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 © 2012 - 2019 by  Qudus Onikeku / The QDance Company all rights reserved    ---- Designed by Qudus Onikeku ----  

Qudus ONIKEKU



Founder /Artistic Director

YK Projects . Paris

QDanceCenter . Lagos

 

Artistic Director/Curator

DanceGATHERING Lagos

Visiting Professor

UC DAVIS. California

Columbia College - Chicago

Languages
Yoruba

Pigin

English

French

Portuguese

Pedagogical approach

Professional statement
 

As an artiste, my experience and expertise in intuitive and complex movement structures, body intelligence and spontaneous inventions, improvisation and divergent thinking, had led to a greater interest in creativity, innovation and change making. My work has therefore, found home within different media, from performance to installation, curating and community organizing. An international artistic engagement that intersects between my interest in body memory and finding new vocabularies for performance, embracing an artistic vision that both respects and challenges Yoruba culture and contemporary forms.

 

Personally, I create a movement identity that fuses dance and acrobatics, while I make the guiding philosophies of Yoruba cultural and science fiction my basis, and combining it with several other influences to weave a certain understanding of the human condition. Inquiring into what it means to elevate our thinking and culture as creatives, as truth-tellers and doers, by simply being open to new knowledge. Instigating an atmosphere of dreams, where we are invited to plan together for a paradigm shift, paving a way for us all to practice the future together, to grow what we are all imagining and creating, into something large enough, that it becomes a tipping point in history.

Research, CURATORIAL and Choreographic Projects

2019. "SPIRIT CHILD". a full length solo piece inspired by Ben Okri's seminal novel, The Famished Road, it features 1 dancer and 3 musicians, premiered in Cologne in June 2019.

2019. "AFRO SPACE TIME", co-curator of the third edition of danceGATHERING, which featured 83 artistes, thinkers and designers from Nigeria, USA, UK, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Benin Rep., Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Poland and Holland.

2019. "NEW MASKS", a mid length piece created with 7 West African dancers, at the Fari Foni Waati Festival in Bamako.

2018. "IYAMI", a mid length piece created with 9 Undergrads students at the Dance department of Columbia College. Chicago. Premiered on 17th December 2018.

2018. “YUROPA”, a full length piece exploring themes of migration, it features 3 dancers and 1 musician, premiered in Bremen in June 2018.

2018. "BODY & MEMORY", co-curator of the second edition of danceGATHERING, which featured 40 artistes, thinkers and designers from Nigeria, USA, UK, France, Germany, Israel, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Holland.

2017. “RAINMAKERS”, a short piece that features 8 dancers and 5 musicians, created for the TEDGlobal in Tanzania, and since performed severally in Nigeria.

2017. “INVOCATIONS”, a short feminine quartet, dealing with the question of human essence over social/gender roles, the dance piece was created for the opening of the danceGATHERING / Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival.

 

2017. “A BRIEF MOMENT OF TRUTH”, a short piece that features 3 dancers and 5 musicians, created for the TEDLagos.

2017. "MO(VE)MENTS" Curator of the first edition of danceGATHERING, which featured 20 artistes from Nigeria, USA, Mali, Mozambique and Tunisia.

2016. "WE ALMOST FORGOT", a full length piece that features 7 artistes of different origins and background. It deals with memories of a hurtful past, connecting with the present and how to move on with the future. It is a 2016 creation that was premièred in Berlin, Lagos and Abuja and Paris.

 

2016. "AN AFRICAN BALLET", a creation bringing together dance, mythology and music. It follows the poetic journey of an exiled son who traverses worlds and returns to finally reclaim his lost inheritance. The show features international dancer/choreographer, Qudus Onikeku, African classical composer, Tunde Jegede and guest artists, Renu Hossain (tablas) and Devon Carpenter (harp). It will be a unique meeting point between traditions, styles and genres.

2016. "QDANCE SESSIONn", a performance lab initiated by the QDanceCenter, Ikoyi. A semi curated gathering of performers, curious audience, creative minds, story tellers, seekers of truth, makers of beauty, workers and students of life amongst others, coming together just as they are, for a rare moment of sharing and for the purpose of creatively occupying the "Now".

 

2015. IWA L’EWA, a work commissioned by the British Council Lagos-Nigeria, the piece features 4 dancers with varying forms of disabilities, 6 non-disabled dancers and 5 musicians on stage. The piece discusses beauty in a non-conventional manner, what we could regard as beauty and what is not.

