FLASH: New Choreography Explores Living and Loving Through Painful Memories

UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence Qudus Onikeku presents his latest dance production.

UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance presents FLASH: A New Choreography, a multidisciplinary attempt to present painful memories. The performance is the latest work of Qudus Onikeku, UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence and preeminent performance artist, known for his Yoruba culture-based choreography that fuses hip-hop, capoeira and Nigerian masquerade tradition. The show opens Thursday, March 7 and runs through March 17 in Main Theatre, Wright Hall at UC Davis. On opening night, there will be an audience question and answer session with Onikeku following the performance. 

FLASH was inspired by the violent energy Onikeku experienced growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, where he recalls survival of the fittest was the way of life. He applies this lust for power broadly to all societies, and sees the questions posed by this endless violence mirrored in the late 18th century paintings of Francisco Goya. Onikeku credits Goya’s dark and dramatic work, along with the Yoruban nonlinear conception of time, as the inspiration behind FLASH.

Like Goya’s paintings, FLASH delivers the headlines of today’s world through personal narrative, using movement, song and intricate landscape to present a darker side of human nature. Onikeku designed both the scenic elements and soundscape himself, seamlessly incorporating a minimalist set inspired by Goya and a haunting musical score including a capella songs.

Onikeku explains,  “I am both a black and African man in the world, attempting to reconcile my heritage, my memories and my existence, as we all must do. FLASH is an attempt to speak about painful memories-the light that lingers after it flickers.”

FLASH explores questions such as how can we live with love in our hearts when inhuman cruelties and murders are committed unceasingly? How do we love in spite of war? The performance examines these disturbing elements of the human condition and illuminates new perspectives.

For more information, visit: theatredance.ucdavis.edu

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