About Dance Centre Kenya

About Dance Centre Kenya

Founded in January 2015, Dance Centre Kenya (DCK) has grown to become Kenya’s pre-eminent dance school with over 700 students taking classes in the three DCK studios (Karen Hardy, Lavington and Rosslyn) and approximately 1,000 more taking DCK taught classes in 22 schools throughout Nairobi.

From small beginnings, established by a few families of talented dancers who wished to advance their children’s training, the Plumbe, Shaw/Dolan and Vadera families came together to establish a new dance school in Nairobi.  With very different backgrounds and professions, these families shared the same vision of providing a world class level of training to the children of Kenya.  Professional American ballerina Cooper Rust was brought on board as Artistic Director and so, Dance Centre Kenya was born.

Since then the number of students has grown and the range and styles of dance classes offered has expanded greatly. The breadth of support and involvement of artists and ballet lovers both locally and abroad has been humbling. The initial performance on a makeshift stage in the gardens of the Purdy Arms without tutus has now transformed to the spectacular ballets audiences have grown to expect on the stage of the Kenya National Theatre. The Nutcracker at Christmas time has become an annual tradition on the Nairobi social calendar and now includes collaboration with the Nairobi Philharmonic Orchestra and visiting international conductors and guest musicians. The magnificent stage sets and costumes delight time and again with a repertory that includes Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and now Romeo and Juliet with returning DCK students who have been training abroad.

Throughout the pandemic, DCK has continued to provide its students with world-class dance and gymnastics training whether through virtual learning or live class in our three studios across Nairobi.  All of this was culminated with a first-time back-on-stage virtual recital held in June of 2021.

From DCK’s inception there has been a commitment to reaching into the Kenyan community and finding talented students, irrespective of their ability to pay for training.  DCK’s sponsorship program, in conjunction with American charity Artists for Africa, has already affected the lives of many future dancers from disadvantaged backgrounds.  We are honored to have both generous local and international sponsors for these talented dancers and for the past five years a number of our students have travelled to the U.S. to train in South Carolina while others have been accepted in summer intensives in Europe.  Some of DCK’s sponsored students are now in full time dance training programs abroad and others are in colleges and universities using the skills gained from their dance training to pursue their own dreams. Most recently Joel Kioko, one of DCK’s first sponsorship students, has been given a contract to dance with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago for their 2021-2022 season.  With a training program based on the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Syllabus and annual examinations, as well as multiple performance opportunities, DCK provides aspiring dancers with so much more than just technical training.

Executive and Artistic Director

Cooper Rust

Cooper hails from Columbia, USA and trained in classical ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and musical theatre for more than fifteen years beginning with Ann Brodie and finishing at schools including the School of American Ballet and the Harid Conservatory. While dancing professionally with three American ballet companies, she acquired a bachelors’ degree in Dance Performance and Choreography as well as European History from the University of Nevada. She achieved marks of distinction in her Post-Graduate Teaching Certification from the Royal Academy of Dance London and holds a pilates certification through DK Body Balance.

General Manager

Caroline Slot

Caroline obtained a Bachelor of Dance in Jazz- Musical Dance at the Amsterdam School of the Arts. During her training, she received classes in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, tap dance, singing, musical theatre and acting and worked with directors/choreographers WiesBloemen, Eddy Habbema and David Greaves. Caroline has been working for Dance Centre Kenya since January 2016.

Teacher Profiles

Dance Teachers

Maylene is from Zimbabwe. Trained in Ballet, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Edu-dance, Martha Graham technique and Zim-traditional dances at the National Ballet of Zimbabwe in a dance programme Dance Foundation Course (DFC). Maylene is a recipient of the National Merit Arts Awards (NAMA) for Outstanding Female Dancer as well as Dance Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) Tereza Carter Trophy of Most Excellent Dancer. Worked with Tumbuka Dance Company from 1999-2015 and has travelled regional and international in dance projects, workshops and festivals. Certified as a RAD Ballet teacher in 2018, Maylene has been working for Dance Centre Kenya (DCK) since 2019 as a Ballet and Contemporary teacher. Dance for Maylene is an Art that brings love, passion and hope to live in the present, so be in the moment.

Henry has been a ballet teacher since 2018 at Dance Centre Kenya. He also teaches other forms of dance like African dance, Afro and Contemporary. Currently he is studying to become a certified ballet teacher (CBTS). He has taken part in Dance Centre Kenya’s ballet shows like Swan Lake where he was the leading hunter, Alice in wonderland where he performed multiple roles like Arabian Nights and the cards, Midsummer night’s dream where he was one of the lead dancers in the role of Lisender, Romeo and Juliet where his role was one of the peasants, the Nutcracker where he performed multiple roles like the Nutcracker, Luisa Beu, Arabian Night and Party Father. He has taken part in choreographing multiple ballet pieces in Dance Centre’s end of year recitals.

Charles is a dancer, dance teacher whose love and passion for dance started back in 2011. He has trained in various dance forms; African traditional dance, Afro-fusion, Jazz /contemporary. He has performed around Kenya in National and private events. He discovered his love for ballet in 2020 and is currently at Dance Centre Kenya as a trainee teacher taking ballet classes.

Lawrence Ogina is a former Artist at Columbia Summer Repertory Company. He finished his RAD training through Advanced 2 Men at Dance Centre Kenya and continued his dance training at the University of South Carolina majoring in Dance Performance and Choreography with a concentration in classical ballet. He’s also trained in Hungarian Character Dance at Southeastern School of Ballet, Columbia. He’s attended summer programs at University of South Carolina and Cincinnati Ballet
Locally, he’s performed various roles such as Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince in Cinderella, Arabian Divertissement, Snow Pas de Deux (Nutcracker), Don Quixote Pas de Deux and Le Corsaire Pas de Deux at Dance Centre Kenya.
Internationally, he’s danced as a guest artist at Divinity Dance Company Utah (Handprints), University of South Carolina School of Music (Carousel), DM Arts Festival, Columbia Summer Repertory Company Inaugural Performance, Carolina Ballet (Nutcracker, Diana and Acteon and Paquita) and Franz in Coppelia at South Eastern School of Ballet.

Yvonne is a dance teacher from dance Centre Kenya since 2021.She teaches ballet, afro beats dances, dancehall and lingala. In march she did her intermediate foundation examination and is receiving her certificate from the Royal Academy Of Dance. She is also currently teaching classical ballet at a public school called Good Samaritan from an organization called Artist For Africa which is a non-governmental organization from the United States which helps underprivileged children from the village to have an opportunity to learn ballet. Before she joined Dance Centre Kenya she had been in a crew which she used to go for shows, competitions and trained people the dances before going on stage.

A dance teacher and student at Dance Centre Kenya. Loves dancing as a hobby and as a profession. Has taken part in different performances around Nairobi, Kenya and also taken part in the Dance Centre Kenya shows like The 2021 Nutcracker as a Party Father and the 2022 Cinderella show as Summer Cavalier. Loves working with computers and technology as a whole.
His life goal is to help every dancer whom he comes across and make him/her reach his/her full potential in dance and life.

Bolt D’ Dancer (Nathan Kiplangat) is the resident hip-hop teacher at Dance Centre Kenya. His style of dance is street. This is how you can best describe it. A blend of modern/urban hip-hop fused with aspects of Dancehall and afro beat, also recently, fusions with contemporary, and a touch of his own unique style.

