Sophiatou Kossoko

Article Projects Images www
homeland, identity
Performing Arts (dance)
Africa, Western
Benin, Nigeria
created on:
May 14, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since September 23, 2008. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Sophiatou Kossoko
Sophiatou Kossoko


In a dialogue between the traditions of her homeland Nigeria and Western dance, Sophiatou Kossoko, who has lived in Paris since1984, has developed an extremely individual and abstract language in her solos. The radical question as to the ties of the homeless self is characteristic of her work.
"I eat up space", says the dancer Sophiatou Kossoko. She complements her powerful, expansive dance style with sculptural phases - stylized, fervent, and almost silent - only to explosively reclaim the space she needs.
The focus of her work in dance and choreography is the search for identity in the zone of tension between her homeland Benin in Nigeria, which she was forced to leave with her parents as political refugees, and her adopted home Paris, where she has lived since 1984. She locates the danced exploration of her own geographically and culturally split personality in the border zones of the visual arts, improvisation and body work: "Today I speak French, I speak English with visitors; neither is my native language. Who am I then?"

Sophiatou Kossoko´s teachers have included Germaine Acogny, Alvin Ailey, Doug Cruchfield and Koffi Kôkô. She recently completed a new solo, "Tchouai", with Germaine Acogny. With the Algerian choreographer Heddy Maalem she created another solo, "Une petite logique des Forces", and the group piece "Black Spring". In the House of World Cultures Sophiatou Kossoko presented the performance "Ibi l´ohun" - "Here and There" - at once a dance in an empty space and a game with the many facets of her own personality, which materialize only to dissolve again.

(Translation: Isabel Cole)


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.


Customs – Nothing to declare

(30 May 03 - 14 June 03)


Transforming the arts

(30 May 02 - 14 June 02)