Pina Bausch / Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo – The Rite of Spring / common ground[s]

common ground[s]
By Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo


The Rite of Spring
By Pina Bausch

A Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables & Sadler’s Wells production

Co-produced with Théâtre de la Ville, Paris; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Festspielhaus, St Pölten; Ludwigsburg Festival; Teatros del Canal de la Comunidad de Madrid, Adelaide Festival and Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi

The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the International Coproduction Fund of the Goethe-Institut, and kindly supported by the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch: The Rite of Spring
Image: Maarten Vanden Abeele



For common ground[s]

Co-Choreographers and Dancers Germaine Acogny, Malou Airaudo
Composer Fabrice Bouillon LaForest
Costume Designer Petra Leidner
Lighting Designer Zeynep Kepekli
Dramaturg Sophiatou Kossoko

Bass Adam Davis, Carlota Margarida Ramos
Cello Ana Catarina Pimentel Rodrigues, Mariana Silva Taipa
Viola Wei-Chueh Chen, Alejandro Vega Sierra
Violin Nicolas Lopez, Ana Maria Sandu, Alexandru-Adrian Semeniuc
Keyboard Fabrice Bouillon LaForest

Conductor Prof. Werner Dickel
Sound Engineer Christoph Sapp

For The Rite of Spring

Choreography Pina Bausch
Music Igor Stravinsky
Original Set and Costume Design Rolf Borzik
Collaboration Hans Pop
World Premiere 3 December 1975, Opera House Wuppertal

Artistic Directors Jo Ann Endicott, Jorge Puerta Armenta, Clémentine Deluy
Rehearsal Directors Çağdaş Ermiş, Ditta Miranda Jasjfi, Barbara Kaufmann, Julie Shanahan, Kenji Takagi

Rodolphe Allui, Anique Ayiboe, Gloria Ugwarelojo Biachi, Khadija Cisse, Sonia Zandile Constable, Rokhaya Coulibaly, Inas Dasylva, Astou Diop, Serge Arthur Dodo, Franne Christie Dossou, Estelle Foli, Aoufice Junior Gouri, Luciény Kaabral, Zadi Landry Kipre, Bazoumana Kouyaté, Profit Lucky, Babacar Mané, Vasco Pedro Mirine, Stéphanie Mwamba, Florent Nikiéma, Shelly Ohene-Nyako, Brian Otieno Oloo, Harivola Rakotondrasoa, Oliva Randrianasolo (Nanie), Tom Jules Samie, Amy Collé Seck, Pacôme Landry Seka, Gueassa Eva Sibi, Carmelita Siwa, Amadou Lamine Sow, Didja Kady Tiemanta, Aziz Zoundi

With thanks to Sahadatou Ami Touré, Korotimi Barro, D’Aquin Evrard Élisée Bekoin, Vuyo Mahashe, Armel Gnago Sosso-Ny, Asanda Ruda


Head of Production Adam Carrée
Company Stage Manager Marius Arnold-Clarke
Stage Manager Emma Cameron
The Rite of Spring Company Manager Laye Kane
Head of Stage Ben O’Grady
Sound Engineer Dan Harmer
Wardrobe Manager Peggy Housset
Production Electrician Joe Pilling
Stage Swing Technician Hex Emalia
Osteopath Alexandra Haydon
Costume Maker Petra Leidner
Costume Assistants Mariola Kopczynski (Dakar), Silvia Franco (Wuppertal)


For Pina Bausch Foundation
Founder and Board of Directors Salomon Bausch
Board of Directors Simone Rust
Director of Archives Ismaël Dia
Project Manager Gertraud Johne
Communications Ana Djokic
Education and Outreach Kathrin Peters

For École des Sables
Founders Germaine Acogny and Helmut Vogt
Manager Helmut Vogt
Technical Production Manager Didier Delgado
Production Stan Mandef, Mame Bousso MBaye
Coordinator Paul Sagne
Casting/adviser Patrick Acogny
Accounting Phillipe Bocandé
Communications Eleine de Graça-Sccientia

For Sadler’s Wells London
Artistic Director & Chief Executive Alistair Spalding CBE
Executive Producer Suzanne Walker
Head of Producing & Touring Bia Oliveira
Senior Producer Ghislaine Granger
Assistant Producer Sophie Delahaye
Tour Producer Aristea Charalampidou
Marketing Manager Jordan Archer
Press Officer Laura Neil
Marketing and Communications Coordinator Steven Lou


Production Management (in Senegal) Gacirah Diagne, Association Kaay Fecc (Papa Abdoulaye Faye, Mamadou Coumba Diouf, Francis S. Gomis, Jean Louis Junior Gomis, Ouleymatou Niang) 

Technical Production Management (in Senegal) Abdou Diouf (for Les Ateliers Abdou Diouf)

Audition Partners (in the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal) Ange Aoussou (for Compagnie Ange Aoussou), Salamatou Diene (for CDC – La Termitière) and Gacirah Diagne (for Association Kaay Fecc)

Filming Fontäne Film: Florian Heinzen-Ziob (Director & Editor), Enno Endlicher (Cinematographer), Armin Badde (Sound Engineer) et Igor Novic (Additional Camera Operator)

