The École des Sables is an international center for traditional and contemporary African dance, a school for theoretical and practical teaching, a research laboratory and a place for meetings and exchanges, conferences and artistic residencies.
It was founded in 1998 by Germaine Acogny and Helmut Vogt. On an area of 4.5 hectares, the École des Sables is located right above the fishing village of Toubab Dialaw, 55 km south of Dakar, overlooking the ocean, a lagoon and the savannah. The dance center consists of two large dance halls, one of 400m² with a sand floor, called "Kër Aloopho", and one of 280m², with a western professional floor, called "Salle Henriette". In addition, the center has a conference room that can be modulated as needed to accommodate seminars, conferences and dance/creative courses. The school has 24 bungalows with a total capacity of 72 people. Meals are taken in the center's 70-person restaurant, which is run by the women of the village.
The École des Sables works primarily with a training programme for young dancers and choreographers from all over Africa. Nearly 700 African dancers have benefited from high level professional training given by African and Western teachers. The base consists of traditional and contemporary dances from Africa and the West.
It also creates meetings and exchanges between African dancers and dancers from other continents in order to give the latter - who are increasingly interested in the richness, diversity and complexity of African dances - the opportunity to discover them in the best possible conditions.
The École des Sables has also created two dance companies: JANT-BI Germaine Acogny (international company) and JANT-BI II (local up-and-coming company with young dancers from Senegal).