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jared ONYANGO.

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Jared ONYANGO is an artist based in Nairobi, Kenya interested in choreography, writing, objects, sound, and environmental topics.  He trained in dance at P.A.R.T.S (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in Brussels, Belgium, and at Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal between 2010 and 2019.


Jared is a Prince Claus Mentorship Award 2022 recipient; and a Pina Bausch Foundation 2016 fellow for dance and choreography where he worked with Italian choreographer Francesco Scavetta of WEE Dance Company based in Sweden and Norway.


Jared's latest projects explore movements in public spaces and how built spaces affect the movements and behaviors of people in them. Recently, he has been working on the project, Orodha Oracle which investigates the world of plastic and river pollution based on inspirations from the Dandora dumpsite and the polluted Nairobi rivers.

jared is one of the founding members of Tempo Arts Centre; a rehabilitated quarry that exists as a liminal site between the Nairobi River and the Dandora dumping ground functioning as a green space for the local communities.

Orodha Oracle

At the heart of it is the same paradox as lies at the heart of humanity; we don’t know anything. We can only act from our unknowing with faith and determination in telling the story of the waste-land.


The Dandora dumpsite happened and a crisis began. How and why would we make art in that kind of world? How would the body move in such contexts?  What would it mean to move, when that body is already in crisis - plagued, diseased, and traumatized?

In Swahili, orodha translates to modes of categorising, classifying, or listing things. In the context of the dumpsite, orodha are objects, items, remains, that have been picked from the dumpsite, washed, repaired, and then reintroduced into the commodity cycle at cheaper prices for slum residents. They are the leftovers in a world defined by consumption, where everything is fit for commodification. Orodha objects are the scar we are leaving on the Earth’s surface, a mark that runs so deep it will outlast the human race.


  Dancers:  Gilbert Kadenge Baya, Kennedy Kinusia Wafula, Maurice Mutuko Wasila,

Vincent Odhiambo & Maulid Owino


Choreographer -  jared ONYANGO 


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Jua Kali Pedestrian is an on going project which looks into how pedestrian activities leave traces on public spaces - pedestrians being persons with direct or indirect contacts with the public spaces, people whose activities are regarded here as artistic practices worth exploring, deconstructing and reconstructing. They include but not limited to - city preachers, city dwellers, commuters, hawkers and joggers to mention a few. Central themes which Jua Kali Pedestrian project deals with include mobility, history, human traces and landscape appropriation. The project is being carried out in multiple cities to search for experiences unique to every city and country with regard to urban spaces, architectural design and how these contribute to urban culture. Jua Kali tries to capture, reflect and build on the multiple sensorial registers of places / cities — smell, touch, taste, sound, texture and ephemerality - also as a way of critically engaging with the intersections of time and substance through which these cities contingently emerge and become. 



The interdisciplinary dance project "JUA KALI" draws its inspiration from pedestrian walk in public spaces and the understanding of walking in contemporary dance. It uses the act of daily walking of both the citizens of Nairobi as a case in point and puts its focus on their individual perception of the city. Central themes in this project are: mobility, the impact of history on human behaviour, people’s appropriation of a cityscape. The city of Nairobi with its particular histories and cultures is ideal place to achieve rich experiences by comparing and contrasting its citizens' movements and perception in public space. I am interested in how the act of walking is articulated, how the city- its political circumstances influence this typical human activity, and which possibilities exist to transpose a pedestrian's experience - including those to avoid the walking altogether into an artistic space. The project feeds from a variety of aspects which all contribute to the artistic process in equal amounts: cultures and languages, personal stories, historical facts. But Jua Kali is also a Kenyan method of creative practice of innovation and repair of broken things in the daily living which serve as a guideline for the project's aesthetics and realisation methods.






Jared has been researching and working on themes related to pedestrian walk, everyday movement in urban spaces, traces pedestrians leave on space and effects of historical actions on these spaces. 

Here are the respective links: | and

















Jared lives in Nairobi, where - every early morning - he sees groups of people criss-cross the city, making long journeys to their work places. And in the dim lights of the Nairobi streets at sunset, the exact reverse happens.
 The majority of Nairobi residents walks on foot daily. They are generally labelled the „Walking Nation”.

