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PRESS

Below is a selection of articles and critiques written about Assayigah's work.

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Echo

Pioneering Modern African Dance in Southend
HE might be unknown in this country, but back home in Togo, Ass Ayigah is a famous pioneer of modern African dance.

The 43-year-old, who now lives in Southend, trained at one of the most prestigious dance colleges in Africa before going onto run his own performing arts company, direct the national ballet, have his own television show and win numerous awards for his work.
"Modern dance is big in Togo now because of me," Ass explains.
"Before I set up my own school, dancing was very traditional. They have a dance for happiness, sadness and ritual dancing, but I wanted to create something more expressive - something modern and fresh and contemporary".

Obsessed with dancing and music as a child, Ass travelled to the Ivory Coast to attend one of Africa's most notorious dance schools - Ecole de Danse et d'Echanges Culturels (School of Dance and Cultural Exchanges) run by internationally-acclaimed dancer Rose-Marie Guiraud.
He trained to degree level and spent some time in Paris perfecting his skills before returning home to Togo to spread the word about contemporary dance.

Although his style was radical, the idea caught on and through his own dance company and school, Assf students have gone on to work as dancers, performers and instructors all over the world.
But political unrest in Togo forced Ass to flee the country with his family and move to the UK seven years ago, where he has now become a British citizen and set up a dance company in Southend called Ayigafrik. In 2004 he represented the UK in the International Dance Festival Competition in Seoul, Korea.
"I love Southend," he says of his new home.

"When I came to England, I spent some time in London and then came here and thought it was such a diverse place with lots of different cultures and people seem to want to learn new things. People think everything happens in London, but it doesn't - there are lot's of interesting things going on outside of the city. I'm an artist and Southend is a wonderful place to be because there are so many festivals and opportunities to dance."

With a cast of 50 dancers, Ass now travels all over the world putting on exhibitions of his unusual work.
"I talk about where the dance came from," he says.
"I sing African songs, perform some traditional African dance and get the audience into the rhythm of the music".

Ass and his crew will be at Leigh Folk Festival this Sunday and have been invited to perform at the Home Office's annual conference in October.

"I think it's a good way of showing people a bit about African culture," he says.
"It's expensive to go to Africa, so instead people can come along and watch what we do and get a feel for it".
The Ayigafrik crew will be performing on Victoria Wharf, Old Leigh on Sunday at 2:30pm. The festival is free.
10:13am Wednesday 27th June 2007

In La Nouvelle Marche, Togo, July 1989
       
Fraternite Matin
In Fraternite Matin, Ivory Coast, January 1990
       
La Depeche Du Midi
In La Depeche Du Midi, France, July 1990
       

Togo Presse Magazine

In Togo Presse Magazine, March 1992
       
Togo Press
In Togo-Presse, June 1996
       
Togo Presse
In Togo Presse, December 1996
       
KpaKpa
In KpaKpa Desenchante, Togo, 1997
       
Images
In Images Magazine, 1998
       
Nouvel Echo
In Nouvel Echo, Togo, February 1999
       
Southend Standard
In the Southend Standard, United Kingdom, September 2000
       
letogolais
On letogolais.com, December 2003