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© Barbara Cali
© Barbara Cali
© Barbara Cali
© Barbara Cali

Ancient Kinetic Wisdom

Recoil, Resilience, Oscillation
Fractal Repetition
Traditional Beninese Polyrhythms
Introduction to Geomancy – The Fa
Group/Solo Awareness

This project will focus on the structure and phasing of ritual as a performative act, where space, objects, repetition, rhythm, gesture, the body and the voice become instruments of evocation, portals for connection and access to collective memory. These processes keep shifting from the individual to the collective and vice versa. Although structured, they serve as guided contexts for spontaneity.
The inquiry revolves around these fundamental questions: How do ancient values and practices adapt to and manifest in contemporary society? Is it possible that ancient and current performative practices could enrich each other? How can we, as artists, look at ritual and re-elaborate the wisdom that passes through the body in such a vivid way?

In this special, three person "Co-Teaching", Francesca, Frey and Eric will share a selection of results of their research through several years of exchange.
We also intend to share embodied examples of some of the underlying fundamental principles in traditional dances, look with attention at the complexity of interrelated and subtle biomechanics and explore a few ways these principles can be translated and applied to more contemporary movement concepts.
In an effort to provide cultural background and insight, Eric Acakpo will share excerpt and mechanics of the Yoruban oracular system, the FA; a rich repository of archetypal symbology and philosophical inquest, as well as a math/memory aide and thought of as the origin of modern binary computer operating systems.
Our common resource; The Axis Syllabus, will provide a framework for organising impulse and insight as well as deep analysis instruments for re-elaboration and biomechanical rendering.

Dance-artist Francesca Pedullà, Musician Eric Acakpo and Axis Syllabus Consolidator Frey Faust
Francesca and Eric have worked together since more than 10 years, teaching, creating contexts for cultural and artistic exchange and performing in Benin and abroad. They founded the Beninese Cultural Association Sonagnon in 2006 with the aim to protect and share the richness of Beninese culture and provide an exchange platform for artists from all over the world. From 2008 to 2012 they co-directed the international project Dialogues Inévitables realised in collaboration with various cultural association and with the support of several international institutions. Since 2012 they co-direct TRACES, an annual professional educational platform for dance and choreographic practice based in Cotonou and Ouidah with the collaboration of the Axis Syllabus International Research Network. Frey Faust has been a collaborating teacher of Traces since 2013. He has contributed to the in-depth biomechanical analysis of Beninese traditional dances.


Born in 1960, Frey Faust began performing at the age of 8 with his family as a traveling troubadour. He is a second-generation contact improviser and an alumnus of the 80´s New York dance scene. Some of his more important early influences came from: Shekhinah Mountainwater, Nita Little, Pavel Rouba, Rene Bazinet, and Janet Panetta. He has worked with and for a number of artists (order of appearance): Ohad Naharin, Donald Byrd, David Parsons, Gina Buntz, Howard Katz, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, Randy Warshaw, Bob Een, Stephen Petronio, Danny Ezralow... to name a few. He founded or co-founded three dance companies, and has created or co-created over 40 choreographic solo and group works. Following an independent study of anatomy, biomechanics, and physics, he has been able to build a pedagogical approach that has made him a sought after teacher, personal coach and technical counsellor. After fifteen years of research, he consolidated his findings in a book, "The Axis Syllabus – human movement lexicon", which he continues to edit with the help of the Axis Syllabus International Research Network. Founded in 2009, the ASIRN is a rapidly expanding group of experts from many related fields in the human movement and education sciences. Recently, his work on the AS has been focused on the provision of an online university for the study of the human body: The ASIRN Forum, as well as the construction of a symbol set with the potential to streamline movement documentation, creation and analysis, The Human Movement Alphabet. He also makes shoes, speaks four languages, and continues to create and perform dances.

ARTISTBIO: Francesca Pedulla

Francesca Pedullà – dance artist, independent curator and a dance teacher, holds a Masters Degree in History of Theatre and Performing Arts, a diploma as professor of African Dance Expression – FEIDA Bordeaux. She is certified to teach the Axis Syllabus. Since 1998 she spends several months a year living in Benin, who's culture has been a profound influence. Since 2005, she develops artistic works and cultural projects in Europe and Benin. She is the artistic director of Traces, study programme for dancers based in Ouidah – Benin and co-curator of the European Nomadic College and the Sensing In Festival in Berlin. Based in Berlin, she choreographs, performs and teaches throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, Israel, Brazil and Benin.
Her focus looks at how structurally supported action or expressive gesture is the result of continuous adaptation. Her objective as a teacher is to stimulate a critical appraisal of the circumstances in and around us through a gradual building of a common store of technical references (biomechanics, musicality, spatial relationships) and through creative games and discussions for channelling the potential of the individual and collective body.

ARTISTBIO: Eric Acakpo

Eric Acakpo was steeped in the traditional rhythms, songs and dances of Benin since early childhood. Besides membership in several folkloric ensembles, he toured African and European Festivals as a dancer/musician with the Voodoo Brass Band in the early 2000’s.
Important early dance teachers were the Italian choreographer Anouska Brodaks, and the great pedagogue, choreographer, dancer and countryman Koffi Kôkô. He toured Europe, Central and South America as a dancer in Koffi Kôkô’s "Les fueilles qui resiste au vent", a full length dance work. He then worked for Koffi Kôkô as a musician and assistant for several years around Europe.
In 2006 he was the only musician selected to represent Benin in the creation of the show "Africa, mais pas seulement" created and curated by the Association "Melody for Dialogue among Civilizations".
In 2006 he co-founded the cultural Association Sonagnon with the dancer and choreographer Francesca Pedullà. The objective of the Association is to highlight the art and culture of Benin and create opportunities for exchange and research contexts for artists. The Sonagnon Association receives support from the French Institute of Cotonou and from various international organisations, produces training workshops, creative residencies and performance opportunities for local and internationally based artists. The collaboration with Francesca Pedullà also included two co-directed performance projects: "Dialogues Inevitables" and "The Myth of the God Money". This last work toured to Cotonou, Brussels, Genoa, Bielefeld and Berlin.
Since 2012, he and Francesca Pedulla also co-direct the pedagogical initiative Traces, which proposes movement, anatomy, physics and choreographic study for professional dancers. Traces is a collaboration with the Axis Syllabus International Research Network and IRSP of Ouidah. In 2014 and 2015, he taught at the Nomadic College Gamboa, Brazil, at the Rio Centro Centroção, Rio de Janeiro, at the Federal University of Salvador da Bahia, and at the Cultural Center Peterzold of Porto Alegre. Most recently he founded and led the musical project Les Tambours du Benin, with the intention to preserve and transmit traditional Benin rhythms.


© Karolina Miernik

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Date: 21.07.2019, 11:10 | Link: