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Coach Edu: The man with the moves


Coach EduHe has perfected his art so well it has catapulted him to heights he never imagined. EDWIN OORO aka Coach Edu of Tusker Project Fame (TPF), is now a professional choreographer behind the Sarakasi Dance Troupe.

You have established yourself as a professional choreographer. What inspired you to get into choreography?

Michael Jackson. Back in those days, no one else was doing serious dancing. TV was all Michael. There were no CDs nor MP3 players so I looked for money and I bought a cassette and tried to copy the moves I had seen on the music videos on TV.

We also used to hold dance competitions with other boys at Highridge Primary School. I always emerged the best dancer and for this, every boy wanted to associate with me. Later on I took the moves to Hospital Hill secondary school.

My elder brother was also good with dance moves. He was a master of break dance that was the in thing back then. By the way mum also knew how much I loved to dance and would call me to come and watch programmes such as URTNA that featured the legendary Kanda Bongoman.

How did you nurture the talent professionally?

Not many people thought highly of dancing back then. In fact, it was a career that was frowned upon. Fortunately, a few establishments had dance troupes. Among them was Safari Park Hotel. One day, my friend Joseph and I walked up to the hotel and asked if we could join their dance group popularly known as Safari Cats. The management told us that they were not hiring at the moment. Undeterred, we requested for a chance to audition to showcase our talent so that in case they decided to hire in the future, they would consider us.

Reluctantly, one of the officials agreed to our offer. We were given a repertoire of tough moves with the hope that we would falter. To everybody’s amazement, we did all the moves listed. We were taken on board immediately. That was in 1996. For the next five years, I became part and parcel of the hotel team, more like their ambassador.  I even became the checking boy since I would report early. I was later charged with supervising all other dancers including senior ones due to my discipline and prowess.

I also enrolled at the Fontys Academy in the Netherlands, a school that teaches in all genres of music.

Did you perform in other locations apart from Safari Park?

Of course! Actually, while I was still in high school, I used to sneak out of the house through the window to go and dance at Club Boomerang near the International Casino at Museum Hill.

My parents never came to know of this. Well, I guess they know now. I also used to travel to the coast and perform in hotels in Ukunda, Mombasa town and Nyali. That exposure is all I needed.

What was the highlight of your career?

My first big performance at Walker Hill Casino in South Korea. It is one of the biggest VIP casinos in the world. It was a difficult show, but I love challenges. This was the first time dance had taken me out of the country. It was also the day I realised how serious things could really be.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on stage and how did you handle it?

There is a time we were doing a live TV product launch and the CD didn’t play. The cameras kept rolling and we stood for ten minutes not knowing what to do. It felt like it went on forever.

Eventually, the DJ just played a song and we danced to it. It was difficult since the routine was choreographed to a specific song, but we handled it by dancing to the count in our heads. We were off beat but still did our thing. It was quite embarrassing.

Tell us of your experience at Tusker Project Fame(TPF).

First, TPF should have been here 15 or more years ago. Just look at how it has changed the regional music scene in the few years it has been in existence. It has nurtured talent that may never have been discovered. It has opened a whole new world to the contestants. They have upgraded their brand whether they win the contest or not. I think TPF has shown us how much there is to do in this sector by demystifying music.

What charities do you work with?

Well, Sarakasi Dance Troupe works with a number of charities. We train dancers from a number of under privileged communities like Mathare and Korogocho in Nairobi. We train approximately 2,000 underprivileged kids on various dance moves.

The truly talented ones get picked up and end up dancing with Sarakasi. We also have a hospital project where ten to 15 dancers go to play, perform puppet shows and dance with the kids.

Seeing the joy in these children relieves the stress for everyone. We also have a prison programme to give back.

Words of wisdom to the contestants who are stepping into the Academy?

Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate. This process is intense. But learn to relax, be yourself and gain as much as you can from the coaches. Do what you are supposed to do and let the rest fall into place.

What is the future of music in Kenya?

As I mentioned, the industry has much room for growth. Gone are the days when engaging in music was viewed as a waste of time.

Many young people have seen that one can make a successful career out of music just like they do in sports or information and technology. We want to be there for this generation.


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