In the Spring of 2021 Dance Base Scotland and Ecole des Sables Senegal announced their collaboration on a new and unique exchange project entitled Source which would celebrate the African Contemporary practice through Germaine Acogny’s Technique.
Thanks to funding from the British Council Connect and Collaborate Fund the two organisations joined forces to create a ground-breaking project, that would invite two dance artists from Scotland and two from Senegal to work together over a 9 month period and immerse themselves in Acogny Technique, to explore how it could interpreted, shared and incorporated in to their practice. The project would see the four artists connect digitally together from September 2021 to April 2022 and then culminate in a two-to-three week residency at Ecole des Sables with Madame Acogny, Alesandra Seutin and Wesley Ruzibiza.
We are thrilled to announce that the artists taking part in this new programme are Baidy Ba (Senegal), Jennifer Ba (Scotland), Pirita Tuisku (Scotland) & Saky Tchébé Bertrand (Senegal)!
Germain Acogny, the Mother of Contemporary African Dance, is a legendary pioneer in the development of contemporary African dance and she has given life to the Acogny Technique; a synthesis between traditional African dances and cultures from elsewhere. This unique approach has defined the current landscape of contemporary dance in Africa and established a generation of dancers who have trained under her artistic direction at Acogny’s home at Ecole des Sables, the International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances, in Dakar, Senegal.
Dance Base and Ecole des Sables look forward to working together to support the artists to ignite a meaningful creative exchange, and to the conversations, creativity and exploration that lies ahead!
Baidy Ba is a dancer, choreographer and performer, anative of the Kaolack City, and he started dancing from an early age. Being a Hip Hop dancer at the base, he was the national champion in Popping at the Dance Au Battle National Kaay Fecc and was also nominated Best Dancer of the Year in 2014. In 2012 he began his training in contemporary and classical dance with Guillaume Siard from Preljocaj Ballet and Alioune Diagne from Cie Diagn'art in St Louis (Senegal). From 2013 to 2018 he undertook further training at the Ecole des Sables with pioneers of Afro contemporary dance in Africa such as Germaine Acogny (Ecole Des Sables), and benefited from classical dance training with Gil Roman from the Ballet Bej'art, and locking and popping with actress Marie Koda.
I began exploring West African dance as a route to connecting with my culture, as a mixed race African-Scot. This has enabled me to learn so much about myself in the process. I was part of Scotland's first African dance group Afridonia, and it sparked my excitement and interest in traditional west African movement, and music. I have studied in Guinea and Senegal, and enjoyed sharing my passion as a member of Edinburgh based Sankofa Beats Dance Group. I had the pleasure of teaching West African dance digitally for Dance Base throughout the pandemic.
'I am looking forward to exploring the Acogny Technique in it's birthplace, Ecole de Sables. Not only do I want to develop my practise, but I am excited to delve into the African philosophy behind the Technique. My aim is to bring my learning back to Scotland, and encourage the creation of spaces for People of Colour, to explore dance and movement of the African diaspora here in Scotland. '
Pirita Tuisku is a Finnish Dance artist living in Scotland and works as a Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher in Finland, Scotland, South Africa and Hong Kong. She is a versatile artist and already has over a decade of experience of working in dance across many different styles. Her passion is to create work that will engage an audience, explore different art forms and bring everyday topics to life on stage. She finds her inspiration from working in collaboration with others, and approaching this with a curiosity and an open mindset. Her own curiosity is in exploring how she can push her own boundaries as a mover, and in how the artforms of other cultures can affect her dancing. Outside of dance Pirita has a passion for upcycled jewellery making, Aerial yoga & learning new languages.
“I became interested in the Acogny dance technique several years ago and I have been hoping to have the chance to dive into it further since then! I have a huge interest in exploring other cultures and I have spent the last few years working and collaborating with artists in South Africa, and I have visited several times. This experience sparked the curiosity to learn more about West Africa, and to connect with artists from this area. I am really excited to be part of this programme and I look forward to learning from another culture, engaging with another contemporary dance technique, connect with other dance artists and reflecting on what this will give to my own practice.”
Bertrand Saky Tchébé
Dancer, choreographer and percussionist, Bertrand Saky Tchébé was born in Yopougon. He was first a dancer at the National Ballet of Côte d'Ivoire from 1993, then a member of the AfriKa Bikonda company, directed by the Cameroonian director Jean-Jacques Yem alias Nlomkop Dikoa, with whom he toured West Africa from 1996, then he became a member of the Compagnie 1er Temps of Andreya Ouamba (winner of the Rencontres chorégraphiques de Paris) from 2003 to 2004.
He deepened his knowledge of traditional and contemporary African dances at the École des Sables, in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, where he became a teacher.
Saky has been a member of the Jant-bi Company and has toured the world with his creations Waxtaan and Fagaala since 2004.
In 2011, he joined the CND (Centre National de Danse de Paris) to follow the training courses for the state diploma of dance teacher, within the framework of the agreement between the École des Sables and the CND. He lives and works in Dakar and teaches regularly at the Ecole des Sables.
“The project Source is a great initiative for dance artists. It allows for encounters between artists that could lead to other collaborations. It is a great opportunity for me to deepen my personal research and to open myself to others. I look forward to meeting the other participants and getting to know them better through dance, which is our common potion; as Germaine Acogny's mother always says, through dance we will live and through dance we will overcome. Finally, I am very happy and moved to have been chosen to be part of this adventure that will benefit other dancers in the world. I hope that the program will take place in a beautiful harmony with a family and fraternal atmosphere; artistic inspiration for each of us that could lead to a creation in the future.”