Dance Centre Kenya
Founded in January 2015, Dance Centre Kenya (DCK) has grown to become Kenya’s pre-eminent dance school with over 500 students taking classes in the three DCK studios (Karen Hardy, Lavington and Rosslyn) and approximately 1,000 more taking DCK- taught classes in 15 schools throughout Nairobi.
From small beginnings, established by a few families of talented dancers who wished to advance their children’s training, the Plumbe, Shaw/Dolan and Vadera families came together to establish a new dance school in Nairobi. With very different backgrounds and professions, these families shared the same vision of providing a world-class level of training to the children of Kenya. Dance Centre Kenya was born when Professional American ballerina Cooper Rust was brought on board as an Artistic Director.
Since then the number of students has grown and the range and styles of dance classes offered has expanded greatly. The breadth of support and involvement of artists and ballet lovers both locally and abroad has been humbling. The initial performance on a makeshift stage in the gardens of the Purdy Arms has now transformed to the spectacular ballets audiences on the stage of the Kenya National Theatre. The Nutcracker at Christmas time has become an annual tradition on the Nairobi social calendar and has previously included collaborations with the Nairobi Philharmonic Orchestra and visiting international conductors and guest musicians. The magnificent stage sets and costumes delight repeatedly with a repertory that includes full-length ballets such as Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo.
Throughout the pandemic, DCK has continued to provide its students with world-class dance and gymnastics training whether through virtual learning or live classes in their three studios across Nairobi. All of this was culminated with a first-time back-on-stage virtual recital held in June of 2021 and sold out performances of the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker this past December.
From DCK’s inception, there has been a commitment to reaching into the Kenyan community and finding talented students, irrespective of their ability to pay for training. DCK’s sponsorship program, in conjunction with American charity Artists for Africa, has already affected the lives of many future dancers from disadvantaged backgrounds. DCK is honoured to have both generous local and international sponsors for these talented dancers and for the past five years, a number of their students have travelled to the U.S. to train in South Carolina while others have been accepted in summer intensives in Europe. Some of DCK’s sponsored students are now in full time dance training programs abroad and others are in colleges and universities using the skills gained from their dance training to pursue their own dreams. Most recently, Joel Kioko, one of DCK’s first sponsorship students, has been given a contract to dance with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago for their 2021-2022 season. With a training program based on the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Syllabus and annual examinations, as well as multiple performance opportunities, DCK provides aspiring dancers with so much more than just technical training.
Feature of the month Fireside Collective
Established in 2014 by a group of four namely; Octav, Dan, Mutuchi and Gilbert, with an overall membership of ten Fireside players specialized in plays with a comic and a minimalist approach to stage set, mainly focusing on acting and direction to serve the stories told through the script.
Over time the team has incorporated elements of dance and poetry into the plays, leading to the birth of shows such as P.O.D Africa that focused on Poetry and Spoken Word with The Expressions Dance being an exclusively contemporary dance show.
The company has since kept the fire burning with its mega production being Lion King: Blood and Grass in December of 2018 which was staged with the then very young producer and actor, recently in the fold Captain Sparrow (also coined Mkhwasi) by the group. The story focused on a loose adaptation of the savanna with a twisted ending.
Currently plays produced by the group has morphed into a more thought provoking space that involve blending usual aspects of life and putting a twist on it to make the audience think. Further, the membership has increased to eighty thus introduction of film and photography hence rebranding to Fireside Collective.
At the moment Fireside Collective is involved in various productions including; JESUS AND THE BRIDES OF JUDAS, a stage play shedding light on the dark side of the bible; FRIDAY MASS, a spoken word and Rap show; SWITCH, a film in conjunction with Felthur brands and other creative including a 1922 a vintage fashion time capsule expose.
Feature of the month Millaz Production
Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place. Established in the year 2018 Millaz Productions Kenya was set to answer the question asked at the Kenya National Drama and Film festival to “What next after the festival?”
many talents went to waste since a majority of students never got an opportunity to exploit their talents after clearing high school and tertiary education.
Millaz Productions Kenya (MPK) was created to tap, nurture and develop talented youth fresh off the Kenya National Drama Festivals. It has been designed to help the young men and women further develop their talents into a career and a way of life.
Formed by Xavier Jerry Nato , Millaz Production has strived to dominate, clean up and revolutionize the theatre, film and TV industries by producing content tailor made to create a conversation, educate and enlighten all encompassed in entertainment
So far MPK has successfully staged nine plays which have so far been staged successfully
with up to 6 plays in the pipeline for 2022. The most present being “TAKA TAKA” A
comedy play by Howard Lumumba set to be staged on 4th, 5th and 6th of March at the
Kenya National Theatre [Ukumbi Mdogo].
Millaz has so far, made its presence felt by putting out not only entertainment plays but
also evocative, attracting impressive numbers of theatre lovers into the auditorium
which has led us to winning numerous awards in the Sanaa Theatre Awards and the
inaugural, glamor fest of the Kenya Theatre Awards; from which MPK won in 5 of the 6
nominated categories : Best Male Actor in a Supporting role(Mike Ndeda), Best
Breakthrough Artist Male(Ted Munene), Best Set Design(Brian Irungu), Best
Playwright(Xavier Nato) and The Best Producer also the CEO, Claire Wahome.