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Only a few days after the Higgs Boson @ CERN , I was on my way to Senegal to teach at the Ecole des Sables from the fabulous Germaine Acogny. She is an enormous figure of dance in Africa! Maman Germaine is indeed the mother of contemporary dance in Africa.

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Gilles Jobin and GermainE Acogny

What a change… Such a different reality made of the same fundamental particles of matter… In Senegal as in most of Africa, the situation is generally difficult. Every level of life seems to be complicated to handle. The sea is full of plastic débris, fish is running scarce due to industrial fisheries up the coasts, education and health are massive issues to solve… Hope there is, energy there is but it seems that the countries are drown into an unbreakable circle of precariousness and political instability… After much turmoil and presidential election  the minister of culture of Senegal is now the great singer and musician Youssou N’Dour. He is such an idol to admire! There is hope that he will understand the needs of supporting Ecole des Sables as the ground for memory of the traditional dances of Africa and the move toward modernity in the arts. I had the chance to be there on his visit to the school and took many photos! I took photos of Peter Higgs and Youssou N’Dour in one week! Two massive symbolic figures of science and art. Very different issues, but one same goal: The understanding of humanity through art and science.

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Youssou N’Dour, great musician and minister of Culture of Senegal

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Dancing on the head for Youssou!

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He is so popular

I guess in Senegal the priority is not particle physics or what matter is made of, but knowledge and its preservation. Cern scientists share with African artists and pedagogues the need to search and develop  knowledge. Our world is so diverse, one should never forget that at every scale, he/she is responsible for making this world more peaceful and respectful of the human conditions and and all living thingd. That is through ecology, respect and peace. I am very privileged to meet great artists and great scientists in such diverse environements.

Ecole des Sables is a unique centre for traditional African and contemporary dance is located near Dakar, on the sea side in the small village of Toubab Dialaw. It is host of two of some of the most beautiful dance studios in the world. The “Henriette”, with hard floor open to the bush and the sand studio for traditional dance. Germaine’s project is a fantastic endeavour to diffuse, project and protect traditional dance but also to open to new urban dances and contemporary dance. Maman Germaine,  everybody loves her as much as Papa Helmut her husband!

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I was teaching in the context of a workshop-creation project initiated by Helge Letonja and his company Steptext Dance Poject. First an international workshop with European dancers and African dancers from Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia … After two weeks workshop, they continue with the creation of a piece with 5 European dancers and 5 selected African dancers. The première will take place in Bremen, home base of Steptext’s company in september. The program will be made of one piece of Helge Letonja and one piece of Kenyan choreographer Opiyo Okach. I wish them good luck and willmeet them again in Brement to witness the première!

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working on my “movement generators”

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My mini assistant Mateo

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The children help drawing dances for the movement generators

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Dancing in style!

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We were invited to a Sabar, traditional dance for the wedding of two local dancers. There was some next level dancing there! Some of the best were èreparing for nect day wedding!

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