Mother of African contemporary dance
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The Senegalese dancer Germaine Acogny is the winner of the 2019 ECOWAS Arts and Literature Award. She was honoured for the “quality and richness of her artistic production recognised in several ECOWAS member states, her contribution to the training of West African youth in choreography and the wide dissemination of her work in her country, the region and the world.” Born in 1944 in Benin, Acogny still performs on the international scene and teaches on all continents. Her career began in the early 1960s when she participated in the creation of the Simon Siegel school in Paris and received a diploma in physical education and harmonious gymnastics. She then created the first African dance studio in Dakar in 1968. Between 1977-82, she was artistic director of Mudra Afrique school in Dakar, created with the support of Senegalese president Leopold Sedar Senghor. Her first book, “African Dance” was published in 1980. In 2004, she built the famous  L’École des Sables  offering professional workshops for African dancers and choreographers. Throughout her career, Germaine Acogny received a large number of distinctions and honours, including the “Pioneer Woman” award from the Senegalese Ministry of the Family and National Solidarity and the French « Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur » distinction. In 2014, Jeune Afrique magazine listed Germaine Acogny as one of the 50 most influential Africans worldwide.