by Dami Ajayi
On the third of August, Mr & Mrs Qudus Onikeku commissioned their latest project, a dance academy. It was an informal cocktail party dotted with short monologues, artistic performances and finger food. In attendance were bigwigs of the creative industry—filmmakers, writers, actors, comedians, editors, poets and, of course, dancers.
I suppose a huge majority of my readers will ask who Qudus Onikeku is. Qudus is a dancer, period. Qudus, like most prodigious acts, was precocious. His initial interest was acrobatics at a tender pre-school age; that pursuit led him to find dance in his teenage years and since then he has not backed out. He has performed on numerous stages in countless countries, doing his distinct dance which melds contemporary posturing, acrobatics, free-spirited expression seamlessly. He was based in Paris until recently.
Recently, he relocated back to Nigeria. A drastic step which earned stares of disbelief from his friends abroad, he quipped during his introductory remarks. His ebullient wife was beside him with knowing smiles. Their home return was a generously considered act of impulsion. Like most creative individuals bubbling with ideas, they not only understood the importance of relocating back home but also anticipated challenges and hardships.
This however is not their first experiment since their return. They hosted Counterpoint three months back at Freedom Park. Counterpoint is a loosely styled seminar that brings together accomplished creative individuals into the same space for conversations around their arts and for the possibilities of collaboration. The event was a resounding success and it perhaps gave them the impetus to commit to bigger, long-term projects like starting a school of dance.
Qudus targets young individuals passionate about dance and he encourages them to enroll at his QDance Center. Young adults are better of pursuing something instead of being idle and becoming tools for ungainly use. The dance space will also be made available for creative seminars, poetry readings, close-knit film premieres and whatnot. And of course, dance drop-outs are eligible to enroll to reignite their long lost interest in dance.
Qudus promised to take his gospel of dance to Yaba and its environs with the procedural ingenuity of Jehovah Witnesses. I suppose he is the most qualified person for this job and he has got more than passion going for him. For Qudus, dance is not a livelihood, dance is everything.