Photography Maarten Vanden Abeele

With thanks to
Petra Boettcher, Keyssi Bousso, Stephan Brinkmann, Ismaël Dia, S. E. M. Abdoulaye Diop, Denise Fertig, Hannah Gibbs, Theowen Gilmour, Dr. Massamba Guèye, Dirk Hesse, Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (Wuppertal), Yingqian (Sahara) Huang, Lani Huens, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Daniel King, Nassy Konan, Abdoulaye Koundoul, Folkwang Universität der Künste, Claudia Lüttringhaus, Pascal Moulard, Abdoul Mujyambere, Matilde Navarro, Balla Ndiaye, Birane Niang, Nicole Pieper, Gráinne Pollak, Madeline Ritter, Chelsea Robinson, Sahite Sarr Samb, Mohamed Y. Shika, Gabriel Smeets, Felicitas Willems, Laura-Inès Wilson, Wuppertaler Bühnen

Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo: common ground[s]
Image: Maarten Vanden Abeele


Running time: 95 minutes total (including interval)

common ground[s]
Duration: 30 minutes

Interval – 30 minutes

The Rite of Spring
Duration: 35 minutes


An Exchange
By Sarah Crompton

Journalist and writer Sarah Crompton speaks to Germaine Acogny, Malou Airaudo, Salomon Bausch and Alistair Spalding about the ideas behind the double-bill.

It’s been 13 years since the death of Pina Bausch, yet this programme is inspired by her pioneering spirit. It represents only the fourth time that any group of dancers outside her home company Tanztheater Wuppertal has danced her ground-breaking The Rite of Spring, the first occasion it has been performed by a specially-recruited ensemble – and the first time it has been performed by dancers from African countries.

But for Germaine Acogny, co-founder of the influential École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, a centre for the teaching and development of traditional and contemporary African dance, this project also represents the culmination of her appreciation for Pina Bausch.

“I liked Pina and I liked her work,” she says, today. “There is a synergy between what we both were doing. For me, ‘Sacre’ [The Rite of Spring] should be danced by dancers from African countries because it is something universal. When I first saw Pina’s Rite of Spring, I felt it was an African rite.”

The idea for this version of Sacre, however, came from the Pina Bausch Foundation which is committed to keeping Bausch’s work alive both by preserving an archive and by encouraging new companies to perform and explore the creations under the supervision of dancers who worked with the choreographer herself.

Salomon Bausch, Bausch’s son and chair of the Foundation, believes that these “transmission projects” will help increase understanding of one of the 20th century’s most significant and important bodies of work. “I am really curious to learn what is inside this heritage,” he says. “What is it? What does it mean to people today? We need these new projects where we try to provoke things and learn new things, to do things in ways we have not done before.”

This particular project was always ambitious, even before its planned premiere at the Théâtre National Daniel Sorano in Dakar was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. A co-production between the Foundation, École des Sables, and Sadler’s Wells in London, it has recruited dancers from 14 African countries to perform the work.

More than 200 dancers submitted video audition tapes to Josephine Ann Endicott and Jorge Puerta Armenta, former dancers with Tanztheater Wuppertal who were in charge of this staging. Then 137 were invited to workshops in Burkina Faso, Senegal and the Ivory Coast where they were taught excerpts from the material and a final cast of 38 were chosen. Then the rehearsal process began in earnest.

The dancers represent a range of backgrounds and techniques, which has made the project thrilling. “It will be different,” says Acogny. “But that’s what makes it exciting. These dancers will do what all dancers do; they will interpret the movement of Pina Bausch. The dance is always the same, but depending on what area you live in, there are different energies. The Chinese will dance it differently from the French, the Germans from the African Americans.” For Endicott, there were challenges in staging the work. “The many different backgrounds created a big soup that we had to bring together,” she says. “But the dancers had such spirit. We were all together in Pina’s world somehow.”

She noticed the way in which the dancers were particularly receptive to Stravinsky’s music – adapting to it more quickly and easily than some classically trained dancers do. In this, the collaboration reaches back to this version’s creation in 1975 when Bausch laid particular emphasis on the score. “She had this huge respect for the music,” remembers Endicott who was in the first cast. “It wasn’t easy finding the movements. We tried this and that until she was content. She always followed her instinct. The dance is the music, the dancers are the music. That’s the key.”

The piece also relies less on technique and more on a total immersion in Bausch’s visceral response to the score and the theme. “How would you dance if you knew you were going to die?” she asked, when trying to find the right steps to match the elemental power of the music. Her answer to that question means that Sacre, with its earthy stage of peat, requires extraordinary commitment and exposure from its dancers. Endicott observes: “You run with your heart and forget all you have learnt before and just come out and be yourself. It has to be real. If you are not exhausted at the end, you haven’t danced it properly.”

Acogny, now 79, remembers the impact the piece had on her when she first saw it performed in 1996, when Bausch restaged it for the Paris Opera Ballet. “In her work, Pina works with the human being, but she also works with the depths of humanity,” she says. But her own first encounter with the score was through the version created by the French choreographer Maurice Béjart, with whom she worked in Brussels and who founded Mudra Afrique, where Germaine was Director, the school from which she laid the basis for African contemporary dance. “It felt like a heathen rite and there were even elements of traditional African dance in his production.”

Later, at the age of 70, the woman who is known as the mother of African contemporary dance, performed the solo Mon Elue Noire, choreographed by Olivier Dubois, to the score. “Whenever I danced it, I invoked the name of Béjart, and I invoked Pina. Before I danced, I used to ask them to give me the energy to dominate the music. And I used to offer Stravinsky a cigar and a vodka as well,” she says.

Her close association with the piece means that it feels apt that the other work on this radical programme is on common ground[s] a duet this legendary dancer has created with the equally legendary Malou Airaudo, one of the dancers who worked with Bausch from the beginning of her career. “I was very nervous to meet her because she was so close to Pina, but it has meshed together very easily,” Acogny says. “It has been very profound.”

