On the Quest of: Expressions Of The Soul – Contemporary Dance in Nigeria

 

Dancer Bukunmi Olukitibi of the Krump Dance Studio during a solo performance in Abuja, Nigeria on 28 August, 2016.
Dancer Bukunmi Olukitibi of the Krump Dance Studios during a solo performance in Abuja on 28 August 2016. Image: © Tobias Strahl/Sehnsuchtsort

 

By Tobias Strahl. In the end it appeared as if the dancers for their part were surprised of what they had turned into within an hour of performance at the stage of Merit House, Abuja, Nigeria on last Sunday.

Both, they and I, we had been on the quest for something rare to get hold of and even harder to hold on to. As they were seeking Expressions of the soul – as was title of the program – so was I for the “other Nigeria” of ambitious art and diverse cultural routine which actually exists but is scarcely perceptible behind daily headlines on corruption, insecurity and a population in dire needs.

Dancers of The Krump Dance Studio during a performance on 28 August, 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Dancers of The Krump Dance Studios during the performance Expressions of the Soul on 28 August, 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria. Image: © Tobias Strahl/Sehnsuchtsort

According to better informed observers performances of The Krump Dance Studios until recently were little more than mere entertainment. Provided the correctness of that assertion this seems to have changed dramatically ever since the studio under its founder Mima Angulu went into collaboration with the Lagosian dancer Qudus Onikeku – a true self-made man who, by hard work, obviously became one of the leading figures in Nigeria’s contemporary dance scene.

Following rumors, Qudus Onikeku had only one week to work with the dancers of the Krump Studios on the performance presented last Sunday. The result, nevertheless, proofed the Lagos-Abuja-Venture a most promising one. Far from being perfect, the performance of the company as a whole as well as those of its soloists Miracle Nelson and Bukunmi Olukitibi represented a breathtaking mixture of seemingly exuberant power, aesthetics, emotion and a sublime intellectuality.

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Dancers of The Krump Dance Studios during the performance Expressions of the Soul in Abuja, Nigeria on 28 August, 2016. Image: © Tobias Strahl/Sehnsuchtsort

 

The only downer this evening consisted in the ambitious collage made of projected interviews with the performers supposed to interplay with music and dance. This modern element of multimedia art performance failed entirely due to Nigeria’s generic problems providing electricity and delicate technical adjustment and thus gave the otherwise professional presentation a stuttering and dilettante overtone.

Nevertheless, the performers of the Krump Dance Studios most credibly met with their aspiration of showing the audience Expressions Of The Soul. Intoxicated by their virtue and sheer beauty I felt redeemed from my own quest. Coming from different directions we met at our very object – the miraculous salvation true art has to offer through the expression of the inexpressible.

 

The Krump Dance Studios – surely worth being followed up on.

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