Opiyo Okach

Opiyo Okach

Opiyo Okach (b. 1962 Kenya) Opiyo Okach is a superb dancer and innovative choreographer, who draws on the traditions of East African peoples and transforms them into unique and complex interpretations of the modern condition. Renowned for his improvisation, timing, subtlety of movement and elegance, Okach demonstrates that dance is a poetry of everyday life. In 1996, he formed Company Gaara, the first contemporary dance company in Kenya, and is director of the Gaara Dance Foundation in Nairobi which trains and mentors young dancers. Through master classes, workshops, creative productions and tours to 20 countries in Africa, he is a catalyst for a new depth of intellectual reflection and analysis within the emerging dance community, encouraging an open perspective, new vocabularies and professional standards. Recent work has seen the introduction of video and sound elements in the choreography. Fostering audience development, he introduces new dance forms at village level, while maintaining his reputation on the international circuit, dividing his time between Kenya and France. This Award honours Opiyo Okach and recognises his significant contribution in making contemporary dance an important part of East Africa’s modern artistic and cultural identity.