The duet arose because Salomon Bausch wanted there to be something new in the programme. “It has been the meeting of two women to find out where they are in their lives, what they have been, what they have to say to each other,” Acogny says. Airaudo, who is 74, agrees. “We didn’t know each other but we find each other. We don’t have anything to prove. What we do is what we are. We were together, sharing together and what came out is what we felt.” She says creating the piece was quite straightforward. “We didn’t speak about choreography. It just happened. She did a solo and I did my solo and then we were doing it together, it was very soft, very calm somehow. Maybe because of respect or love. It was very simple.

Respect and love fills this adventurous programme which both looks back to Bausch’s heritage and puts down a marker for a way of presenting her work in future. It also allows dancers from African countries to explore Bausch’s work for the first time – and lets European audiences see them at work. 

As Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells remarks: “It really is an exchange. It takes this repertoire to a continent where it hasn’t been seen before. And we get a chance to see different dancers bring a different spirit to Pina’s choreography. There is a very strong passion about this project. It’s not just dancing in a dance piece, there is more to it. It is an opportunity for these dancers to experience something they never had a chance to do before.” 

Germaine Acogny agrees. “It gives these dancers an opening and a curiosity to do other things than they are used to doing. It will make them grow.”

Pina Bausch: The Rite of Spring
Image: Maarten Vanden Abeele


Renowned dancers and – before all – women, mothers, granddaughters… here they are today, in this place where reality, memories and imaginations answer each other, a place where in the end only the present counts. common ground[s] is a poem, a moving picture, lyrical, tender, and humorous. Malou Airaudo and Germaine Acogny dance in a calm whirlwind in which moods and eras telescope.
Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo


with Profit Lucky & Gloria Ugwarelojo Biachi

In between tours the dancers of The Rite of Spring return to their home countries across Africa. We caught up with two of the dancers, Profit Lucky and Gloria Ugwarelojo Biachi, both from Nigeria, about their careers as dancers and what it’s like being part of The Rite of Spring.

Tell us how you started dancing and where you dance today

Profit Lucky: Dance has been my greatest means of communication, joy and freedom, and has been a part of me right from birth. I started professionally dancing when I saw a post that said I could learn dance for a cheap cost, and I quickly grabbed the offer. 

Later on I moved to Ghana to further my university studies and luckily I met Valerie Miquel, who I consider my dance mum, and I worked, trained and danced with her in a company for some years before she moved to France. Currently I’m not dancing with any dance company.

Gloria Biachi: At first I attended auditions across Nigeria, which boosted my energy, confidence and kept me going. I discovered a dance school called The Dance Deal Foundation where I did a three-year course, which helped me master the heart of choreography. 

Now I’m a freelancer in Nigeria, working with dance directors across the country and internationally, and facilitate dance workshops and awareness programmes. This is a project that I think girls like me need and deserve, to share my experience and give back to the community that nurtured me.

How did you get involved in The Rite of Spring?

PL: I got involved through Valarie Miquel and some dance friends I made in École des Sables in an exchange dance programme in 2019. They all sent me the dance audition post for The Rite of Spring and they asked me to give it a try. I sent my application, travelled to Senegal and did my auditions, and luckily (just like my surname) I was selected.

GB: A friend who I met in a dance workshop sent me the application, saying ‘Gloria, I know you can do this. Go for it!’. After being selected to come for the auditions, leaving Lagos to go to Senegal was a challenge. I checked in on the Goethe-Institut in Nigeria, and they sponsored me with the costs. 

The auditions lasted for four days, with hundreds of African dancers. At the end 38 were selected, and I was among the few, not because I was perfect, or had the best dance movement, but I could remember when someone asked why we were chosen, one of the restagers said it was a uniqueness of each of us.

How has your experience been? How does it feel to dance in Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring? 

PL: My experience has been amazing, magical, intense, filled with lots of learning and growth, and humbling. I got to know about Pina Bausch through my Ghanian friend, so it feels like a dream come true, and it feels very humbling to finally dance The Rite of Spring after so many years of watching videos.

GB: My experience has been a work of patience and trusting in the process. When the pandemic broke out, it was disappointing because we had done so much rehearsal to get ready for the tour. Now we’ve had performances around Europe I take any opportunity to perform the work.

It takes a lot of tolerance and patience to be able to dance this piece, and it takes a lot of ‘YOU’. This project is a legacy, a way of showing my versatility, and that I’ve come a long way. It speaks volumes on where I’ve come from and how much I can achieve.

What do you look forward to about touring?

PL: I am always looking forward to the physical challenges of the piece and how best it can help me progress and develop as an artist. I’m very much more open to different lifestyles, traditions, cultures, perceptions, communications, languages, foods, and histories of the different theatres, venues, cities and countries we visit.

GB: I look forward to the wonderful audiences, the instant feedback we get from them and connecting to many professionals around the world who ordinarily wouldn’t see my work.

These are career-defining moments for a young girl from Nigeria, it does great things for me and resonates with the young dancers I mentored. This tour keeps inspiring me every moment and every minute, I can’t wait to go back.

Germaine Acogny & Malou Airaudo: common ground[s]
Image: Maarten Vanden Abeele


Choreographer and Dancer – common ground[s] 

Senegalese French dancer, teacher and choreographer Germaine Acogny is known as the ‘mother of contemporary African dance’. She studied at the École Simon Siegel in Paris and established her first dance studio in Dakar in 1968. There, she developed her own technique for Modern African dance, combining the influence of dances she had inherited from her grandmother, a Yoruba priestess, with her knowledge of traditional African and occidental dance.