 

2015. ”AFRICAMAN ORIGINAL”, a piece created in 2015, commissioned by the Fondation Zinsou in Cotonou, the work dabbles Between dance, performance, stand-up, singing and a dance class. A journey into the universe of Fela Kuti, now imagined as a dancer. The work has since been performed in festivals in Libreville, Berlin, Bayreuth, Los Angeles, Brussels and Paris.

 

2014. "EXILE REMIXED", a Recreation of My Exile is in My Head to incorporate Zena Edwards, a london based poet and spoken word artiste. The piece was comissioned for Southbank Centre London, premiered during the AFRICA UTOPIA festival, 11th September 2014 and also performed at the Ake Festival. Abeokuta in November 2014..

 

2013.  "QADDISH" a full lenght piece with three musicians and an actor, which marks the last part of a Trilogy which began with 'My Exile is in My Head' and 'STILL/life'. Created for YK Projects, commisioned by the prestigous Festival D'avignon 2013. Premiered on 6th July 2013 with several tours around Europe.

 

2013.  "FLASH" a full lenght piece created with 11 (Grads and Undergrads) students at the department of Theatre and Dance of University of California Davis. Premiered on 7th March 2013.

 

2011 – 2012. Was commissioned by Festival d’Avignon and SACD to create « STILL / life » for Festival d’Avignon 2011, a solo piece in collaboration with the choreographer Damien Jalet, later performed in Bamako, Yokohama and Tokyo. It was later transformed into a full-length piece with the participation of the Musician Charles Amblard, singer/poet Habeeb Ayodeji Awoko, the light designer Guillaume Fesneau and the video artiste Isaak Lartey. Premiere on 24 March 2012, with tours in France, Slovenia and Greece.


2011.  Creation of «KADDISH» an improvised musical solo dance piece with seven musicians and a singer, with the collaboration of the foremost Italian Opera director Davide Livermore, for Torino Danza 2011. Premiere on 6 December 2011.



2011.  Creation of « we Dance we Pray » a demand from Vuyani Dance Theatre – Johannesburg, for 8 dancers and 4 musicians. Premiere on 13 October 2011.


2009 – 2012. Creation and touring of « My Exile is in My head » for Yk Projects, a Solo piece with the collaboration of the Musician Charles Amblard, the light designer Guillaume Fesneau and the video artiste Isaak Lartey, that emanate from a six month residency at Le CENTQUATRE in Paris. The piece gathered a remarkable success, and was named the laureate of the solo category at the Danse L’Afrique Danse 2010 in Bamako. The piece has since been performed 30 times in tours around France, Mali, Senegal, Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, South Africa and Brazil.


2009.  Creation of « I must set Forth » that emanate from a residency period at the Bates College – Maine USA, a Solo piece created in August for Bates Festival, and later performed in Lagos Nigeria in octobre 2009 at the Trufesta festival.


2007. Carried out a research project on dance in alternative spaces, titled « Do we need Cola-Cola to dance? » conducted in Six African cities namely; Lagos, Cairo, Yaounde, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Maputo and toured in Nigeria, Brazil, Italy and USA. Later produced a Documentary film on the project. The project received recognition and award from France, Netherlands and at the European Union level.


2004 – 2006. First individual choreographic creation « Lost Face », toured in Nigeria, Republic of Benin, France and the Dominican Republic.

I have taught and given various 'Dance and Movement' master classes in various cities in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the USA. The corporal investigation in my pedagogical approach, works mostly with a dance philosophy that is  schizophrenic and frenetic in nature. That is, looking for ways of creating dualities, oppositions and tasking the body for multiple expressions, which includes basic rules of improvisation; using repetition, and paroxysm, strength and fluidity, stillness and nothingness. It also examines how constraints, restrictions and limitations creates a new kind of freedom for the body, and in the process creating new ways of moving. Other focuses are the explorations or natural connections in the body and how to use gravity and the floor as dance partners, to develop a strong harmony, and finding a balance between what we control and what transcends us. This could eventually lead to a mode of writing that is party improvised and loosely written.

2010 - present

2010 - present

Professional Experience as Dancer

2012 till date. Dancer in Levée des Conflit choreographed by Boris Charmatz with various tours in Europe, US and Canada.

2011. Dancer in BABEL choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Followed by a European tour.


2004 till date. Dancer in the works of Heddy Maalem, notably in Black spring  The Rite of spring and MAIS LE DIABLE MARCHE A NOS COTE with several tours in Africa, Europe and in USA.


2009. Participated in the creation of 20e/Premiere, under the direction of George Lavaudent and choreographed by Jean Claude Galotta, the piece toured in France and in Latin America.


2001 – 2003. Participated in the creations and toured Nigeria, Madagascar, Croatia, Germany and the UK with Alajota Dance Company, in ONIDUNDUN and ILE. Choreographed by Christopher Abdul Yisa Onibasa.

Honours and Fellowship

2018. The African Dance Academy Awards. "YUROPA" as Best Stage Production. Nigeria.

2018. The African Dance Academy Awards, as Best Choreographer in a Stage Production. Nigeria.

2018. Best Contemporary dancer, male. Grand Awards 2018. Nigeria.

2018. Male Choreographer of the Year. Grand Awards 2018. Nigeria.

2018. Visiting artiste in residence at the Dance Center, Columbia College. Chicago. USA

2018. Artistic Board, for the 2020 Dance Biennial in Africa. Morocco.

2017. Selected artiste, for the first Nigerian pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennial. Italy

2017. Speaker, TEDGlobal. Arusha. Tanzania.

2017. Speaker, TEDLagos.

2017. Recipient of the 2016 Africa Centre AIR award, at the Sacatar Foundation. Bahia, Brazil.

2016. Jury Member, Mentor / Protege program of the Rolex Foundation. Geneva - Switzerland.

2016. Artist in Residency Musée Des Confluences Lyon - France.

2015. Guest Lecturer, Dance department, UCLA. Los Angeles - USA.

2015. Guest Speaker, Art Leadership Symposium, Thornton School of Music, University of South California. Los Angeles - USA.

2013. Official selected artiste, 67th edition of Avignon Festival. France.

2013. Visiting Professor (Grenada Artist in Residence) at the school of Theatre and Dance. University of Califonia - Davis.

2012. The New Choreographic Talent in France, at the 2012 Prix SACD - The French author's society.

2012. Associate Artiste. MODUL DANCE, a multi-annual cooperation project between 23 European dance-houses from 15 countries.
2012. Associate Artiste ESSONNES DANSE FESTIVAL 2012.
2011. Nominee TED Global fellow, a program designed to bring together young world-changers and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage.
2011. Artist in residence, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2010. Nominee Young Person Of The Year at the FUTURE AWARDS 2010.
2010. Artist in residence, at Le CENTQUATRE Paris, an artistic establishment of the city of Paris.
2010. Laureate, Danse L’Afrique Danse prize, an Africa-wide contemporary dance competition.
2009. The Dancer Of The Year at the FUTURE AWARDS 2009, an honorary award for outstanding young Nigerians.
2009. Artist in residence at Bates College - Maine USA.
2008. Youth in Action Grant Award, a European Union honorary program for Youth Initiatives.
2007. Grant Award from the Prince Clause funds of the Netherlands.
2007. Envie d'Agir and DEFI Jeune Grant Awards, an honorary program of the Region of Champagne Ardennes. France.​

2006. Full time study Scholarship at the  Ecole nationale Superieur des arts du cirque by the French Embassy in Abuja.
2005. The Most Outstanding Dancer Of The Year on the occasion of the Ivory Ambassador’s anniversary award. Lagos.
2002. The Best Acrobatic And Stunt Dancer Curlarts Dance Award on the occasion of the CURLARTS DANCE MEET 2002. Lagos. Nigeria.
2001. Artist in residence with the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture with regular participation in projects with the National Troupe of Nigeria.
2000. Best Dancer – Surulere Local Government award on the occasion of the SURUFEST 2000. Lagos. Nigeria.

Some Trainings

2006 – 2008. DMA – Higher Diploma in Acrobatics at the National higher school of Circus Arts, Chalons en champagne, France. That completes self-taught practice since the age of 5.


2000 – 2003. Artistic training and Integration in contemporary dance with the Alajotas Dance Company, Ibadan. Nigeria.
 

1997 – 2003. Artistic Training and Integration in African dance at the Gongbeat Arts, Lagos. Nigeria.
And numerous short classes and workshop in African dance, contemporary dance, hip hop, acrobatics, capoeira, Tai Chi, Butoh Dance, composition, singing and acting.