Junaid Jemal Sendi was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and initially trained as part of the Adugna Dance and Theatre Company. It was set up by the indigenous NGO, The Ethiopian Gemini Trust, and the founders of Dance United as part of a project to develop the potential of the city’s disadvantaged young people. His training at Adugna focused on contemporary dance, African and Ethiopian dance, ballet, choreography and teaching methodologies.
Junaid first came to England in 1998 with Adugna and performed at the Royal Albert Hall as special guests of Music for Youth. He still works regularly with the Adugna company in Addis Ababa and remains committed to its inspirational work. After training with Adugna, Junaid took part in dance workshops in Senegal to promote the exchange of skills between African dancers. He was one of 10 dancers selected by the Jant-Bi Co to choreograph pieces performed at the Belgian festival Africalia and in Burkina Faso at the Dialogue Dacor dance festival. Junaid entered the Rolex Arts Initiative Dance Competition in 2004 and was the Mentor/Protégé winner. He is the youngest ever recipient and the first African of the prize. His reward for winning the prize was a year’s work with the renowned Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara and his KARAS company. Junaid travelled worldwide with KARAS and recently started working with the French company Cold Cabaile Cane.