Dance Centre Kenya Commitee
Bilu is a Kenyan Engineer, specialised in irrigation and alternative energy with a postgraduate degree from the UK. He owns and operates a number of companies in Kenya. Bettina is from Germany, residing in Kenya since 1993. She is a medical doctor with specialisation in Emergency & Tropical Medicine and holds a PHD in Nuclear Medicine from Germany. Both Bettina and Bilu have a strong interest in dance as two of their three children are passionate about dancing.
Tonya & Nigel Shaw are from Kenya. Nigel is third generation Kenyan; Tonya has lived here since she was 7 years old. They both schooled in Kenya and abroad and returned to Kenya once they had completed university. Nigel is a lawyer and Tonya a Clinical Psychologist. Their youngest daughter developed a passion for dance when she was 3 years and is considering pursuing dance as a career. Tonya and Nigel came together with a group of other parents to set up Dance Centre Kenya to provide a pre professional level of training for dancers in Kenya and to encourage and support youngsters wishing to pursue dance.
Rosemary Dolan is a retired geneticist who has lived in Kenya since 1975. She is interested in theatre, opera and ballet. Rosemary sees DCK as an opportunity to discover and foster local talent through sponsorship and opportunity.
Christiane was born in Switzerland. At an early age she developed a strong interest in ballet and artistic gymnastics and trained in both disciplines. She later worked for a humanitarian organization and was sent to Rwanda in 1994. Even though it was an extremely hard time, as she set foot on the African continent she felt an immediate connection. She has since lived and worked in almost every East African countries and some West African ones and has eventually settled in Kenya in 2000. She has a degree in Library and Information Science and a Post Graduate degree in Education. Stephen is a Kenyan citizen, of third generation. He is an engineer with a degree in mechanical engineering from the UK and has specialized in water and steam engineering. Stephen and Christiane have two daughters and a son who all show a profound love of dance.
Caroline grew up in the Netherlands where she spent her free time training in rhythmical gymnastics, taking dance classes and being part of musical theatre productions at school. In 2003 she joined the Amsterdam School of the Arts for a one year preparation course for a bachelor program in Dance.
After this course she joined in a dance teacher training program for two years, followed by four years of training in Jazz- Musical Dance for which she obtained a Bachelor of Dance. She received classes in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, tap dance, singing, musical theatre and acting and worked with directors/choreographers WiesBloemen, Eddy Habbema and David Greaves. In her last year she did an internship with Musical Theatre Company Briza, performing musical theatre productions for children and was part of an exchange program with The Kenya Performing Arts Group.
After teaching dance in many different schools and projects in the Netherlands she came back to Kenya and started Ghetto Exposed, a non-profit which offers dance and photography training to talented young people from underprivileged communities and aims to build the audience and create jobs in the field. Caroline has been working for Dance Centre Kenya since January 2016.
Natasha began her formal dance training at the Edna Manley School of Dance in Kingston, Jamaica under the tutelage of Patsy Rickets, Barbara Requa, Tony Wilson and Barry Montcrief. where she became a member of the Junior Performing workshop studying Ballet of the Cecchetti technique and Modern in both Horton, Graham and Afro Caribbean technique.
Natasha later received a partial scholarship to attend the New World school of the Arts in Miami Florida where she graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree with Honours in 1996. During her schooling she trained in Limon, Horton and Graham technique, ballet, jazz, and musical theatre. She worked with visiting choreographers such as Menaka Thakkar learning classical Indian technique and Reginald Yates who taught African technique.
After moving back to Jamaica she joined the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica under the tutelage of Professor Rex Nettleford, as well as teachers such as Clive Thompson (lead dancer for Alvin Ailey and visiting choreographers like David Brown (lead dancer for Martha Graham) among others. During this time she toured to New York, Miami, and Belize with the company and during the 40th anniversary was chosen to perform “Beloved” by Lester Horton with Arsenio Andrade.
Natasha also worked as a vocalist for Julian Marley and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley and had the opportunity to tour with the Marley’s on a Bob Marley festival to Miami, Cancun, and San Antonio.
In 2003 she taught ballet to the performing arts ensemble Ashe, a non-profit organization that trains talented young singers, dancers and actors from inner city areas in Kingston.
In 2004 Natasha trained and certified in the Pilates Mat technique as well as reformer work from a master teacher trained by Kathy Grant. Her Caribbean roots are evident in her choreography, but she manages to meld this with classical lines and alignment in her teaching methods.
Victor Mishael Okumu was born in 1991 in Nairobi and raised by his parents in the slums of Mathare and Huruma. He attended Mathare North Primary School for his primary education after which he attended Nyangoma Boys Secondary School for his high school studies.
After high school he was sponsored to join Ghetto Exposed School of Dance And Photography from 2011- 2014. This was the start of his professional dance training. Mishael was trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, african, modern, tap, botu and Pilates.
In June 2012 he joined Black Blingers Dance Crew and in 2013 they won the Sakata Dance Battle in Kenya. In the same year he and 15 other artists were chosen to represent Kenya in the Umoja Cultural Festival (Flying Carpets). He then attended the Guerrilla Art Camp in Uganda and represented Ghetto Exposed in an exchange program in Oslo Norway with NORAD.
Mishael has performed in various productions with The Academy of Dance And Art and Dance Centre Kenya. He is currently working as a gymnastics teacher in Dance Centre Kenya and isalso founder and director of an artistic centre in the slums of Huruma for children living below the poverty level in Kenya.
Raymond Ochieng Odipo began his dance career immediately after the successful completion of his high school education in 2009. He trained in basic dance techniques with YAWA (Youths Associated With Arts) a dance company based in Kisumu, Kenya. In 2011, after two years in training, he began participating in various productions and workshops with the company such as “TRUTH’ and “ASHES” which both had several tours within East Africa.
In 2012 he joined SarakasiTrust an art company situated in Nairobi, where he continues to work as a freelance professional dancer. In Sarakasi he improved his performance technique through hard work and dedication. In 2014 Raymond spent 6months in intensive training in Norway at the Kultur Skolen I Fredrikstad majoring in hip hop and ballet.He also traveled to the United Kingdom for summer performances at Butlins Resort in Bognor Regis.
In 2015 Raymond traveled to Holland for a production named ‘Boma’ with the International Dance Theater in Amsterdam working with a Dutch choreographer Cornelius Garnea.He worked with TeroSaarinen Company (Finland) in collaboration with Ghetto Exposed on the performance TRAIL between October and December 2015.
Raymond has also performed for prominent individuals both locally and internationally such as the inauguration of the Kenyan president His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, and the homecoming of the president of the United States of America His Excellency Barrack Obama.