Creative of the week – Melaku Belay

January 19, 2022

Melaku Belay is a world-renowned Ethiopian dancer and an icon for Ethiopia’s traditional dance.  He is well known for creating authentic traditional choreographies. He is a self-taught dancer and dwells in the traditional realm of his country to create and develop his own style of performance. He is known as the “walking earthquake” and “King of Eskista.” as he has mastered eskista in a whole new perspective. 

He is majorly inspired by Ethiopian culture and traditions during major festivals such as Timket. He is known for curating specific contemporary choreographies out of the communal activities he sees in different parts of the country. He has received intensive training in choreography at the National Theater of Ethiopia and has attended several workshops at Ras and Hager Fikir Theater as well. He is committed to taking Ethiopia’s tradition to the next level by creating artistic movements and sounds to enhance the existing customs in ways that adapt to international standards.

Melaku has been recognized both locally and internationally. Hewon the Alliance Ethio-Francaise award for dance excellence. In 2015, he was entitled as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in recognition of his exceptional artistic career, by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications. In the following year, Melaku was nominated for the nationwide DireTube Award for introducing Ethiopian music to the world. In 2017, Melaku received a globally competitive grant from UNESCO’s International Fund for the Promotion of Culture, to produce an azmari music festival in Addis Ababa. In 2018, Melaku was one of the top three nominees for Ethiopia’s Person of the Year Award, in the category of Bringing Global Recognition for Ethiopia.

Melaku is an icon for those who are striving to stand out in the entertainment industry and specifically as a Traditional Dancer/Choreographer. We appreciate Melaku Belay for showing us Ethiopia’s music and dance can be taken to a whole new level worldwide. 

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