I started dancing when I was 11 years old at our local church in Dagoretti corner. I did it out of sheer fun and a genuine need to serve the Lord. My moves almost always excited the congregants and I knew I had something special,” Timeless Noel, 30, starts off the interview.
In 2005 after joining form one, Noel stopped dancing in the church as he felt he had outgrown the stage. This saw him start dancing in local events in his neighbourhood as well as at school events.
“Most children who grew up in church usually abandon it after class eight due to peer pressure. Also, most churches don’t have programmes to accommodate teens so they end up getting bored and eventually leave the church,” he explains.
In 2010 when he joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing he, together with other young passionate dancers, formed a dance group in order to participate in local dancing competitions as well as perform in gigs.
“The dancing group was called Air Force and we took part in different competitions. We won several awards including Chaguo La Teeniez Awards in 2010. We also participated in Sakata dance competition, which was aired by a local television. We didn’t win but it gave us exposure that came with a contract to feature in Wyre’s song Kode dance,” Noel offers.
By 2011, Air Force had become a force to reckon with in the dancing sphere and they got invitations to perform in different forums. In 2012 while in a concert at Nairobi Chapel, Noel gave his life to Christ and later joined the church-dancing group, Dice Crew. It’s while here that he got the opportunity to train aspiring dancers in schools before K-Crew took notice of him.
K-Crew was the team behind Kubamba, a weekly gospel TV show aired on Citizen TV every Sunday until 2015.
The show would later change to Bambika and is produced by Citizen TV. The programme targets young people in high schools and tertiary institutions. In 2016, Citizen TV hired Timeless Noel as the official hype man of the show. A hype man is a person who attempts to increase the audience’s excitement with call-and-response chants.
Timeless Noel reveals that since he started working with Bambika, he has reached more than 1,500 schools countrywide inspiring young people mostly in dancing.
“Dance is an abandoned talent in our country and it is our responsibility to harness the talents in our young people. This will guide them to discover themselves as well as help them earn a living,” he says.
Noel’s goal is to reach out to more young people through dancing as well as mentor those already in it.
“I am the founder of Made of Dance Kenya, a movement that aims to inspire, nurture and empower dancers. I would like to reach out to dancers and help them realise their potential through workshops and trainings to equip them. I am also in the process of starting a dance TV show,” remarks Noel.
The rise and rise of Odi dance
Despite his achievement as a co-host of Bambika, Noel is perhaps notably known for coming up with the Odi Dance, which took the music industry by storm. Odi Dance came to be known as the official Kenyan dance. Odi Dance, the song, was also such a massive success earning Noel numerous awards including a Groove Award. The song has been watched over 2.5 million times on YouTube.
“Odi is a name that’s popular in the ghetto meaning ordinary. As a dancer, I wanted to create simple moves that ordinary people could dance,” explains Noel.
Besides, Odi Dance, Timeless Noel has released other singles including KDF (Kula Neno) and Kanyanga Lami among others. “Odi dance and KDF are collabos I did with Jabidii and Hype Ochi while Kanyaga Lami I did with Jabidii,” he explains. Why such familiar titles? “I look for something that Kenyans and especially young people who I reach out to can relate with,” he reveals as we conclude this interview.