Stacey Achieng’ is a dancer, dance teacher and a choreographer based in Nairobi, Kenya. Nairobi Ensemble Folk Dance Group was her first home as she began her dance journey. She later joined a Tap dance workshop by Stefanie Weber and They dance for rain which was held at the Go-down Art Centre in 2015. Stacey has learnt Contemporary and Afro-pop through a series of workshops and classes held in Nairobi. Adam Chienjo, a renowned dancer and choreographer in Kenya, played a big role in her dance journey.
She is the chairperson of a Tap dance group in Nairobi called TapaTapa, whose main goal is to empower the community. TapaTapa has organized a Tap Dance Teaching tour around Nairobi, working with vulnerable children in the informal settlements. Stacey is the Co-founder of Kuza Kipaji, a community-based organization empowering children and youth through music, dance, and visual arts. Ms. Stacey likes to teach, mentor and encourage children and youths from all walks of life. She was part of the Nyanga Runaway Grandmother Opera. The Opera was held at the Kenya National Theatre with over fifty cast members from all over the World. Stacey is currently working at the Dance Centre Kenya as a consultant teacher, giving lessons in Tap dance and Musical Theatre.

Antony is a dance teacher at Dance Centre Kenya since 2018. He teaches Ballet, Hip hop, African Dance and other modern dances at DCK and in Schools. In the previous years, he has performed in different ballet shows like, Alice In Wonderland, Swan lake, Nutcracker, A Mid summer Nights Dream, Romeo And Juliet and in 2019 he was given a big role of becoming the Nutcracker. He has also choreographed different performances like Mother Goose and many more. Antony has done ballet exams (Intermediate, Advance foundation and Advance 1) and received ballet certificates from the Royal Academy Of Dance. He is currently doing his online study CBTS (Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies) with the Royal Academy of Dance to be come A certified Royal Academy of Dance teacher

Gymnastics Teachers

A certified social circus teacher Cirque du soleil Africa project, level 2 power yoga Instructor, Qualified ECDE teacher, Experienced Gymnastics Teacher, T.V children’s productions/ activities, choreographed performances with Umoja Cultural Flying Carpets, Sarakasi Trust, Church and community, Tours and Performances as an artist in African countries, Europe and Asia. Teaches Gymnastics at Dance Centre Kenya (DCK), Loreto Schools, Montessori schools, the French school, Braeburn school, Pearl hearts. He has also worked with the International School of Kenya. Been at Dance Centre Kenya for 5years now.

A professional Acrobat/Gymnastics coach. Done acrobatics since childhood, toured China 2019-2020 for performance. Currently working with Dance Centre Kenya (DCK), teaching beginners, advanced, playgroup, levels 1,2,3,4 and 5 floor Gymnastics. My drive as an artist/Gymnastics coach is to share my art with the world and enhance joy, positivity, courage and confidence to my students.

A gymnastics coach and a trained Pre-School teacher by the A.I.C Training Center Nairobi. Started coaching gymnastics at Dance Centre Kenya in the year 2019 for levels 1, 2, 3 and 4. Has worked with institutions like Key International School as the head gymnastics coach for the school gymnastics club, International School of Kenya (ISK) for the summer camp, Braeburn School Thika gymnastics club, Loreto convent Msongari and Loreto Convent Valley Road gymnastics club as the main coach. During his free time, James loves to exercise, watch movies and play piano.

She Started acrobatics and gymnastics activities while still a child.
In 2004, she travelled to China- Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School to train in acrobatics, gymnastics and circus entertainer for which she obtained a certificate. She returned to Kenya to continue with her education but was still training at Sarakasi Dome. She later joined Mighty Jambo Trust to train gymnastics, acrobatics and circus.
In 2011, she travelled to Turkey as an acrobat and circus entertainer for 9months.In 2012, she travelled to Norway as an acrobat, circus entertainer and trained Gymnastics in a private group session for 2 months. She has performed acrobatics, circus, African and modern dance in Taiwan for 1 year.
She later returned to the country, and continued training and mentoring in acrobatics, gymnastics and circus in different children’s homes.
She has worked as a trainer in different schools under Vipawa Hub Africa, Gymnastics and Fitness Center, Kids Gymnastics Kenya, Cheza Gymnastics and Dance Centre Kenya.

