Odi dance is the latest sensation in the country at the moment courtesy of James Owidhi aka Timeless Noel
Charles Okwemba @charlito56
It is the new dance craze in town, Odi Dance. Young people want it recognised as the national dance. The magic behind this new sensation is professional dancer James Owidhi, but many know him as Timeless Noel.
This is Noel’s 10th year as a professional dancer, and definitely his most successful one. “I did not expect the dance move to be a national sensation. In fact, Odi is a slang word for ordinary. I started the Odi Dance challenge to promote and explore the various dance styles in Kenya. Today, if you search ‘Odi’ on YouTube, it will bring about one million results.
One of the videos is a compilation made from dancers who participated in the challenge. The other is a professional video of the song Odi. Other versions are mostly done by our fans, especially in schools,” says Noel.
The 30-year-old describes himself as a passionate dancer full of energy. He has been into dance from a tender age of 10 years. His journey started when he was an altar boy in Class Seven and the family moved church from Holy Family Basilica to one that was near where they used to reside.
This is where his talent stood out and before he joined secondary school, he was invited for various dance competitions. He is a Business Administration graduate from the University of Nairobi where he joined in 2007. “The dance crews that were more popular at that time were FBI and Al-Qaeda. I wanted to join FBI, but most of the dancers were high schoolars.
Together with other dance enthusiasts at campus, we founded a group called Air Force,” he recalls. Air Force, Noel says, participated in Chaguo la Teeniez competition in 2008 and Sakata in 2010. This is where they caught the eye of musician Wyre.
“We performed with him in his Kode Dance song. The group also became official dancers in his She Say Dat remix with Ce’Cile. Noel graduated in 2010. “My father coerced me to study commerce and even got me a job in a bank after my graduation, but I felt out of place in the corporate world and quit after only three months of working,” he says.
Between 2012 and 2013, Noel became a dance teacher at Riara Group of Schools. He also joined Dice Crew, a gospel music group that is part of Nairobi Chapel’s Youth Ministry Club Expressions as a lead choreographer.
He was awarded the Best Hype man Award in 2013, which led him to join K-Krew. In 2014 and 2015 he was nominated for the Groove Awards as the talent to watch. From 2013 to date, Noel has visited over 1,500 schools including primary schools, secondary schools and universities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It is here he discovered the love for dance among young people.
Now the founder of ‘Made of Dance Kenya’, a ministry through which he reaches out to dancers and lovers of dance in Kenya, he also owns a YouTube channel, Timeless Noel. In fact, that is where he got his nickname, Timeless Noel.
The channel currently has over 12,000 subscribers. “It was a random thought at work with my colleagues in 2014 to start the YouTube channel. Many of them were DJs and they had their own channels, so they encouraged me to create one,” he adds.
Currently, he is a hypeman for K-Krew. In every show that he goes to as a hype man, Noel challenges the crowd to give him their best dance moves. “I would advise the society to follow the three Bs; Believe, Behave and Become,” he concludes.