Qudus Onikeku was born in Lagos in 1984 and grew up there. In 2003 he met Heddy Maalem, who invited him to join his company in Toulouse. He graduated from the Centre National des Arts du Cirque in Châlons-en-Champagne in 2009 and set up his own company, YK Projects, in Paris in the same year. His first creations My Exile is in my head (Le CENTQUATRE - 2010), Still/Life (Sujet a vif - 2011) and Qaddish (Festival d'Avignon - 2013) took him to prestigious international festivals including the Venice Biennale, the Kalamata Dance Festival and Roma Europa. In 2014 he returned to Lagos where he opened The QDance Center, a resources, training and talent-spotting organisation that is the only one of its kind in Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2019 he created four shows, launched a dance lab and organised multi-disciplinary events.
Over the years he has developed an overarching artistic project into which he has respectfully woven all aspects of Yoruba culture. With his company, he continues his creative work via a range of shows, from solos to group pieces, always in close collaboration with visual artists, architects, musicians and/or writers. In 2017, he created a video installation titled Right Here, Right Now for the first Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He premiered Yuropa in Germany in 2018, Spirit Child at MC93 (Paris region) in 2019, and created his latest collective multi-disciplinary piece Re:INCARNATION for the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon, which premiered at the Centre George Pompidou in January 2021. Qudus Onikeku is also a regular guest professor at Columbia College Chicago and University of California Davis. He is currently associate artist-in-residence and research professor at the University of Florida’s Arts, Migrations and Entrepreneurship faculty.