Between 1977 and 1982, Acogny was the artistic director of Mudra Afrique (Dakar), before moving to Toulouse in 1985, where she and her husband, Helmut Vogt, founded the Studio-École-Ballet-Théâtre du 3è Monde. In 1995, she returned to Senegal and established an international education centre for traditional and contemporary African dances, École des Sables.

In 1998, she started her own dance company, Jant-Bi, whose productions include Les écailles de la mémoire – Scales of memory (2008), a collaboration with Urban Bush Women, and notably, Fagaala, based on the genocide in Rwanda and winner of a Bessie Award (2007). 

Acogny’s other prominent works and credits include Sahel (1987), YE’OU (1988 – winner of the London Contemporary Dance and Performance Award 1991), Tchouraï (2001), Bintou Were – a Sahel Opera (2007), Songook Yaakaar (2010), Mon élue noire – Sacre no.2, choreography Olivier Dubois, (2014, based on the original music of The Rite of Spring, winner of a Bessie Award 2018) and A un endroit du début (2015).

Acogny is a respected emissary of African Dance and Culture and continues to collaborate with schools, dance centres and teach masterclasses worldwide. In 2021 she won the Golden Lion of the Dance Biennale in Venice.

Choreographer and Dancer – common ground[s]

Born in Marseille in 1948, Malou Airaudo began dancing at the age of eight, at the Opéra de Marseille. At seventeen, she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo, where she became a soloist working with Léonide Massine, before joining Françoise Adret and her Ballet-Théâtre-Contemporain in 1968. 

In the early 1970s she moved to New York to work with Paul Sanasardo and Manuel Alum, the latter choreographing the solo Woman of a Mystic Body for Airaudo. It is there that she met Pina Bausch for the first time.

In 1973, she was invited by Pina Bausch to join her in Wuppertal, Germany where the director of the city’s theatres Arno Wüstenhöfer had just appointed her at the head of the Wuppertal Ballet, which she soon renamed the Tanztheater Wuppertal.  Airaudo became one of the key figures of the ensemble, creating major roles in various productions, such as Iphigenie auf Tauris, Orpheus und Eurydike, Café Müller and dancing The Rite of Spring as well as in many other pieces. 

She was also a founding member of the Parisian dance company, La Main, along with Jacques Patarozzi, Dominique Mercy, Helena Pikon and Dana Sapiro, and worked with choreographer Carolyn Carlson at the Teatrodanza La Fenice in Venice. 

From 1984 until 2018, she taught dance at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen-Werden, and in 2012, she became the Director of the university’s Institute of Contemporary Dance. 

Her choreographic accomplishments include Le Jardin des Souvenirs, Jane, Je Voudrais Tant, Schwarze Katze and If You Knew, created from the mid-90s onward for companies such as the Folkwang Tanz Studio, the Ballet de Nancy, the Ballet de Geneva, the Ballet du Nord and Venice Biennale. In the last decade, she has also worked with Pottporus Renegade Theatre creating work with break-dancers like Irgendwo and Verlorene Drachen.

Airaudo has also appeared in the films Talk To Me (2002, dir. Pedro Almodóvar) and Pina (2011, dir. Wim Wenders).

Composer – common ground[s] 

Musician, writer and composer, Fabrice is the Artistic Director of French FAUN(es) Collectif, alongside dancer Sébastien Cormier. He’s a long-time collaborator of Germaine Acogny (Fagaala, Songook Yaakaar, A un Endroit du Début) and École des Sables. Familiar to the world of dance (original scores for Nora Chipaumire, Urban BushWomen, Pittsburgh’s Dance Alloy Theatre, Kota Yamazaki, Don’t Hit Mama, Patrick Acogny, Cie Virevolt), he’s the co-founder of circus company Hors Surface with performer Damien Droin. He has created and performed several shows including Tetraktys, Boat and Fabulomania. His work spans videogames to pop and rock. Under the alias LaForest he has released two albums, co-written the documentary film Rimanere (Alexandre Lopez), and created and led many art projects designed for rural/remote environments. With Sébastien Cormier and musician Tristan Assant he is touring LaForest as a singer and frontman of a multidisciplinary music/dance project.

Lighting Designer – common ground[s]

Istanbul born Zeynep Kepekli is a London-based designer who predominantly works with light. She has a long-standing collaboration with the Richard Alston Dance Company and Yorke Dance Project. Some of her design credits include: Sea of Troubles (The Royal Ballet); Playground, Between and Within, Imprint (Yorke Dance Project); Dance Journeys  (English National Ballet); Collapse (New Movement Collective); Lie of the Land, Unfinished Business, Darkness Visible, Madcap, Burning, Rejoice in the Lamb, Buzzing around the Hunisuccle, Carnival, Cut and Run, Detour, Brahms Hungarian, A Far Cry, Shine On (RADC). Mainly working in dance, her work focuses on architecture and the movement of body and light.

Dramaturg – common ground[s]

Sophiatou studied modern dance and ballet at the Doug Crutchfield Dance School in Copenhagen. She completed her training by doing workshops with teachers, artists, and choreographers from various dance backgrounds. She obtained her bachelor’s degree ‘Performing Arts – Dance Path’ and continued her studies at the University of Paris 8ème in France.

Sophiatou founded the company IGI, its focus being to create, produce and present artistic projects that combine dance with other disciplines such as singing, music, theatre, and visual arts, to explore the relationships between the world’s cultural differences. IGI offers a range of educational activities on a regular basis in collaboration with institutions and artists. Sophiatou choreographed Tchouraï, a solo for Germaine Acogny. 

The choreographer Olivier Dubois also invited her to create a piece, Allégorie, for Danswindow. One of her poems is being published in présences by le printemps des poètes.

