With a background as an acrobat and dancer, Qudus Onikeku is one of the preeminent Nigerian choreographers working today.

Why you should listen

Qudus Onikeku is the founder and artistic director of YK Projects Paris and QDanceCenter Lagos. Through his international artistic engagements, his interest is drawn toward the aesthetics and artistry of African peoples in general, both within the continent and in the diaspora. His visceral practice of dance and engagement with the processes of decolonization have led him to develop a research-based practice about the body's capacity to store memories and inherited traumas -- and to restore and heal both the dancer and the audience.

Qudus began training as an acrobat at age five (he's a graduate of the French Centre National des Art de Cirque), and he began his dance career in the Surulere area of Lagos at age 13. Now, his globally known work encompasses dance, teachings, writings and research projects, and public space happenings. His works in the past decade includes: "Do we need colacola to dance?" (Lagos, Cairo, Johannesburg, Maputo, Nairobi, Yaounde, 2007); "My Exile Is in My Head" (Paris, 2010); "QADDISH" (Avignon Festival, 2013); "We Almost Forgot" (Berlin, Lagos, Abuja. 2016); and "Infinite Nowness" and "Right Here, Right Now" (Venice Biennale, 2017).

Qudus Onikeku’s TED talk