We are enormously proud to be presenting the North American premiere of Spirit Child, choreographed and performed by Qudus Onikeku and his extraordinary team of musicians and designers. The support of the FACE Foundation has made this presentation possible, and we are grateful for their commitment to international artistic exchange and dialogue.

I first encountered Qudus in the fall of 2018 as former Columbia College School of Fine and Performing Arts Dean Onye Ozuzu arranged for him to be Practitioner-in-Residence in the Department of Dance, which celebrates West African dance. We attended a new faculty orientation together, and even in that first meeting, I was struck by Qudus’ astonishing ability to vision both deeply and expansively, and that he was capacity to plunge into deep waters of thought very quickly. In every conversation since then, I have come away marveling at Qudus’ visions and fascinating way of looking at the world. I encourage you to enter the atmosphere of Spirit Child as if you were going on a non-linear journey, just letting the environment and your mind take you in whatever direction arises.

As some political forces attempt to make this kind of international collaboration more difficult, we celebrate these artists from Nigeria and Brazil. Qudus has shared that he is keenly interested in having substantial conversations about the work with the audiences, so we are hosting a post-performance talk each night and hope that you will stay for the discussion if you are able.

                                                                                                –Ellen Chenoweth

Qudus Onikeku’s Spirit Child was to be presented at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago on March 13-14, 2020. The programs had already been printed when the performance was postponed due to the coronavirus.

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