Meet African dance pioneer Germaine Acogny

23 Mar 2018

Germaine Acogny in ‘Somewhere at the Beginning’. Image: Thomas Dorn

Germaine Acogny

Wednesday 9 May

3.45pm 5.15pm

PACE3, De Montfort University

Somewhere at the Beginning

Germaine Acogny

Friday 11 May – Saturday 12 May


The Curve

Rutland Street




A true pioneer for the development of African people’s dance worldwide, French-Sengalese choreographer Germaine Acogny is heralded as the ‘Mother of Contemporary African Dance’ with her technique and practice informing countless practitioners.

Acogny’s style and technique, though deeply rooted in popular traditions, is not ‘a return to the root’ approach to African dance as that could arguably constrain the title of ‘black dance’. To the Western dance world, she suggests opening up to African dance, its richness, power and strength and to use it as a new source of inspiration. She offers, through her technique, to reunite with the ‘lost body’ and make it feel the ground, the earth, the rhythm, the heart beating, and discover a new energy flow in the body.

Germaine Acogny’s workshop will a be a unique introduction to her technique by the creator herself. The technique ‘An African Dance of modern expression’ focuses on the work of the spine and improvisation, movements are based on three elements: undulation, contraction, vibration. Through the class, participants will discover their own style transforming traditional dances into contemporary expression and forms, and open up to African dance, its richness, power and strength to use it as a new source of inspiration. This class is perfect for anyone who is looking for continued professional development and who is open to discovering new forms of movement.

For further information and to book, please call 0116 257 7316 or email

Later in the week, Somewhere at the Beginning provides an opportunity for audience members to see this technique put in to practice by Germaine Acogny herself. Somewhere at the Beginning is a personal exploration of both Germaine’s own history as she looks back at her family; her Great Grandmother Aloopho, a Voodoo Priestess, a guardian of a power, a wisdom and a mystical knowledge; and her father, Togoun Servais Acogny who left behind Beninese voodoo traditions for Catholicism. Her father wished that “all men, whomever they are, establish a common dialogue and let prejudice fall.”

Somewhere at the Beginning takes its source in the past, its roots in the present, and crosses space and time to approach the future with a spirit of forgiveness. The work has universal references to Greek tragedy and the very current issues of emigration and exile, providing a dialogue of the times where the great ideologies no longer manage to provide an identity to the individual, between loneliness on stage and the intimacy with the audience.

For further information, please visit the Serendipity website.