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