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© Jean Couturier
Dance

Re:Incarnation

Qudus Onikeku

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.

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About the artist

© 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

Media Coverage

Re:Incarnation is an impressively layered look at memory and spirituality.ˮ 

Laura Cappelle, Dancing Times (United Kingdom), 2021-02

Interview

Re:Incarnation is inspired by these three spaces, which coexist simultaneously:  the space of life, the spiritual space, and the space of the ancestors. It’s another way of talking about reincarnation: birth, death, rebirth.”

Read the interview