TRACES - Interweaving Wisdom
professional program for dance and choreographic practice


Realized by : Association Sonagnon and Axis Syllabus  Research  Meshwork

In collaboration with: CACO,  Ville de Ouidah

Coordination and Artistic Direction: Francesca Pedullà and Eric Acakpo

Pedagogical team: Eric Acakpo, Frey Faust, Francesca Pedullà, Aliou Guessere, fortin Acakpo and experts invited

Photo: Barbara Calì


Started in 2012 TRACES  is a annual  professional educational platform for dance and choreographic practice based in Ouidah, Benin.

TRACES focuses on the  analysis  and re-elaboration of of traditional dances trough the lens of the Axis Syllabus and complementary subjects (music for dancers,  study of FA, choreographic approaches, dance history, professional ethic).

The intention is to furnish knowledge, skills and experience, adapting our strategies to the social - political context of Benin and simultaneously create a context of exchange in which participants can find and structure a language from their own experience.  Our foundational focus are: to provide tools, to structure and stimulate individual creativity, to experiment with cross-disciplinary media and communication, probe the interaction and impact that different art-forms amd cultures can have on each other.

TRACES is open to dancers of all nationalities who have a background in any movement discipline but specifically targets dancers resident in Africa, particularly in Benin. Every year there are few places reserved for dancers from abroad, such as artists that have a strong interest in inter-cultural exchange and/or Axis Syllabus research. A selection will be made on the basis of a written curriculum vitae and a motivation letter.

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Dance artist Francesca Pedullà and musician Eric Acakpo work together since 2005, teaching, creating opportunity for cultural and artistic exchange and performing in Benin and abroad. They founded the Beninese Cultural Association Sonagnon in 2006, with the aim to protect and share the richness of beninese culture and provide an exchange  platform for artists from all over the world. From 2008 to 2012 they co-directed the international project  Dialogue Inévitables realized in collaboration with various cultural association and with the support of several international institutions. Since 2012 they co-direct TRACES, an annual professional educational platform for dance and choreographic practice based in Cotonou and Ouidah with collaboration of the Axis Syllabus Research Meshwork.

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, objects and repetition become instruments of evocation, portals for connection and access to collective memory.  These process translate from persona to the collective, and although structured, leave space for improvisation.

Their enqury revolves around these fundamentals questions:

Is it possible that ancient values and practices maintain their validity in the contemporary society? How do the 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 through the  body in such a vivid way?



Dialogues Inévitables

Je ne sais plus qui a fait quoi

Ancient Kinetic Wisdom