Wanjiru Kamuyu, founding Artistic Director, has performed and choreographed dance for over a decade on and for stage and TV. She began training in her homeland of Kenya and continued studying at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival, and Philadanco. She holds an Masters of Fine Arts in dance choreography and performance from Temple University.
As a performer, Kamuyu has toured nationally and internationally with world-renowned choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women). She has worked with esteemed choreographers Molissa Fenley (Molissa Fenley and Dancers), Sean Curran, Marlies Yearby (Movin’s Spirits Dance Theater/Broadway musical RENT), Nathan Trice (RITUALS), Tania Isaac (Tania Isaac Dance Projects) and Dean Moss (Gametophyte Inc.). As an original cast member of The Lion King at Theatre Mogador, Paris, Kamuyu performed in Julie Taymor’s production for three years. She performed as an original cast member and served as Resident Choreographer, Dance Captain, and Swing for the successful run of Bill T. Jones’ Tony Award winning Broadway musical FELA! at the Royal National Theater, London and continued on as Dance Captain and Swing in the show’s first European and US National Tours.
Beyond Broadway and International tours, Kamuyu has worked with TV/Film talents such as Director Christian Faure’s and Choreographer Marie Dô’s Fais Danser la Poussière (TVFrance 2) and Director Jean Paule Goude’s Homage à Grace Jones (Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, France).
Kamuyu’s solo work, Cleansing Spirits(1999), was presented at Painted Bride Philadelphia. Her Solo/Trio work, Spiral (2005), received a glowing New York Times review. Spiral was successfully presented at Temple University, Cool Wave Dance Festival, and d.u.m.b.o Dance Festival, Aaron Davis Hall E-Moves, dancenOw/NYC at Dance Theater Workshop, Joyce SoHo, Re-imagine Kenya gallery (NYC) and debuted in Europe at the Espace Beaujon, Paris.
On the world stage, Kamuyu was commissioned to serve on the choreographic team for the hit musical À la recherché de Joséphine by renown French Director, Jérôme Savary premiering at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique, Paris. Alongside receiving a glowing review by Le Figaro for her choreography, she also featured as a principle dancer and ensemble singer. Kamuyu choreographed for French West African director Hassan Kassi Kouyate in the theater piece Maitre Harold written by Athol Fugard, premiering at the Lavoir Moderne Parisienne, Paris.
As a Dance Teaching Artist at New York City’s Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), she engaged students, kindergarten through high school, and trained schoolteachers and college professors in the LCI’s aesthetic education pedagogy. Kamuyu also engages in Guest Artist Residencies/Master Class Series at U.S. based universities such as Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth College, Stanford University and Mills College amongst others.
Kamuyu has facilitated civic dialogue in community engagement projects across the United States. Through Kamuyu’s work with Urban Bush Women, across the United States she has been engaged in community engagement projects. She facilitated civic dialogue and deliberation workshops and assisted in the creation of numerous community-based performances. In Nairobi, Kenya, Kamuyu taught contemporary modern dance master classes to a local modern dance company, Compagnie Gaara and creative movement workshops to HIV/AIDS orphans, ages 6-14, at Nyumbani Center. New World Theater former Director Andrea Assaf gave Kamuyu a community engagement commission, an economic development community project for Somali resettled refugee women. Alongside local Massachusetts artists, Robbie McCauley and Terry Jenoure, Kamuyu worked with the women developing community engagement performances utilizing dance, song, and storytelling. The project continues to develop hands-on skills and to educate these women on how to maintain a solid economic infrastructure. The passion for choreography as a storytelling tool eventually led to the founding of WKcollective in 2009.
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