Bajo el Sol



Germaine Acogny and Nora Chipaumire discuss the current situation of African dance, the importance of education in the ongoing process of decolonization and their emotional and professional experiences as women and Africans throughout their trajectory. In the second part of the interview, they answer questions from curator Marisa Lull in which they reveal the keys to their technique and their sources of inspiration for the creation of their artistic works.

Somewhere at the Beginning

Germain Acogny

Nora Chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe). She is a product of colonial education for black native Africans – known as group B schooling – and has pursued other studies at the University of Zimbabwe (law) and at Mills College in Oakland, CA (dance). Before and up to the start of the global pandemic chipaumire has been touring “#PUNK 100% POP *NIGGA” (verbalized as “Hashtag Punk, One Hundred Percent Pop and Star NIGGA”), a three-part live performance album. Her other live works include “portrait of myself as my father” (2016), “RITE RIOT” (2012) and “Miriam” (2012). She recently released a Radio Opera (2021), has been featured in several dance films and made her directorial debut with the short film “Afro Promo #1 King Lady” (2016). Her long-term research project “nhaka,” a technology-based practice and process to her artistic work, instigates and investigates the nature of black bodies and the products of their imaginations. “nhaka bhuku 1” has been published in 2020 at the courtesy of Matadero Publishing House (Spain). nora chipaumire is a four time Bessie Award winner and was a proud recipient of the 2016 Trisha Mckenzie Memorial Award for her impact on the dance community in Zimbabwe. She was also nominated for a NAMA award as one of those exiled Zimbabweans making an impact on the arts at home and abroad in 2020. chipaumire is honored to include the acknowledgements of the arts communities in awards such as the recent COVID-19 related “Dance Bubble” grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2021), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2016), a Doris Duke Artist Award (2015) and a Princeton Hodder Fellowship (2014). She is currently a Fellow at Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University (2020) and an Artist in Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, LMCC (2019-2021).

Senegalese and French, born in 1944, Germaine Acogny has evolved her own technique of Modern African Dance and is considered worldwide as the ‘mother of Contemporary African Dance’. She dances, choreographs and teaches all over the world and has become a powerful ambassador of African Dance and Culture. In 2021 La Biennale di Venezia awarded her the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and in 2019, she received the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Excellence Award, in the category Arts and Letters. With her husband Helmut Vogt, she created the École des Sables, the International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances inaugurated in June 2004. Located in Toubab Dialaw / Senegal, it is an important place for training and exchange for African and international dancers. In 1997, she was appointed Artistic Director of the dance section of Afrique en Création in Paris. From 1977 to 1982, she was the Artistic Director of Mudra Afrique, created by Maurice Béjart and Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar, which would serve as a model for the entire continent. It was there that Acogny developed her own original technique. Germaine Acogny has choreographed many pieces, for her Company JANT-BI, which tours successfully around the world, and she creates and performs her own solos. Her last creation, the solo A un endroit du début had its premiere at the Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg in June 2015. Germaine Acogny is ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite’, ‘Officier and Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres’, ‘Chevalier et Officier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur’ of the French Republic. She is also ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Lion’ and ‘Officier et Commandeur des Arts et Lettres’’ of the Republic of Senegal. In 1999, Germaine Acogny was decorated as “PioneerWoman” by the Senegalese Ministry of the Family and the National Solidarity. In 2007, she received, jointly with the Japanese Kota Yamazaki, a Bessie Award in New York for their choreography Fagaala. In 2018 – Germaine Acogny received a New York Bessie Award for outstanding performance in the solo Mon élue noire-sacre # 2 and an Award for Lifetime achievement in the field of choreography, movement and dance from the Cairo International Festival for Experimental and Contemporary Theatre.

Bates Dance Festival

Nora Chipaumire

BAJO EL SOL is a project by Travesía Cuatro | Coordinated by Claudia Llanza and Andrea Celda