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Germaine Acogny Technique
Germaine Acogny's teaching is based on her specific technique of Modern African Dance, a synthesis of Traditional Dances from West Africa (Sahel and forest area) and Contemporary Western Dances. This technique is absolutely comparable to Western techniques such as Graham’s or Limon’s. It is related to the idea that African Dances are a continuous dialogue with the Cosmos.
She works a lot with improvisation techniques. She trains the African dancers to make them discover their own way, transforming their traditional dances into contemporary expressions and forms.
In connivance with the percussionist drummers, she offers to share her universe of "body in joy" through her technique based on sensitive virtuosi. Focussing on the spine movement she considers as the snake of life or the tree of life, she works on: contractions, undulations, tremulations or vibrations.
Most of her movements are inspired by nature – plants or animals, but also by elements of daily life in Africa. They are precise and clearly defined and deeply related to breathing. The movements of Acogny’s technique are named from symbolic natural images such as: fromager tree, water lily, deer. Breathing and deep-rooting are also very important parts of the exercises. These exercises help to liberate the body, to feel it differently, to be deep-rooted on the ground and feel verticality better. The movements also contribute to enriching the dancer’s physical vocabulary.
Germaines Acogny’s classes are divided into 3 parts:
- Warming up in a circle and/or using the entire space (45 minutes)
- Approach to the different movements of her technique (30 minutes), in standing position, on the floor
- Putting the different movements into a combination, into dance (1 hour).
To the world of western dance, she suggests to open up to African dance, to its wealth, power and telluric strength as a new source of inspiration.
The dancer is not supposed to count; s/he is supposed to listen to the musician to feel the rhythm and anticipate the blockings and calls. The musician is more than an accompanying figure; helps to "open up the ear" of the dancer, inspire his/her unusual movement quality and thus contribute in developing the corporal language.
When the students have interiorised the technique and the movements, Germaine Acogny guides them through improvisations in which they use elements they learned during the class to combine them with their own dances and dance tradition. Germaine Acogny's technique helps the dancer see his/her own corporal language from a different angle, analyse it and use it in a new creative way. Her work is strongly related to Africa but at the same time opens up to the universal.
ArtistBio: Germaine Acogny