Junaid Jemal Sendi, The dance of life

Junaid Jemal Sendi

The dance of life

November 2007 - Junaid Jemal Sendi, 2004-2005 Dance Protégé

Rushing from workshop to workshop and from class to performance, Junaid Jemal Sendi has hardly a second to spare. This young, Ethiopian dancer and choreographer lacks neither ideas nor energy.

In France, in October, he performed a 30-minute solo in Mondes, Monde, created specifically for him by French choreographer Franck Micheletti. Audiences had the opportunity to see this work at the Festival d’Avignon in July 2006, then in Monaco and Caen (France) in December.

In May, he took part in a contemporary dance workshop for disabled dancers given by an Israeli choreographer. Like his mentor, Saburo Teshigawara, he often works with disabled children. Then he was off to Senegal, spending two weeks at Germaine Acogny’s École des sables with participating choreographers from across Africa. He also gave dance classes in several towns in Ethiopia.

During summer, he returned to Bradford, England, to take part in workshops for street children, as he had done the previous year at the invitation of Royston Maldoom. Junaid never forgets that his own dance career began with a five-year apprenticeship at the Adugna Community Dance Theatre Company, thanks to a workshop organised by Maldoom in Addis Ababa. To this day, Adugna – which means “fortune” or “fate” in Amharic, one of Ethiopia’s official languages – is the only contemporary dance company in the country. “Dance needs to grow much more in my country,” says Junaid. “I have a big responsibility to help accomplish that.”

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