Hilda is an artist. She started doing acrobatics, gymnastics and aerial acts in 2005 at Sarakasi Trust. She has been performing and teaching gymnastics/aerial acts since 2010. She started teaching adults fitness training in 2015 and also a trainer at Shakti Female Studios based in Kilimani. She is currently working at the Dance Centre as a kids’ gymnastics coach.

A professional gymnast, performing artist and an Acrobatic. Good management skills and good with children at all ages. Worked with Nafsi Africa Acrobat, a Community Based Organization that deals with teaching street children acrobatics. Currently working at Dance Centre Kenya teaching kids’ gymnastics. Performed in several countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

Dancun is an acrobat, dancer and gymnastics Coach for level 1,2 and 3 at Dance Centre Kenya. He has worked with International School of Kenya, Raha Kids and Pearl Hearts as a gymnastics teacher. He has Performed in both China and Africa. He is the founder of Plot Family Dance Group and he likes giving back to the community, playing with children and teaching them dance and gymnastics.

A certified gymnastics coach for levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Dance Centre Kenya and Cheza gymnastics. She is a passionate teacher and coach who loves training to get better each day. She takes adult ballet, contemporary dance and acro-contemporary at the Dance Centre Kenya, which has improved her coaching/teaching skills.

Vivian is a student, a dancer and a gymnastics coach. She started her professional career back in 2019 at the Dance Centre Kenya as a gymnast. In 2021, she participated in The Nutcracker’s role of a Party Mum. She takes Gymnastics, Ballet, Tap and Contemporary dance at Dance Centre Kenya. She teaches Zumba and Modern Dance in various private gyms, a level 1 and 2 kids’ gymnastics Coach in various schools including Loreto schools, Waldorf School, Montessori Hopes and dreams and Pearl Hearts Kindergarten under Cheza Gymnastics.

External Teachers

Allan and Adriana are accomplished Dance Instructors and Performers from Nairobi, Kenya. They live, breathe and love African and Latin Dance styles in all their wonderful variations. They feel honored and privileged to be able to share and showcase their knowledge and enjoyment of music and dance with audiences all over the world. Since 2010, Allan and Adriana have been dedicated to help pioneer African and Latin Dance styles in East Africa.

They currently teach several levels, ranging from beginners to advanced, and promote weekly classes and socials in Nairobi. Their unique talent combined with dedication, enthusiasm and tireless work ethic, not only makes them one of the best dancers in their field but also one of the best teachers. Allan and Adriana also run the Dance for Charity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that was established to advance charitable objectives in society through the medium of music and dance.

He has 20 years of experience in Security and Martial Arts in Kenya, Russia and Israel. He also has Counter Terrorism Instructor Experience and Self Defense and Security Consultant. He develops individual training programs suitable to each institution / subject. Furthermore he deals with Security personnel management including hiring, training, assigning work, evaluating performance, and Disciplining.

He went to Ametos Security Solutions Ltd & Academic College of Wingate in Israel and later on joined the “SHADOW” Israel Special Security Training, also did MADA Israel – CPR & First Aid course.

He has won 2nd Dan Black Belt “Shadow” Krav Maga International Instructor and 1st Dan Black Belt Shotokan Karate.

Ayelet Feinstein, 43, born in Israel and danced classic ballet RAD, modern dance, flamenco and Latin dance since she was 6 years old, Ayelet is a certified Zumba instructor since 2014.

Chris is originally from Los Angeles and grew up dancing in various studios as well as school dance teams. She has been trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. Chris attended the University of California, Berkeley where she was President of the student-run dance group, Danceworx, and taught a jazz class at the university

After graduating, she danced with Culture Shock in both Los Angeles and Chicago, a professional hip hop troupe dedicated to youth outreach. While in New York City, Chris performed with De Funes Dance, a contemporary dance group. She has trained at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, EDGE Performing Arts Center, and Alonzo King Lines Dance Center.

She has been living in Nairobi since 2012 and teaching contemporary and hip hop locally since 2013. While in Nairobi, she has danced in a local music video as well as partnered with local artist Tahir Karmali for a video art installation. You can find videos of her Nairobi classes and dance work on her YouTube channel.

