving into the Rwandan genocide through a fusion of Butoh and West African dance, and “Somewhere at the Beginning,” a poignant solo reflecting on her dual heritage and colonial legacies. As she celebrates her 80th birthday, Acogny’s legacy stands as a testament to her transformative impact on African dance, reshaping perceptions of bodies, histories, and identity.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the people.