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© Jean Couturier


Qudus Onikeku

Re:Incarnation is an ode to the richness of Nigerian culture—it brings to life the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, and celebrates Africa’s powers of reinvention in a show that draws on Afrobeats, Afro dances and black aesthetics.


All of Lagos is out in the streets. A fight breaks out, and one person dies. Reality shifts on its axis, revealing a world where a bird-woman holds court, along with keepers of the kingdom of the dead and other mythical figures. In this world, death is nothing final, it is merely a thread that connects us to the ancestors. Re:Incarnation draws on Yoruba philosophy—the ethnic background of the Nigerian choreographer Qudus Onikeku—to revive body memory and celebrate Africa’s ability to reinvent itself in a collective rebirth. 

Ten young dancers and two musicians perform the cycle of life with explosive energy. This young generation of Nigerian dancers, steeped in local Afrobeats as well as dancehall, hip-hop, and funky house, feed an exuberant exploration of life’s several passages. Re:Incarnation is epic, an ode to the cultural bounty of Nigeria, with each artist adding their own individual force. The piece is a passionate journey of initiation and catharsis.


Produced by The QDance Company

Executive Producer YK Projects (Paris)

Created and directed by Qudus Onikeku

Created with and performed by Wisdom Bethel + Addy Daniel + Patience Ebute + Esther Essien + Joshua Gabriel + Faith Okoh + Angela Okolo + Busayo Olowu + Adila Omotosho + Obiajulu Sunday Ozegbe

Live Music Victor Ademofe + Olatunde Obajeun

Lighting Design Mathew Yusuf

Costume Design Wack NG

Video Technician Isaac Lartey

Production Manager Temitayo Mobolaji Oke

Production and Touring Alli Hajarat – The QDance Company

Co-produced by Biennale de la danse (Lyon) + Les Spectacles vivants – Centre Pompidou (Paris) + Les Halles de Schaerbeek (Bruxelles) Théâtre Paul-Éluard (Bezons) + Escales danse en Val-d’Oise + Théâtre national de Bretagne (Rennes)

With the support of ONDA (Paris)

Presented by La Presse the support of Institut Français + Consulat Général de France à Québec
in association with Place des Arts

Premiered at Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, on January 14, 2021

A North American première

Written by Elsa Pépin

Translated by Katia Grubisic


© Alli Hajarat

Qudus Onikeku (Lagos)

Qudus Onikeku is a representative of a new generation of artists working internationally. The choreographer was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and in 2009 went on to train at the École nationale supérieure des arts du cirque in France, initially working at the crossroads of dance and acrobatics. Inspired by traditional Yoruba philosophy, he has also been influenced by hip-hop, capoeira, and contemporary dance.

Full biography