Unpacking the 3Package Deal: Junadry Leocaria

“The Sarakasi dome on Ngara road. It has everything – a theatre, dance halls, offices and a rooftop terrace. My apartment was on the ground floor. At night I’d be all alone. It was kind of scary but I got used to it. I would sit on my balcony at night, writing and thinking.”
“I went hiking on the weekends to clear my head. It was such an crazy project, and the city was so filthy. This was in the Ngong hills, the home of the Masai. There’s seven hills and endless land. And clouds – it’s cold season in Kenia at the moment so it would get chilly.”
“I always bring bubble solution when I travel. Some kids have never blown bubbles before. I went to a presentation in Dandora, a slum. Every year, the biggest talents from the slums are chosen to train with Sarakasi. I was supposed to work with the selection but ended up working with five people from Dandora and the Sarakasi trainees. Most of them were taught to dance in the streets. One of the boys, John, had been wrongfully imprisoned for eight years, since he was 15. I visited the men’s jail. They use dance and acrobatics to train the prisoners.”
“Willie the Banana Man! I would buy fruit from him in the morning, so the dancers would have enough energy to make it through rehearsals. I used some of my 3Package Deal money because they often didn’t have any money of their own. Willie said he’d miss me. I was good business for him.”
“This is me with the Masai, Kenia’s most famous nomadic tribe. I didn’t want to go with a tourist group so I found someone who knew them personally. They did a welcoming dance for me and asked me to dance along, so I’m pretty much just basking in the afterglow on this picture. Being able to do that with them, on their land, was totally surreal.”
“On the way to the Masai village, a five mile hike. I was given a private tour. The chief told me everything about medicinal plants on the way. I was looking for that connection to nature and found it there.”
“This was the group that auditioned. Only fourteen of them went on to the show. Training those fourteen dancers was already so much work – I would have never survived had I let all of them through. On the far right is Washika, the lead acrobat.”
“The dancers were always late, and we only had four hours. So I’m probably telling them off here, going through my notes at rehearsal. The only thing I had prepared before I left was the name of the show – Ndoto. I pretty much let it take me anywhere from there. Ndoto means dream. I’d always dreamt of going to Kenia, and the dancers had always dreamt of being in a show. I always build a show around the dancers, and whatever inspires me when I’m away. It’s community work so it’s very much about them.”
“The boys dancing to Made in Africa by Stephan Marley during the show. It was a special moment because the song is actually about them. I offered some of those guys a chance Edu (Sarakasi’s artistic director, ed.) wouldn’t have given them. I got boys to dance who would have otherwise been labeled as acrobats. They were so grateful, and it was awesome to be able to show Edu that too.”
“I’m a passionate person so it looks like I’m singing when actually I’m speeching post-show. We only did one performance. I was totally beat by the end of it. It was full-on, but worth it.”
“The Sarakasi dome on Ngara road. It has everything – a theatre, dance halls, offices and a rooftop terrace. My apartment was on the ground floor. At night I’d be all alone. It was kind of scary but I got used to it. I would sit on my balcony at night, writing and thinking.”
29/08/2017
3Package Deal

The past year, we’ve caught up with the fifteen eclectic, genre-bending participants of the 3Package Deal 2016 as they worked on their craft and prepared themselves for their final presentations in the wide-ranging fields of visual arts, fashion, film, theatre, urban dance, social design and even olfactory art.

Dancer and choreographer Junadry Leocaria (1985) used to dance with ISH and Don’t Hit Mama. As part of her 3Package Deal year, she traveled to Nairobi for five weeks this past July, to work on a dance show with Sarakasi Trust, a Kenyan arts and culture initiative. Leocaria first got to know Sarakasi in 2009, through ISH. This year, ‘someday’ became ‘now’.

Kenia wasn’t the only country she visited this year: Leocaria also went to New York and Venice, working on a range of projects. These final months, including her trip to Nairobi, were geared towards exploration and development. This is her Nairobi travelogue. 

About the 3Package Deal

The 3Package Deal talent scheme - a collaboration between the AFK and Bureau Broedplaatsen (BBp) - assists and encourages exceptional young artists through affordable live/work spaces, a development budget of € 22.500 and professional encouragement from a coalition of renowned Amsterdam art institutions. Jungmyung Lee is part of this year’s Publishing Coalition, with Mevis & Van DeursenIf I Can't Dance, the Sandberg Institute and AGA LAB. Junadry Leocaria is a part of this year’s Dance Coalition with Don’t Hit MamaTheater FrascatiDansmakers and Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten