Nairobi News

Life

His moves are pure poetry

Tells us what your work entails.

The work of a choreographer is to create dance moves that go with a certain beat. I am a theatrical trainer, hence I create a 45-minute dance show that tells a story. I don’t use words to tell a story but dance moves.

I train my dancers to be perfect in all styles of dance to make them all-round entertainers.

When did you start dancing?

I started very young, as far back as I can remember. I remember my mum calling me any time a music programme came up because she knew how passionate I was about dancing.

That is where I learnt my first steps. I used to challenge myself, saying that if they could do it, I also could. Then it became an obsession in high school. I used to dance — mainly break dance — in different school activities and I become a favourite of many.

When people saw me they would be like “Edu tuchezee’ (Edu, dance for us) and I was like, “Utabuy lunch,” (you’ll buy lunch) because life was difficult at that time.

Tell me more….

Well, I stopped for a while to do my final exams, and after that I just knew that it was now or never if I wanted to make dancing my career. I never went to any college.

I just went around Mombasa, performing in different clubs, usually at the Florida Night Club during Jam Session.

After a while, I came back to Nairobi and heard there were auditions for dancers at the Safari Park hotel. It was the hardest audition ever, but finally, my friend Joseph and I were able to pull through. We called ourselves the ABC, and we used to compete with the famous Safari Cats.

How did you find yourself with Sarakasi Dancers?

While I was still at Safari Park, I met Rudy Van Dijck. He had seen me perform hundreds of times and after every show, he would tell me how good I was.

One day he came up to me and asked me if I would like a job and I said ‘Yes’. He told me to choreograph a show that he could take to the UK and other parts of the world. I said OK, but I was freaking out because I was used to making routines for five minutes and now I had to do one for a whole 45 minutes.

I had to think of a story line, think of moves and fuse acrobats with dancers on the same floor. I am glad I was successful and that is how Sarakasi was formed, with me as the lead choreographer.

What is one of your biggest achievements?

I can say it was when I went to the Netherlands to study dancing at the Fontys Academy. I had a chance to work with very talented people who shaped me to become who I am today. 

They taught me that in everything I do, I have to say something, it’s not just movement. Also being able to work with Naa from Ghana, who took me with him to the African Cup of Nations where he was choreographing the dancers for the opening ceremony.

What does it take to become a Sarakasi dancer?

Not much really, just passion, discipline and determination for dancing. We take in anyone with those qualities and we do not even care if you are fit or overweight because once you are in, you go through vigorous exercises from our fitness trainers.

We do not look for professional dancers, we search for rough stones to turn into diamonds. All of my dancers wear the same size of costume, with a small difference on the bust, but all the other measurements are the same.

Do you see dancing becoming the next big thing in Kenya?

I think where we are, we are not doing badly, but there is a lot of work to be done. I was the dance coach for TPF 6 and I saw how those contestants were struggling during my classes.

The problem is not them, it is with our singers who do not want to be all-round artistes. They feel that if they can sing then that’s it. They are not chasing the perfect performance.

As a singer, you also have to dance and that is why a Beyonce or Usher concert sells out, always. Apart from their amazing vocals, they also do amazing footwork on the floor.

What is your normal day like?

I wake up at 4:30 so that by 6am I am at the Dome, do some workouts before the training starts, and start answering emails planning future schedules ‘til the day ends.

I have to ask this for the women out there who will kill me if I don’t.

Are you single?

Absolutely not! I am married with a five-year-old son whom I call a genius. He is very quick in understanding music and he also dances quite well. I thank God for my family because they make me whole as a person.

Tells us what your work entails.
The work of a choreographer is to create dance moves that go with a certain beat. I am a theatrical trainer, hence I create a 45-minute dance show that tells a story. I don’t use words to tell a story but dance moves. I train my dancers to be perfect in all styles of dance to make them all-round entertainers.
When did you start dancing?
I started very young, as far back as I can remember. I remember my mum calling me any time a music programme came up because she knew how passionate I was about dancing.  That is where I learnt my first steps. I used to challenge myself, saying that if they could do it, I also could. Then it became an obsession in high school. I used to dance — mainly break dance — in different school activities and I become a favourite of many.  When people saw me they would be like “Edu tuchezee’ (Edu, dance for us) and I was like, “Utabuy lunch,” (you’ll buy lunch) because life was difficult at that time.
Tell me more….
Well, I stopped for a while to do my final exams, and after that I just knew that it was now or never if I wanted to make dancing my career. I never went to any college. I just went around Mombasa, performing in different clubs, usually at the Florida Night Club during Jam Session.
After a while, I came back to Nairobi and heard there were auditions for dancers at the Safari Park hotel. It was the hardest audition ever, but finally, my friend Joseph and I were able to pull through. We called ourselves the ABC, and we used to compete with the famous Safari Cats.
How did you find yourself with Sarakasi Dancers?
While I was still at Safari Park, I met Rudy Van Dijck. He had seen me perform hundreds of times and after every show, he would tell me how good I was. One day he came up to me and asked me if I would like a job and I said ‘Yes’. He told me to choreograph a show that he could take to the UK and other parts of the world. I said OK, but I was freaking out because I was used to making routines for five minutes and now I had to do one for a whole 45 minutes. I had to think of a story line, think of moves and fuse acrobats with dancers on the same floor. I am glad I was successful and that is how Sarakasi was formed, with me as the lead choreographer.
What is one of your biggest achievements?
I can say it was when I went to the Netherlands to study dancing at the Fontys Academy. I had a chance to work with very talented people who shaped me to become who I am today.  They taught me that in everything I do, I have to say something, it’s not just movement. Also being able to work with Naa from Ghana, who took me with him to the African Cup of Nations where he was choreographing the dancers for the opening ceremony.
What does it take to become a Sarakasi dancer?
Not much really, just passion, discipline and determination for dancing. We take in anyone with those qualities and we do not even care if you are fit or overweight because once you are in, you go through vigorous exercises from our fitness trainers.
We do not look for professional dancers, we search for rough stones to turn into diamonds. All of my dancers wear the same size of costume, with a small difference on the bust, but all the other measurements are the same.
Do you see dancing becoming the next big thing in Kenya?
I think where we are, we are not doing badly, but there is a lot of work to be done. I was the dance coach for TPF 6 and I saw how those contestants were struggling during my classes.
The problem is not them, it is with our singers who do not want to be all-round artistes. They feel that if they can sing then that’s it. They are not chasing the perfect performance.
As a singer, you also have to dance and that is why a Beyonce or Usher concert sells out, always. Apart from their amazing vocals, they also do amazing footwork on the floor.
What is your normal day like?
I wake up at 4:30 so that by 6am I am at the Dome, do some workouts before the training starts, and start answering emails planning future schedules ‘til the day ends.
I have to ask this for the women out there who will kill me if I don’t. Are you single?
Absolutely not! I am married with a five-year-old son whom I call a genius. He is very quick in understanding music and he also dances quite well. I thank God for my family because they make me whole as a person.