Photo: © Germaine Acogny – Ecole des sables
The Senegalese and French dancer and choreographer Germaine Acogny, renowned around the dance world as “the mother of contemporary African dance” has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance 2021. The prestigious award, presented by the Venice Biennale Foundation, is yet another recognition of the 76-year-old choreographer’s prolific and influential career.
“Her influence as a creative and mentorship of countless young dance makers from Africa and beyond is a legacy we should highlight and celebrate as she continues to inspire and guide with her restless vision” stated Wayne McGregor CBE, director of dance at the Venice Biennale. She has created several dance academies in both Senegal and France notably ‘Mudra Afrique’ in Dakar which was founded by Maurice Bejart and then President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Sénghor and for which she was artistic director between 1977-82. In 2004, with her husband Helmut Vogt, she founded the École des Sables, in Toubab Dialaw.
École des Sables is an international school for traditional and contemporary African dances and home to her professional dance company JANT-BI. In France she was appointed artistic director of dance of Afrique en Creation in Paris in 1997. Responsible for developing “African Dance” she continues to dance, teach and choreograph all over the world and is the recipient of many international awards and honours.
Last year during the height of the global pandemic lockdown the director of the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome, Enrica Palmieri, invited Germaine Acogny to be the president of the international judging panel for the Premio Roma Danza 2020 competition which was held exclusively on line. The Cuomo Foundation has been the principal sponsor of the international dance video and choreography competition since 2019.
Today, the Cuomo Foundation congratulates Germaine Acogny on her latest impressive honour and salutes her achievements in bringing Senegal and African contemporary dance to centre stage on the international dance scene.
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