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Chapter 2 Contemporary traditions - The polyrhythmic body


Live Music: Lorenzo Gasperoni /Guest Star: Eric Acakpo ( Benin)


In all ancient traditions, dance and music are vested with important spiritual and social roles, and are considered fundamental to the expression and guiding of both collective and individual dynamics.

Our research focuses on the characteristic intimacy between polyrhythm and the dancing body in the cultures of West Africa and the Diaspora. In these traditions, dance and music are inextricably linked, in continuous dialogue. Mirroring each other they come together in a single language that is in continuous metamorphosis.

During the work, we will discover the universal bio-mechanical and the subtle rhythmical principles on which many traditional motifs are built.

Merging the inherent wisdom of tradition and the latest studies in somatic practice, we aspire to facilitate a profound intimacy between live music and the moving body, suggest ways in which both can assist in the gathering of skill and awareness, as well as engender and enhance creative expression.




Yoruban Geomancy / The Fa (legends, songs, rhythms)

“The Fa”, a cultural archive of Indo-European, middle eastern, and African influences, is a compendium of fables, legends, metaphors and symbolic references, as well as a divination or scrying method.

A critical key to understanding the mores and world views of many modern African cultures, “The Fa” links story, song and sophisticated moral instruction to a mathematical structure that stimulates memory and provokes reflection and self discovery. With a life-long, passionate dedication to the study and practice of this system, Eric is a humorous, methodical, patient and competent master of “The Fa”.


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Eric Acakpo

Dancer and musician, Eric's family has important roles in the curation of cultural and spiritual life of the city of Ouidah. He was therefore initiated to traditional rhythms and dances during his childhood. Later, he received further artistic training with several folk groups from his country. Since 2000 he is a dancer and musician with the Voodoo Brass Band, which has participated in several European festivals. His artistic experience was marked by the collaboration with renowned international artists, such as Koffi Koko, Salia Sanou and Vincent Hari’s Do. In 2003, he danced in Koffi Koko's «Les feuilles qui résistent au vent», which toured to Germany in 2004, Brazil and Italy in 2005, and finally to Columbia in 2006. In Bogota's « Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro » the piece recieved a prize for best performance. In 2006, together with dancer and choreographer Francesca Pedullà, he co-founded the cultural association Sonagnon, who's mission is to support the art and culture of Benin, as well as create possibilities for exchange and terrain for artistic research. Sonagnon has been able to offer workshops, creative residencies, and produce performances for both Beninese and international artists with the tactical support of several instutitions, theaters and international cultural associations and the financial assistance of Fond Aide à la Culture, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Wallonie Bruxelles, Aktion Africa - German Ministry of Foreign Affaires, among others. Together with with Francesca Pedulla, he is the artistic co-director of the International Artisticand Cultural Project “Dialogues Inévitables » that it was realized in 2009 and 2010 in Cotonou, in 2010 in Brussels, 2012 in Genova and Berlin. Since 2011 is music teacher for “Traces”, a dance study program based in Cotonou and carried by Artisttik Benin and Axis Syllabus Research Community. At present, Eric is living in Ouidah, where he plays freelance in different beninese groups.


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