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Kompany Malakhi

Identifier: KMALAKHI

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily comprises audio-visual, administrative, and promotional materials. The records relate to Kompany Malakhi's governance, performances and education programme, from c. 2000 to its closure in 2012.


  • Creation: 2000-2012

Biographical / Historical

Kompany Malakhi was set up in 1994 under the Artistic Direction of Kwesi Johnson, but due to losing funding, was wound down in 2012. Kompany Malakhi earned international renown through creating unique and dynamic inter-disciplinary performances that fused alternative movement styles such as contemporary dance, hip-hop, physical theatre, break dance, parkour and extreme sports. With a distinctly modern style and attitude, their dance performances reflected diverse and multi-cultural society through a unique, fresh and exciting visual language. The word 'malkahi' translates to 'messenger' with Kwesi Johnson using performance as a social commentary. Kwesi also describes himself as a 'Griographer' to enforce the importance of this concept; 'griot' is an Afrikan storyteller or social commentator, who uses many art forms to tell a story. The word 'grapher' he takes from the word 'choreographer', using it to describe the merging of movement and creation of a performance.

Kwesi's first experiences of dance were through B Boyin and Funkstyles, and then Urban British Jazz Dance or Be Bop. He then went on to train professionally at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD), and graduated in 1991. Kwesi's choreographic credits include the opening ceremony of the 1991 Olympic Conference; Black Mime Theatre; Boston City Lights (U.S.A); Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival, South Africa; London Bubble Theatre Company; and the Southwark Playhouse.

In 1994 he created Kompany Malakhi, after receiving his first commission for a solo piece called, 'Searching for a Shaman.' Acting as artistic director and choreographer (1994-2005) several performances followed; 'Born Again Hoofers' (1995), 'Jigsaw Jam' (1997-1998), 'Under the Influence' (2000-2001), 'Fuzion' (2001-2002) and 'A Hip Hop Story' (2003-2006). From 2005 Johnson took a step back from choreography, choosing to focus on his principle role as Artistic Director. During this time the company produced and performed several performances including; 'Artikulate,' which consists of two solo performance titled 'Single Reflex' (2004-2007) and 'Body Language' (2005-2007), 'Respond-React' (2008-2012), 'Boxin' (2009), 'Huhmmmm' (2009), 'Wilderness' (2009) and 'Rotations' (2010-2012). The main style of performance incorporates Breakdance, Hip Hop, physical theatre and contemporary dance. This combination of styles as well as various art forms (dance, theatre, movement and word) create an interdisciplinary performance. It reflects the company's ethos and highlights the mixture of cultures and external forces that that make up and influence society.

Education and outreach was also a key factor in the company's work ethic. Hosting many workshops and residencies, the company aimed to attract new audiences, make the arts accessible to everyone and interact with the wider community. The education team specialised in creating educational events and resources including a free lesson plan, workshop tips and free music download for teachers.


6 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection has been arranged into three sub-fonds levels:

KMALAKHI/1 Governance

KMALAKHI/2 Performances and Productions

KMALAKHI/3 Education and Outreach

Within each of these sub-fonds, the arrangement varies. Descriptions of these arrangements can be found at sub-fonds and series levels. Where necessary, file level arrangement descriptions can also be found.

Custodial History

Donated as part of the Black Dance Archives Project, 2014


Confidential financial documentation have been removed from this collection during the cataloguing process

Related Materials


Black Cultural Archives: Kompany Malakhi
Black Cultural Archives
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives Collection Repository

Black Cultural Archives
1 Windrush Square