Costume Designer – common ground[s]
Costume Maker – The Rite of Spring

Petra Leidner has been Costume Director at Wuppertaler Bühnen und Sinfonieorchester GmbH since 2011. She has also been the Costume Director for Burgfestspiele Jagsthausen for over 6 seasons.

Since 1992, Petra has been Costume Director at Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and has worked on all premieres and revivals of the company’s productions, in close collaboration with Marion Cito. In recent years she has supervised and been responsible for costume design and consultation for various productions by Pina Bausch, for the Pina Bausch Foundation. Petra opened her own costume studio in 2013.

Choreographer – The Rite of Spring 

Pina Bausch was born 1940 in Solingen and died 2009 in Wuppertal. She received her dance training at the Folkwang School in Essen under Kurt Jooss, where she achieved technical excellence. Soon after the director of Wuppertal’s theatres, Arno Wüstenhöfer, engaged her as choreographer, from autumn 1973, she renamed the ensemble the Tanztheater Wuppertal. Under this name, although controversial at the beginning, the company gradually achieved international recognition. Its combination of poetic and everyday elements influenced the international development of dance. Awarded some of the greatest prizes and honours world-wide, Pina Bausch is one of the most significant choreographers of our time.

Music – The Rite of Spring

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) was acclaimed for his many stage works, including the original ballets Petrushka, Agon, The Firebird, Apollo, Scènes de ballet and The Rite of Spring, as well as the opera The Rake’s Progress. Stravinsky was born in Oranienbaum, Russia, in 1882 and raised in St. Petersburg. He first gained his acclaim in the early 1900s for his compositions for the Ballets Russes, including The Rite of Spring. In Switzerland and subsequently France, he continued his work, composing such works as Persephone and Renard. In 1939, Stravinsky moved to the United States and completed his Symphony in C. Stravinsky remained in the United States until his death in 1971 in New York City, at which point he had a repertoire of more than 100 works to his name. Stravinksy is revered as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.

Original Set and Costume Design

Rolf Borzik was born in 1944 in Posen and initially studied drawing and painting in Haarlem, Amsterdam and Paris from 1963 to 1966, then in 1967 graphics and design at the Folkwang School in Essen. Here, in 1970, he met Pina Bausch and from 1973 created sets and costumes for her in Wuppertal, making a decisive contribution to the look of dance theatre. Borzik died in January 1980 at the age of thirty-five.

Artistic Director – The Rite of Spring 

Josephine Ann Endicott is a trained classical dancer of the Australian Ballet school and Australia Ballet company. 

In 1973 she was chosen by Pina Bausch to join the Tanztheater Wuppertal as a soloist where she danced until her last performance with the company in 2018, at the age of 69. At present she is rehearsal director for many of the older Bausch Productions, including The Rite of Spring.

Artistic Director – The Rite of Spring

After studying on a scholarship at the Center National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, Jorge Puerta Armenta was engaged as a dancer at the Folkwang Tanzstudio in Essen and immediately afterwards in 1997 he became a member of the ensemble of the Tanztheater Pina Bausch in Wuppertal, where he danced in repertoire pieces and created other 8 under Pina’s direction. He also appeared in Pedro Almodovar’s film Talk to Her (2002) and Wim Wenders film PINA (2011).

He has been a freelance choreographer and dancer since 2014. He has internationally commissioned works in Colombia (IDARTES). In Peru first for research in 2018 and in 2019 for a full co-production between the cultural center of Universidad del Pacífico and the Goethe Institute. As co-assistent for Omar Sangare, theater director for the piece “Ivona” in Massachusetts, USA. And in 2020 two “Zoom” projects: Coaching video-dance workshop (La Factoría/Colombia) and for the Festival Under Construction/Wuppertal an Experimental Film about a dance Workshop co-directed with Chrystel Guillebeaud and for persons over 60 years old.

Artistic Director – The Rite of Spring

After graduating from the Folkwang Universität der Kunste in Essen-Werden, Clémentine joined the Company Sasha Waltz&Guests in 2002. In 2006, she became a member of Tanztheater Wuppertal and since 2014 has been a guest artist of the company. Since 2015 she has worked on further collaborations with Sasha Waltz including Romeo&Juliet, Figure Humaine (Elbephillarmonie), Kreatur, Exodus and Rauschen.

Currently, Clémentine is working on pieces by Pascal Merighi, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, and in 2019, supported by the Globe, Clémentine explored theatrical forms of artistic research in collaboration with Thusnelda Mercy, Jack Laskey and Ben Wishaw. In the same year she also co-directed the restaging of Iphigenia auf Tauris by Pina Bausch for the Semperoper Dresden, a project developed by the Pina Bausch Foundation. Clémentine also teaches international dance workshops for professional and amateur dancers.

Rehearsal Director – The Rite of Spring

Çağdaş Ermiş was born in Wuppertal and has a bachelor and master’s degree in dance from the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen, Germany.

He has been a member of Tanztheater Wuppertal since 2014. Over the course of his career Çağdaş has worked with Susanne Linke, Henrietta Horn, Malou Airaudo, Lutz Förster and David Hernandez amongst others.

He is excited to be working with Sadler’s Wells, École des Sables and the Pina Bausch Foundation as a re-stager on The Rite of Spring. 

Rehearsal Director – The Rite of Spring

Ditta Miranda Jasjfi was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. She began classical ballet training in Paris at the age of five before continuing her training back in Indonesia with Farida Oetoyo, and studying Indonesian traditional dances from Bali, West, Mid and East Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Jaipong with various teachers. In 1989, she began studying dance at Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany, and in 1993 became a member of the Folkwang Tanz Studio. In 1994, she pursued an engagement in Tanztheater of the Stadttheater Bremen with Artistic Director Susanne Linke and Urs Dietrich. Since 2000, Ditta has been a dancer with Tanztheater Wuppertal.

