Company Jant-Bi

About Jant-Bi

Compagnie Jant-Bi was created in 1998, with dancers who had participated in the first professional workshop of the International Center for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances, L’École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, under the artistic direction of the Senegalese dancer and choreographer Germaine Acogny.

The first choreography of the Company, Le Coq est Mort, was created for eight male dancers in 1999, by the German choreographer Susanne Linke, and the Israeli co-choreographer Avi Kaiser. Le Coq est Mort toured throughout Europe and North America including such theaters as Theatre de la Ville in Paris, FIND in Montreal, Jacob’s Pillow, The Kennedy Center and Arizona State University, among others.

Compagnie Jant-Bi works closely with the International Center for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances, L’Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, on the coast in the South of Dakar. The principal aim of the Centre is to supply African dancers with professional training in traditional and contemporary African dance, and to develop and promote Contemporary African Dance. The Center is also a meeting point and a place of exchange for dancers and choreographers belonging to the African Diaspora, and different cultures from all over the world. The Company continues this international cultural exchange by creating works that reflect the spirit of the Centre. By creating/forming contacts with choreographers from other cultures and incorporating different dance styles, a fusion between their culture and the essence of African dance is obtained.

Germaine Acogny
GERMAINE ACOGNY (choreographer) is Senegalese and French in origin and founded her first dance studio in Dakar in 1968. Thanks to the influence of the body movements she had inherited from her grandmother, a Yoruba priest, and to her learning of traditional African dances and Occidental dances (classical and modern), Acogny gave birth to her own dance technique; in 1980, she wrote a book on her technique entitled, African Dance, published in German, English and French. Between 1977 and 1982, she was director of Mudra Afrique (Dakar), created by Maurice Béjart and the Senegal’s President L.S. Senghor. When Mudra Afrique closed, she moved to Brussels to work with Maurice Béjart’s company and organized numerous international African dance workshops, which enjoyed great success among European audiences. This same experience was repeated in Africa and in Fanghoume, a small village in the Casamance region of southern Senegal. Acogny dances, produces choreographies and teaches all over the world, becoming a real emissary of African Dance and Culture.
Together with her husband, Helmut Vogt, she founded the "Studio-Ecole-Ballet-Theatre du 3e Monde” in 1985. In 1987, after a brief respite from performing, she worked with Peter Gabriel on a video clip and created her solo Sahel. In 1995, she decided to return to Senegal, with the aim of creating an International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances. The center was created to serve as a meeting point for dancers coming from Africa and from all over the world, and as a place of education for dancers from the whole of Africa that could guide them towards a Contemporary African Dance.


GERMAINE ACOGNY (choreographer) was inspired to create a work dealing with the issue of genocide after having read Murambi, le livre des ossements, (Book of Bones) by Senegalese writer, Boubacar Boris Diop, which is the first fictionalized rendering about the Rwandan genocide. In addition to the writings of Diop, Acogny conducted personal interviews, gathering testimonies about genocide. A combination of Diop’s fiction and these real-life accounts informed Acogny’s perspective and creative vision.

Germaine Acogny’s reflections: "This murdering madness has existed since the dawn of time, and it will probably never completely disappear. But, in order to reduce this violence, each one of us must fight against fear, hatred and vengeance, as those feelings can easily invade us. I would like everybody, the society and politicians, to become conscious of the urgent need to find solutions for peace in order to extinguish the flames of hatred and to avoid that this type of tragedy will ever happen again. I will try to find a body language inspired by all the inner distress to face the collective madness.

This suffering, the horror and the screaming of pain caused by this tragedy will be linked with and translated by the dancer’s bodies, so as to call out to the world, and shock and disturb the bodies and spirits, but showing at the same time a tiny light of hope, ready to become a sunray. The guiding texts of this creation are written in Wolof (widely spoken in Senegal), French and Japanese, in order to better illustrate the sad universality of the subject".

KOTA YAMAZAKI (choreographer) represents the spearhead of the young generation of Japanese choreographers. His work is based in Butoh, a performance art that originated in Post World-War II Japan, combined with other dance and movement techniques including ballet and modern. His dance is full of energy and a strong sense of social engagement.

Yamazaki’s choreographic approach in Fagaala was to find a connection between the genocide of Rwanda, Butoh and African Dance. Both choreographers—Acogny and Yamazaki—worked together to find, through their specific gestures, a common language capable of creating powerful and touching images of the human tragedy of genocide. The choreographers use strong body language coupled with voices and sounds to evoke both suffering and hope.

Kota Yamazaki’s reflections:
"Japan lost the Second World War. Although I belong to the post-war generation, I can understand that artists from the preceding generation have created new works based on their traumatic experience of that war. The understanding of this trauma is one of the factors building my unconscious world. I believe it is a mission of my generation to seek the next steps for regeneration. Butoh is said to have been created on such trauma, and this idea seems to be established in most of the Western world. I think it is only partly true. I also think that Butoh was born from many factors following drastic social change in the ‘sixties in Japan, when people were forced to radically change the standards in their lives. I do not want to explain or show only political genocide in Fagaala. I also want a work that will last forever filled with beauty and originality. To give this new work impact, I think that the audience should be told beforehand that it deals with the genocide of Rwanda."

artistic director/choreographer
Germaine Acogny

assistant to Germaine Acogny
Longa Fo Eyeoto

Kota Yamazaki

assistant to Kota Yamazaki
Mina Nishimura

Babacar Ba
Ciré Beye
Abdoulaye Kane
Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye (Kaolack)
Ousmane Bane Ndiaye
Tchebe Saky
Abib Sow

costume design
Oumou Sy

set design
Maciej Fiszer

Fabrice Bouillon – Laforest

Jean-Yves Gratius

musicians from the Ecole des Sables
Oumar Fandy Diop
N’deye Seck
Mamadou Traoré
Djibril Ba
Abdourahman Diop

sound engineer
Michael Widhoff

lighting design
Horst Mühlberger

lighting technician
Marco Wehrspann

company manager
Helmut Vogt

"AFRICAN BALL" was composed by the musicians of the Ecole des Sables

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