Historically, Nairobi’s urban planning is a colonial design which was to create a distinct separation between the colonies and the natives. Workers enduring long itineraries to their work places today are a direct consequence of this hierarchical plan.
 The industrial area which used to be colonial economic property is located at a great distance to its workers’ quarters. It takes at least four hours to and fro on foot which is a huge cost on production time. Hence the metaphor „Walking Nation”, meaning long hours walking and less productive working. These colonial urban designs induce a whole series of effects in the public sphere; they crystallise into institutions, they inform individual behaviours, they act as grids for the perception and evaluation of our everyday life. To take an example: in Nairobi, it is just not practical to sit on benches within the Central Business District (CBD) and rest or read in public parks as a social practice like it is so common in other cities. There is simply no time for it, as the time is taken up by walking.


                                                                        THE ACT OF WALKING

There are layers of meanings to walking. In a situation of the city, groups of bodies constantly pass through, push and bump into each other while bringing with them their memories and histories, each constituting a particular bodily remainder; a trace, a footprint or a mark.
 This bodily remainder, trace or footprint is an excess that is experienced alongside every actual production of meaning in an instant of walking. And bringing this knowledge to the notion of pedestrian walk makes pedestrian walk not only a simple activity of appropriating the city landscape, but a complex multiplicity that constantly moulds and remoulds the city-fabric and the very bodies of its occupants.

Nomadic Pieces




The inspirations for movements for 700 Steps More came from photos jared took of  himself doing a movement phrase. In making the dance, he mimics the postures and join the postures to form movement sequences which can be presented into a performance. Depending on the arrangements and with little adjustments, he made variations and threads of movements which he then spread on a spiral path pattern. 



                                               The pictures of positions from the movement phrases



The dance is therefore composed from body movements and space, the movements traverse each other thus creating paths on the space. These paths ran from extreme opposites end of the floor, crossing through the centre then back to starting point while always maintaining the same circuit. The movements are looped, repeated over and over till they spill all-over the floor in spiral geometric patterns. 


Experimenting with steps

at Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.


Imagine yourself standing at the centre of a square, trying to reach all four corner from the middle with the whole body, extending extremities: your feet, knees, hip, legs etc. One of the questions in this research being, how do you start? Do you start from a plié or by elevating yourself? Where and how does the body weight shifts? Do you initiates movement from the hands and allow the body to follow? How else would the movement be affected in the sense that what is significant is also the purity in movement. Movement that is true and sincere though purity of movement in the context of a contemporary African dancer is also as problematic - Africa's colonial legacy and hybridity all taken into consideration .


Exploring the relationship between the feet and the floor, knees and ankles and how they relate to the pelvis, hands, elbows, shoulders and torso - how body movement articulate itself in this complex relationships between upper body and lower body. In this enquiry, use patterns of dialogues to merge stepping with different movement phrases. Imagining movement as a form of speech: if the mouth is the leg and that we speak with the leg, which modes of exchange inspired by such conversation illustrates what the movements can mean? And do we respond to it by either repeating it or questioning it? 


Imagining a step as a print, a mark we leave on a surface - a trace we make on a surface. 

Printing and stepping, printing a surface without stepping – movement of the body initiated from the leg or elsewhere then followed by  body weight or better the body takes you to the movement.


                                      Body in A Box



Body In A Box is a multi-media performance juxtaposing different scenes in one space as a world in a potential state for apocalypse. The performance happens in body movements, a song, video installations, prose and poems. The title expresses a metaphor supposing  that a body is in a box and by asserting that the body is in a box, a comparison between body and a box is drawn conveying an understanding about the mechanics of the box and those of the behaviours of the body within it or those that resembles being in a box. Thus the statement has two parts; a subject (a body) to which attributes are ascribed and the object (the box) whose attributes are borrowed. The performance is presented in distinct parallel compartment scenes running simultaneously on projection, installations and body movements improvise and diffused across the space. The different media materials exist as mini-performances in one common space.

Goethe Nairobi in March 2018.

Concept and performed by Jared ONYANGO.


                                                The Monitor

Performed at CDC L’Termitier, Ouaga dou gou, Burkina Faso. 

Choreography: jared ONYANGO 

performed by Fatou Samb, Marie-Bede Koubemba, Romuel Kabore, Nadege Ametogbe.

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