Rehearsal Director – The Rite of Spring

Barbara trained at Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance in New York and Paris, Royal Ballet Academy Stockholm, Folkwang University of the Arts under Hans Züllig and Jean Cébron, and with Maestro Alfredo Corvino. 

She has danced with the Jessica Iwanson Dance Company, Tanzprojekt München with Birgitta Trommler, the Folkwang Tanzstudio with Susanne Linke and with Pina Bausch (since 1987).

Since 2002, Barbara has been working as rehearsal assistant for The Rite of Spring, Iphigenie auf Tauris, the Tannhäuser Bacchanal and as rehearsal director for Since She by Dimitris Papaioannou. She has also been a rehearsal director for the Pina Bausch Foundation at English National Ballet for The Rite of Spring and at the Semperoper for Iphigenie auf Tauris.

Additional affiliations include her appearance in the Wim Wenders film Pina (2011) and collaborating on the development of video annotation, oral history projects and direction of documentation at the Pina Bausch Foundation. She was awarded the ‘Isadora Tanzpreis’ in 2012. 

Rehearsal Director – The Rite of Spring 

Julie Shanahan was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1962. She completed all her RAD classical ballet examinations and a Bachelor of the Arts in contemporary dance and choreography.

She worked for two years at the Sydney-based One Extra Dance Company and Darwin Dance Mob before moving to Germany in 1984 working as a soloist dancer till 1988 with Reinhold Hoffmann’s Bremen Dance Theater and Schauspielhaus Bochum.

In 1988, she joined the Tanztheater Wuppertal as a soloist dancer. Besides her role as dancer, she is also a rehearsal director for a number of Pina Bausch repertory pieces including The Rite of Spring.

Rehearsal Director – The Rite of Spring

Kenji is from Berlin, Germany, and trained at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen. He was a permanent ensemble member of Tanztheater Wuppertal from 2001 to 2008, the latter year being when he received the German Theatre Prize, Der Faust for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his solo in Pina Bausch’s Bamboo Blues.

From 2008 to 2018 he became a guest artist for the company, as both a dancer and rehearsal director. His work as a rehearsal director includes the restaging of The Rite of Spring at the Paris Opéra in 2010/15 and at the English National Ballet in 2017/19. 

Additionally, in 2016 he contributed to the ‘transmission’ project of Pina Bausch’s work, ‘For the children of yesterday, today and tomorrow’, in collaboration with the Bavarian State Ballet.

Recently he has performed in various improvisation shows and interdisciplinary stage projects in Germany.


Côte D’Ivoire

Rodolphe is a dancer and choreographer from the Ivory Coast that has been working in traditional and contemporary dance with Compagnie Dumanlé since 2012. Since completing his training at the National Superior Institute of Arts and Culture (INSAAC) in the Ivory Coast, where he obtained a master’s degree in dance, he has participated in several contemporary and traditional creations.


Anique is a Togolese professional dancer, with a degree in dance from École Des Sables, Senegal. Always in search of new horizons, her love for dance pushes her to participate in many artistic projects both nationally and internationally, including in Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Germany, Spain and France.


Gloria is a Lagos based Nigerian dancer, choreographer, fitness instructor, actor and costume designer. She is a 2010 alumnus of the Dance Deal foundation Lagos, under the Artistic Direction of Bimbo Obafunwa. Her training includes national and international residencies and workshops with leading choreographers, and includes successful stints in theatre, television and motion picture, including Netflix original Mystic River. Gloria specializes in working with children of all ages and debuted her solo Ile at the 2021 FIDO International Festival.


Khadija, alias Belgique, started dancing as a teenager with dancehall. In 2016, she decided to strengthen her dance skills with École des Sables and several other teachers. Dancing became her profession, and she has since participated in several projects.

South Africa

From Cape Town, Sonia started dancing at the age of 11 at Dance For All (NGO). After Matric in 2004, she went to Alvin Ailey winter dance school in New York for six months. After returning to South Africa, she joined Dance For All Youth Company until 2007. She has done numerous collaborations with Cape Town City Ballet, Free Flight and Jazzart. From 2008 to 2011 she was a member of Ikapa Dance Theatre and in 2012/13 she joined Sean Bovim’s ‘Bovim Ballet’. In 2014, she joined The Dance Factory performing Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake, Carmen and Giselle, touring internationally throughout Europe, America and Asia.


Born and raised in Pikine, Rokhaya started dancing at the age of 13 with Koutoubo Camara. She participates in several workshops and dance training in festivals. A member of the company Sunu Percu Danse since 2015, she joined the ballet of the National Theater Daniel Sorano in 2019.


Inas was born in Dakar, Senegal and started street-dance when he was 13 years old. Six years later, he began to undertake the traditional Senegalese sabar dance in the company senè Afrique. In 2015, he joined the Alvin Ailey Dance Academy in Dakar where he trained in contemporary dance, jazz and capoeira for three years. In 2016, he trained in traditional and contemporary African dance at the École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. In 2018, he was selected to perform in Boy Breaking Glass choreographed by Alessandra Seutin (Vocab Dance) for Sadler’s Wells in London.


Tousa was born in Dakar, Senegal, and started competing in hip hop dance battles with group Attack Dance when she was 16. At 18 she started sabar and contemporary dance classes with the company Sene Africa. She has been training in traditional and contemporary African dances in Dakar since 2016, and is a member of Ecole des Sables’ Jant-Bi II company.

