TRACES 2019 - Interweaving wisdom

6-16 February 2019

Ouidah, Benin

Francesca Pedulla

TRACES 2019 – Axis Syllabus Benin

Interweaving wisdom

OUIDAH February 7th to16th 2019


Organized by Association Sonagnon (Benin)

in collaboration with: The Axis Syllabus International Research Network and Posidonia Green Project

Artistic and Pedagogical Directors: Francesca Pedullà et Eric Acakpo

Coordination: Babara Kpomalegni, Edoardo Brodasca

Teachers: Eric Acakpo, Francesca Pedullà and invited dancers

Musicians: Eric Acakpo, Aliou Guessere and invited musicians


Based in Benin since 2012, TRACES is an annual professional educational platform for dance and choreographic practice. TRACES focuses on the use of the Axis Syllabus as a lens through which to analyze movement and includes complementary subjects such as music for dancers, dance-video, dance history and professional ethics.

Our intention is to furnish knowledge and experience, help develop skills and adapt our strategies to the socio-political context of Benin. Simultaneously, TRACES aims to create a context of exchange in which participants can find and structure a language out of their own experience. Our foundational objectives are: to provide practical and artistic tools, structure and stimulate individual creativity and probe the interaction and impact that different art-forms and cultures can have on each other. The respectful treatment and cultivation of the human body regardless of nation, ethnicity, creed and class is a fundamental ethical aspect of TRACES intentions. By providing a precious exchange context where the knowledge contained in The Axis Syllabus can be transmitted in a concentrated dose, and the cultural treasures of Benin can be accessed.


TRACES 2019 Interweaving Wisdom

Since 2017 TRACES aims to create a strong exchange platform for the Axis Syllabus International Research Network (ASIRN) and the traditional and contemporary dances of Benin. After last years’s positive experience, TRACES 2019 will once again be hosted in the historic city of Ouidah, one of the major centers of the African slave trade, an important intersection of Portuguese and West African cultures and the cradle of the Vodoun culture.

This year Eric Acakpo and Francesca Pedullà, founders of the Beninese Cultural Association Sonagnon, will propose a special format, which is an invitation to dive into their long-term research.

Their artistic and pedagogic collaboration focuses on the Vodoun philosophy and its expression in music and dance. Their attention is captured by the structure and phasing of ritual as a performative act, where the body, the rhythm, the voice, the gesture, object and repetition become instruments of evocation, portals for connection and access to collective memory. These processes translate from the persona to the collective, and although structured, leave space for improvisation.

Their enquiry revolves around these fundamental questions:

Is it possible that ancient values and practices maintain their validity in the contemporary society? How do they adapt and manifest? Is it possible that ancient and current performative practices could enrich each other? How can we, as artists, look at ritual and re-elaborate the wisdom that passes though the body in such a vivid way?