In Lagos, one of the biggest and liveliest metropolis of the world, the Nigerian Choreographer Qudus Onikeku and Sebastian Matthias from Germany meet each other in the frame of The Choreonauts. For their double bill Yuropa, they let their aesthetic practices collide with each other, visit each other’s home towns and confront their artistic interests.

Yuropa is a word made up out of a combination of „Yoruba“, a population group, language and culture of Nigeria, and „Europe“. It refers to the choreographers’ shared choreographic interests: traveling and undercuts, transfers and transitions, as well as the context of the piece’s creation.

Qudus Oniekeku locates Yuropa between magical realism, an odyssey and its violent disruption. What is a journey in times of humanitarian and existential crises? Four bodies reclaim the future and fill the space with the unspoken, the fallen generation pointing their fingers to the disaster of humanity happening every day.

Based on Oniekeku’s approach and in collaboration with the dancers of QDanceCenter Lagos, Sebastian Matthias explores in an open stage setting with the audience how social situations organise themselves. How do they physically inscribe? How much impact does an unknown environment have on the individual involvement, and how can it be influenced? Do we let interactions happen or do they confront us as a loss of control? Using choreographic means, he investigates possibilities of transforming performative situations by acts of overdrawing, resistance or fantasy. Yuropa negotiates a vision for living together out of elements of cultural narratives and songs, rituals and masquerades. A transcultural groove emerges from these interweavings between dancers and audiences, because at least in theater we can decided that things don’t stay the way they begin!

Concept / Choreography

Sebastian Matthias / Qudus Oniekeku

Dance / Co-Choreography

Deborah Aiyegbeni, Chibueze Hermes Iyele, Busayo Olowu

Music / Performance

Olatunde Obajeun

Rehearsal Assistant

Rachell Bo Clark


steptext dance project


Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, Tanz! Heilbronn, Theater Bremen

The Choreonauts

Yuropa part of the project "The Choreonauts - Afro-European Navigations in Dance", presented in the frame of Africtions Festival. "The Choreonauts – Afro-European Navigations in Dance" is funded by Fonds TURN der Kulturstiftung des Bundes.


Marianne Menke