Côte d’Ivoire

Serge is a choreographer and performer from the Ivory Coast. He trained at the National School of Theatre and Dance (ENTD), where he obtained a Diploma of Artistic Advanced studies (DESA) and at École des Sables, Senegal. He has his own dance company King’Art and teaches contemporary dance at the AHK University of Art in Amsterdam.


A contemporary dancer, performer and Capoeirist from Benin, Franne started dancing at the age of 24. She holds a Master’s degree in Project Management and she is the mother to a 10-year-old boy. Since 2014, she has pursued various forms of training. Today, ‘creating value through the culture of art’ as a dancer with the company ANIKAYA is her focus.


Estelle is a professional contemporary dancer. She has honed her craft through a wide range of residency, training and performance experiences with choreographers, directors and dance companies throughout Africa and Europe. Her technique bears the mark of each of these experiences.

Côte d’Ivoire

Ivorian dancer-performer Junior graduated from the National Superior School of Arts and Culture in the Ivory Coast, and continues to develop through further training, workshops, and performances. His motto is: ‘live my passion to the fullest by taking up challenges’.

Cabo Verde

In 2018, Luciény joined the Dance Company Raiz di Polon, where she was invited by Nuno Barreto to work on a research project on body expression, free and contemporary movements, and to develop projects and pieces. She has performed in several pieces by the company and participated in the Cape Verde Dance Festival, in the IX CPLP Biennial of Young Creators in Angola and in artistic and creative residencies.

Côte d’Ivoire

Born in Abidjan, dancer, choreographer, and acrobat Zadi has participated in the 7th Jeux de la Francophonie in Nice and won third prize for Best Creation at the Algiers International Dance Festival. Zadi is currently the assistant choreographer of both the National Ballet of the Ivory Coast and the international circus AFRIKA AFRIKA.


Bazoumana, known as Tom, is a professional dancer-performer from Mali, who is trained in both traditional Malian and contemporary dance. He has choreographed various creations for the stage and has participated in numerous projects.


Profit is a Nigerian dancer who began his dance training in Nigeria, before moved to Ghana to train with Ghana Theatre & Contemporary Dance under the artistic direction of Valerie Miquel, where he was a soloist in two productions for the company. Profit was awarded a full scholarship to Eric Scott Underwood’s Online Summer Intensive Program and Alonzo King Lines Ballet Online Summer Program. Outside of Dance, Profit also worked as a Model & Dance-Model in Nigeria and Ghana, and completed an Exchange Dance Program with Ecole Des Sables and Amsterdam University of the Arts.


Babacar has worked with multiple dance companies. He joined the National School of Arts of Senegal to train in choreography. Babacar was the winner of the Institut Français de Paris’ Visa Pour La Création 2020 program.


Vasco is Mozambican. He graduated in sculpture (ADPP) and trained in performing arts (P.A.R.T.S). He spent ten years working in the visual arts, during this time he also worked with the municipal singing and African dance company Matola and collaborated with Culturarte Mozambique. Vasco is a multidisciplinary artist and freelancer trained in contemporary afro and afro-street dances at École des Sables.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Stéphanie is a dancer and performer from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has been passionate about dance since 2015. Fascinated by the dance steps and rhythms of traditional dance, Stéphanie has taken part in various dance training and has performed at festivals including Cairo International Festival for Contemporary Experimental Theatre, Batalo East Festival (Kampala) and Amani Festival (Goma).

Burkina Faso

Florent is a Burkinabé dancer-performer, graduate of EDIT, certified teacher from the École des Sables and CDC la Termitière. He has trained with dancers such as Salia Ni Seydou, Laurence Levasseur, Irène Tassembédo, Angélin Preljocaj and Germaine Acogny.

Ghana / Switzerland

Shelly is Ghanaian and Swiss. After completing her bachelor’s degree in performing arts, she worked as a freelance dancer. She moved to Ghana in 2018, where she started teaching ballet & fusing multiples styles together. Her aim is to help the performing arts scene in Africa to grow.


Brian is a Kenyan-born performer. He works with several organisations in East-Africa such as Yawa dance company and Ibuka dance foundation as co-artistic director. Brian’s most profound work was Mizani, a piece about gender equality, which toured ten towns in Tanzania and impacted thousands of people.


Born in 1987, Harivola is the Artistic Director of the DIHY Project, an association for dance training and outreach. Living in Madagascar, he organises cultural events and works with companies such as Hetsika Madagascar, Asara, Anjorombala and Sasha Waltz and Guests through Zaratiana Randrianantenaina.


Madagascan dancer Nanie has been working with the company Tahala, based in Tamatave (Madagascar) since 2011. Nanie often collaborates with local and international dance companies and is a member of dance association Dih’arajky. She graduated from École des Sables.


Tom Jules Samie began dancing with Dagbeneva, a traditional Togolese dance company, during which time he broadened his training through contemporary dance workshops and classes. At the Alvin Ailey Senegal Academy in Dakar, he studied traditional Senegalese dance, modern jazz, classic and contemporary.

Tom then graduated from the Taf-Taf promotion of the Ecole des Sables with a professional dance diploma. He created a piece entitled Hommage; he was a soloist in the opera NEHANDA by Compagnie Nora Chipaumire and currently tours with The Rite of Spring/Pina Bausch. He has also taken part in numerous dance projects


Dancer and circus performer Amie began her career in breakdance. She has been practicing circus techniques with Sen’Cirk since 2016. In 2019, she performed at the Battle National and B2F festival in Dakar and Rufisque. Amy is a member of École des Sables’ Jant-Bi II company.

