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CHOREOGRAPHER/PERFORMER/TEACHER

Wanjiru Kamuyu is a native of Kenya and an M.F.A. (dance choreography and performance) graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She began her dance training in Kenya, East Africa and later studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival and Philadanco. As a performer, Kamuyu has toured nationally and internationally with world-renowned choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women). She has also 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.). For the past three years, as an original cast member, Kamuyu performed in Julie Taymor’s Broadway musical, The Lion King at Théâtre Mogador, Paris. Immediately followed by a successful run of Bill T. Jones’ FELA! at the Royal National Theater where as an original cast member Kamuyu served in the roles of Staff Choreographer, Dance Captain and Universal Swing. Continuing on with the production of FELA!, Kamuyu is on its first European and US National Tours serving as Dance Captain and Swing. Alongside Kamuyu has worked in TV/Film in 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 video clip (Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, France).

As choreographer, Kamuyu recently founded a choreographic project based multi-media dance company, WKcollective. In 2006, New World Theater Director Andrea Assaf offered Kamuyu her first choreographic and community engagement commission, an economic development community project for Somali and Bantu Somali refugee women who had recently settled in Amherst, MA. Alongside local artists, Robbie McCauley and Terry Jenoure, Kamuyu worked in collaboration with the women in the developmental stages of a community engagement performance, which included dance, song and storytelling. Today the project continues to help the women develop hands on skills and education to attain and retain a solid economic infrastructure. In the same year, Kamuyu was commissioned to serve on the choreographic team for the hit musical À la recherche de Joséphine directed by famous French director, Jérôme Savary premiering at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique, Paris. Alongside choreographing two numbers for the show, Kamuyu also performed as a principle dancer and ensemble singer. Following in 2007, Kamuyu choreographed for French West African director Hassan Kassi Kouyate in the theater piece Maitre Harold written by Athol Fugurd. The work premiered at the Lavoir Moderne Parisiene, Paris, France. Additionally Kamuyu's solo work Cleansing Spirits (1999) was presented at Painted Bride Philadelphia, PA. Solo/Trio work Spiral (2004) received a NY Times review (April 25, 2005) by Jennifer Dunning: "Wanjiru Kamuyu's "spiral" opened the evening with a powerful and thought provoking trio of strong women...". The work was successfully presented at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, Cool Wave Dance Festival, and d.u.m.b.o Dance Festival, Brooklyn, NY, Aaron Davis Hall E-Moves, dancenOw/NYC at Dance Theater Workshop, Joyce SoHo and Re-imagine Kenya gallery showing, New York, NY. The work continues to be performed. In the summer of 2009, Spiral (solo version) debuted in Europe at the Espace Beaujon, Paris. May 2009 the company, WKcollective., premiered Kamuyu’s most recent work, when paradise shatters at it’s seams, then what? at Théâtre Mogador, Paris (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npozwkVOru0).

As a teacher, Kamuyu has participated in community engagement projects across the United States and Urban Bush Women Summer Institutes teaching contemporary modern dance master classes, facilitating civic dialogue and deliberation workshops and assisting in the creation of community-based performances for and with a diverse population ranging from professional dancers to grassroots community organizers/members. Additionally, 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 at U.S. based universities such as Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth College and Ohio University. In Africa, Kamuyu has had the great opportunity to return to her home city Nairobi, Kenya in a teaching residency offering contemporary modern dance master classes to a local modern dance company, Compagnie Gaara at the Ford Foundation funded, GODOWN Arts Center. Alongside, teaching creative movement workshops to HIV/AIDS orphans, ages 6-14, at Nyumbani Center.



© WKcollective