By Ogova Ondego
Published June 8, 2016
We live in an age of Artificial Intelligenceâ€”digital games, self-piloting planes, self-driving cars and dancing robotsâ€”such that it is difficult to tell whether Raiderz 3D Crew dancers are humans or machines in virtual reality.
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Joy radiates from the shiny faces of the performers whose every pore oozes with enthusiasm. The skins of the three dancers–Claus Osanya, Chris Mchanji and KevinLihanda–glisten with sweat. The audience gathered at Moonlight Academy in Ngâ€™ando Village, Dagoretti sub-County in the Kenyan capitalâ€”Nairobiâ€”sit still; eyes not leaving the almost attention-arresting moves on the floor.
At the end of the attention-gripping, energy-filled show, the Master of Ceremonies asks the dancers whether they are human and if so, what do they eat to make them dance like computerised digital games or robots in a well choreographed show?
Courtesy of Elsa Oguya of Elsteel International PR, I am among the journalists, critics and talent scouts and managers invited here to participate in a day-long artistic activities presented by budding talent in Nairobi.
Cautiously, I approach the three digital dancers. And discover, to my delight, that they are not robots but ordinary young people who dance for a living. What’s more; they are from an informal settlement.
Hey, I don’t feel like telling a story I am not part of. So I shall ask Claus Osanya, the leader of the group, to carry on.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Claus Osanya. Flex is my artistic name.
How and when did your group come into being?
Raiderz 3D Crew came into being on August 10, 2012. Its purpose was to nurture dance talent among the youth.
Where, in Nairobi, is the group based?
We are based in the ghetto of Kawangware and consists of six committed dancers. Eight other members are still learners.
Who are the learners in your group?
We recently decided to focus on female dancers to try and change people’s perception about the crew being an all-male affair. Many of them are still in secondary school.
What type of dances do you specialise in?
We specialise in dance hall, contemporary dance and hip-hop.
Who arranges the dance moves–choreography–for Raiderz 3D Crew?
I choreograph contemporary dance; we share ideas for dance hall and hip-hop,
Where do you perform?
We dance at weddings, road shows, corporate events, school tours and at live concerts.
Any plans, dreams or wishes for the group?
My aim as the leader of Raiderz 3D Crew is to open a dance academy in the future with the aim of teaching, motivating, and creating platforms for dancers out there to ensure up-and-coming dancers don’t have to struggle like we did.
How can you be contacted?
Through my cell number 254 792513277; our Raiderz 3D Crew group on Facebook or by visiting Dagoretti Social Hall next to Riruta Stadium; this is where we train.