Côte d’Ivoire

Pacôme is a professional dancer from Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Having been passionate about dance since his early childhood he decided to enter art school after obtaining his baccalaureate.

Côte d’Ivoire

Gueassa joined the Moaye Ivoire company in 2015 and has participated in several festivals such as the Rind Dance festival (Massidi Adiatou, 2016), the opening of the eighth games of the Francophonie and the festival Danse Raum of Jennie Mezile. She is currently a dance student at the National Institute of Arts and Cultural Action (INSAAC).


Originally from Benin, Carmelita is a dancer and actress. With a degree in project management, she is also now a graduate of École des Sables. She teaches afro-urban, contemporary awakening and initiation dances at the Centre Chorégraphique Multicorps and at the French school of Cotonou. Now Artistic Director of Arts Ca’Danser, she has choreographed multiple works, including (in)secure with Didja Kady Tiemanta.


Amadou, known as Pim is a dancer, performer and teacher, mainly focussed on different traditional African dance but trained in several styles including contemporary, house, hip-hop and Afropop. He is member of the Senegalese National Ballet, La Linguére, and graduated from the Alvine Academy Ailey Senegal. He is also choreographer for the Sunu Percu dance company and Artistic Director of the Festival International Jakarlo.


Born in Ivory Coast, Didja Kady is a dancer and actress who lives and works in Bamako, Mali. Since receiving her Master’s in dance from the Bamako Conservatory in 2017 she has trained at multiple dance schools including École des Sables and CCD la Termitière. She has choreographed multiple works, including (in)secure with Carmelita Siwa, and was an educational and artistic assistant for dance festival Fari Foni Waati in 2021.

Burkina Faso

Aziz is a dancer, artist, and performer from Burkina Faso. He is currently training through workshops in dance, theatre, and music at the Bouamani Africa Centre. He is also part of the training program in contemporary dance at CDC La Termitière, Je Danse Don Je Suis et Yeleen don.


The Pina Bausch Foundation, Germany 

The Pina Bausch Foundation carries the artistic legacy of dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch into the future. Her son Salomon Bausch founded the non-profit foundation shortly after her death in 2009 to make her work accessible and tangible for dancers worldwide, diverse audiences, and new generations. The focus is on rehearsing and performing Pina Bausch’s pieces and physically getting to know her work in workshop formats. For this purpose, the Foundation passes on Pina Bausch’s choreographies to dancers and companies worldwide and collaborates with universities. It also develops a training process for rehearsal directors and artistic strategies to safeguard the unique knowledge of the choreographies and their rehearsal process for the future.

One of the Foundation’s fundamental tasks is to make the extensive materials of Pina Bausch’s artistic legacy accessible through digital archives. The Pina Bausch Archives, which include photographs and video recordings as well as written materials on the creation of the pieces, serve as a knowledge resource that is used again and again during rehearsals and restagings. Since November 2021, first materials are publicly accessible worldwide in the online archives at The online archives are constantly being expanded with new materials and pieces.

École Des Sables, Senegal

École des Sables is an international centre for traditional and contemporary African dances, a school for theoretical and practical teaching, a laboratory for research, and a space for meetings and exchanges, conferences and artistic residences. 

The school is dedicated to professional training for dancers from all over Africa in traditional and contemporary African dances. Its objectives are to professionalise African dancers, allowing them to be able to live from their art, and to encourage communication and collaboration between dancers, choreographers and companies from Africa and with the rest of the world; in short, to develop and promote contemporary African dance. Since 1998, the school has regularly organised professional training workshops gathering dancers and choreographers from Africa, the African diaspora and all over the world. 

École des Sables was created in 1998 by Germaine Acogny, considered as “the mother of contemporary African Dance”, and her husband Helmut Vogt. Germaine Acogny is the former director of Mudra Afrique (1977-1982), a pan-African school founded by Leopold Sedar Senghor and Maurice Bejart, which had the objective of giving a professional education to African dancers and citizens to make them become responsible and autonomous through the art. 

Sadler’s Wells, London

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation based in London committed to the making of dance, with over three centuries of theatrical heritage. Since 2005, Sadler’s Wells has created award-winning dance productions, co-productions and touring projects in collaboration with its portfolio of Associate Artists, as well as international dance companies and partners.  

These include Russell Maliphant’s multi award-winning production PUSH with Sylvie Guillem; Crystal Pite’s Polaris with Thomas Adès; Gravity Fatigue, directed by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan; Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and sculptor Antony Gormley; Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/ Loch na hEala; productions by Carlos Acosta’s company Acosta Danza; Natalia Osipova’s Pure Dance; Botis Seva’s Olivier Award winning BLKDOG and William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance.  

Sadler’s Wells plays a significant role in the development of dance, bringing innovative and inspiring works to worldwide audiences. In the last 15 years, it has created 56 productions that have been enjoyed by 2.2 million people, with over 2,500 performances given at 388 venues in 48 countries. Sadler’s Wells productions have toured to some of the most prestigious theatres and festivals around the world, such as the Sydney Opera House, the Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival in New York, the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing, Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow and Santiago a mil Festival in Chile. 

In 2020, Sadler’s Wells premiered Message In A Bottle, a Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK production by Kate Prince, based on the songs of Sting. In 2021 The Rite of Spring and common ground[s] received its world premiere, in partnership with the Pina Bausch Foundation and Ecole des Sables.

”If you could pick up a dance piece, turn it inside out and look at the label, the words ’Made at Sadler’s Wells’ would be a guarantee of quality. Since 2005, the north London theatre has been a hotbed of dance creativity, commissioning and supporting some of the world’s finest choreographers to make work”. The Scotsman