All levels and ages are welcome to Chris’s classes!

Zileena: Originally from Singapore, Zileena moved to Nairobi in 2016 and quite instantly fell in love with Kenya! She has a background in international corporate marketing, having worked for large multinationals, traveling extensively across Australasia and the Middle East, but Kenya is definitely where she now calls home. Zileena discovered Barre after moving to Kenya and was trained as an Instructor by Amy Selbach, founder of Taut Body. She teaches Barre and TRX Sculpt Fusion at Taut Body in Village Market and is really excited to now bring Taut Body Barre to Lavington!

An avid fitness enthusiast, Zileena has experience in Barre, Yoga, Pilates and TRX, as well as other more general fitness disciplines. Most importantly, she has an overall interest in ensuring a balanced well-being and enjoying life.

Barre workouts show undeniable benefits to your tone, physique, flexibility and posture. Through her classes, Zileena focuses on all these benefits whilst ensuring a fun workout!

Having practiced Yoga since 1989, Christel started teaching in 1995 and completed her Training at the Yoga Vidya centre in Germany in 2001.

In her classes she draws on various aspects of different ‘styles’ of Yoga: Trained as a Hatha Yoga Teacher, she teaches Hatha flow and Kundalini Flow classes.

Brian Owango is Kenya’s pioneer capoeira instructor. He brought the art form to Kenya in 2005 and has taught hundreds of students around the country ever since. A student of Professor Tijolo from Capoeira Norte, Brian is a 4th generation capoeirista, a descendant of the Senzala Academy in Santos, Brazil which is headed by Mestre Sombra. His capoeira name of war id Azulåo which means a little blue bird. He was given this name by Mestres Valtinho and Eliseu in Santos because of how dark his complexion turned during those hot Brazilian summers. Later on, he found out much more about what the bird represents.

On speaking about capoeira he says: ‘Capoeira is a profound physical, musical and spiritual practice that helps you learn how to engage with the world but more importantly helps you learn how to deal with yourself’.

DCK Collaborations

Dance Centre Kenya regularly collaborates with local and international guest teachers, choreographers and performers.

If you are interested in such a collaboration, please click the button below to contact us. 

Dance Centre Kenya Committee

Bilu is a Kenyan Engineer, specialised in irrigation and alternative energy with a postgraduate degree from the UK. He owns and operates a number of companies in Kenya. Bettina is from Germany, residing in Kenya since 1993. She is a medical doctor with specialisation in Emergency & Tropical Medicine and holds a PHD in Nuclear Medicine from Germany. Both Bettina and Bilu have a strong interest in dance as two of their three children are passionate about dancing.

Tonya & Nigel Shaw are from Kenya. Nigel is third generation Kenyan; Tonya has lived here since she was 7 years old. They both schooled in Kenya and abroad and returned to Kenya once they had completed university. Nigel is a lawyer and Tonya a Clinical Psychologist. Their youngest daughter developed a passion for dance when she was 3 years and is considering pursuing dance as a career. Tonya and Nigel came together with a group of other parents to set up Dance Centre Kenya to provide a pre professional level of training for dancers in Kenya and to encourage and support youngsters wishing to pursue dance.

Christiane was born in Switzerland. At an early age she developed a strong interest in ballet and artistic gymnastics and trained in both disciplines. She later worked for a humanitarian organization and was sent to Rwanda in 1994. Even though it was an extremely hard time, as she set foot on the African continent she felt an immediate connection. She has since lived and worked in almost every East African countries and some West African ones and has eventually settled in Kenya in 2000. She has a degree in Library and Information Science and a Post Graduate degree in Education. Stephen is a Kenyan citizen, of third generation. He is an engineer with a degree in mechanical engineering from the UK and has specialized in water and steam engineering. Stephen and Christiane have two daughters and a son who all show a profound love of dance.

Partners