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Repositioning dance, dancers as brands

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Despite the successes by notable dancers and choreographers in Nigeria, the perception of dance as a profession appears not to have changed much. And for the upcoming dancers, it is among sundry challenges that they have to contend with.

Against this backdrop, the Guild of Nigerian Dancers (GOND) recently organized a seminar in Lagos.

The event which was held at the Corporate Dance World Studios, Eric Moore Road, Lagos, was also aimed at exploring “Career Opportunities and Growth in the Nigerian Dance Industry”. 

It brought together celebrated and upcoming dancers and choreographers, including foremost choreographer and the Director, (Dance), National Troupe of Nigeria and the chairman of the National Advisory Council of GOND, Dr. Anold Udoka, Senior Lecturer, Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos,  Dr. Felix Emoruwa, one of the leading female dancers, choreographer, dance instructor and fitness coach, Kafayat Oluwatoyin Shafau, popularly known by her stage name Kaffy, the co-founder and artistic director/choreographer of the acclaimed Crown Troupe of Africa, a performance art company, Segun Adefila, who were the resources persons, and others.

Speaking to New Telegraph on the significance of the programme and developments in dance industry, Udoka, said the perception about dance and dancers is slowly beginning to change but not fully because a greater percentage of those who see the artistes, and who think about the artiste are especially the people in the rural areas.

“The significance of the seminar is to stir the consciousness about the growth of dance as an industry. We have a lot of talented young dancers; we have to tell them that beyond the talent, there is skill, ands to acquire that skill there are ethics. You might be a professional because you draw your living from dancing, but without the ethics the industry cannot grow.

“So, this seminar is to talk to them about the art of dance, what it entails, in other for us to be able to brand it as an industry. There is so much stigma about the dancer in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, they believe that we are all illiterate. But you know as well as I do that none of us is. So, we have to be able to push those who are coming after us, who might not even have the opportunity of being in same big schools like some of us have been to, who are already working with us, to contribute not just their bodies and their minds but also their intellects, and the discipline in building a stature for dance as an industry in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, “a lot still has to be done in terms of the policy, the cultural policy and the implementation of that policy, and in terms of introducing dance into the primary and secondary school curricular. As long as they are not there; as long as dance is not a subject that you can take an examination in, people will just see it as a pastime. So, people should not meet dance in the university for the first time in their lives as an academic subject, they should meet it as an academic subject in primary school if parents realise that their children can study dance as a scoring subject at the primary and secondary school levels they will take it seriously. 

There are a lot of opportunities; there are about 38 job opportunities in dance.  So, just imagine this country exporting dance experts in different fields.”

Also in a chat with New Telegraph, President of GOND, Adedayo Liadi, popularly known as Ijodee or Olorioko, Liadi, noted that it is their first seminar since we they came into office. “It is part of the reorientation programme that we talked about, which we promised Nigerian dancers. For many years we have not been having this kind of educational programme among dancers. We, dancers, are known to be practical persons, dance, dance and dance on stage or on screen. That is all they see us do on stage or screen. So, we thought about how we can sensitize people about the next level, because it will get to a stage in your life as a dancer, just like me now, I am more of a consultant and a director, and I produce, and I am still a dancer, although, I dance when I feel like dancing. So, this kind of reorientation programme will help in educating the young dancers of today.”

On his advice for the upcoming dancers, Liadi said: It is for them is to learn from those that have come before them; be humble to learn; and they should be able to persevere because as a performer, it is energy sapping. II can assure you of one thing: there is a future for you as a dancer.”

Similarly, Kaffy, who spoke on dance as a brand, said the seminar is timely. “It is what is needed. Earlier in June this year, I also did a similar dance workshop. Tagged that dance is a serious business, that is because we are trying to help educate, enlighten and create awareness about how much potential our industry has, and how little we are harnessing it, and to educate the practitioners on how to evolve into that industry. So, coming to this seminar that God has prepared is just to show that we are on the right track. More and more seminars like this need to me done. A lot of these dancers are acting more out of ignorance than anything else. And they say ignorance is a disease, we need to treat, and the cure is information. So, if we are able to create a scenario where people are more informed, more enlightened, they will behave differently; they will act differently. They will pursue career with caution and understanding of how well to make their potentials. So this is a great initiative.

“A dance brand is built based on the philosophy of the drive, the goal, and what it is that you want to achieve; how you influence people, what is it that you arouse in people as a brand; how to understand and identify those elements and market it. When you market it, you are driving the economic status of brand up. That means demand and supply; the more demand you are in, the better you can function as a dancer; the better you can even grow. Being a brand does not limit you to being stagnant you also need to improve on your skill set, and understanding towards the marketing of such a brand. So, I believe that for somebody to be effective as a dance brand, it really depends on the person’s philosophy of success; attaining success, retaining it and evolving with it. And that is what will sustain the brand.

“Dancers need to get more information. I feel that we have over flogged and understood the idea of performing, that we can perform. We know that we can all dance; what we need to now understand is ‘how do we sell it? How do we get people to recognize it as a career choice? How do we sustain ourselves as a brand? How do we guarantee the future of the younger ones?

Adefila also commended GOND for organising the seminar, noting that it is coming at a very good time. “I wish we had more of this before now, maybe some of us would have benefited from it decades ago when we started.

“I talked about dance ethics, what is required of a dancer. Basically, what others have been talking about since we came in here is how we see ourselves as dancers, and if there is any prospect in it. Can we boastfully say when medical doctors step out, lawyers, accountants, engineers and others step out to declare their profession, can we come out declare our profession as a dancer, and be respected as one; not as a dancer but as a professional.” 

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Arts & Entertainments

BBNaija 2018: I only had one-night stand with you – Rapper, CDQ Olowo replies Ifu Ennada

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Nigerian entertainer, CDQ Olowo, has responded to Big Brother Naija’s housemate, Ifu Ennada, saying he only had a one-night-stand with her.

Yesterday, Ifu Ennada had called out the popular rapper, accusing him of dumping her after sacrificing so much for his music career.

She claimed the singer forgot about her after attaining stardom.

According to Ifu Ennada, she was just 17 when she “sponsored” CDQ, gave him money meant for her handouts, school fees, and also gave him tickets to VIP event. Only for her to be used and dumped.

She said it was not about the money but about the sacrifices she made for him.

But reacting to Ifu’s claim, the musician described her as a one-night-stand, asking her to seek for promo the right way instead of talking “bullsh*t.

CDQ Olowo wrote on his Instagram, “I’m a self made. Dm or contact my management if you need free promo not by saying bullshit (sic).

“You were just a one night stand.”

 

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Arts & Entertainments

BBNaija: Efe blasts Nigerians who regret voting for him

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Winner of last year’s Big Brother Naija, Efe Ejeba, has lashed out at Nigerians who say they regret voting for him.

Efe, who has ventured into music since the show ended, took to his Twitter page to blast fans who have been criticizing his songs from the EP, ‘AmSorryAmWinning’.

He wrote: “For all those saying they regret voting for me, i entertained you and your money expired the day the show ended. #AmSorryAmWinningEp

“Thank you to those who have been 1000% with me from day one… your genuine support has kept me thus far through God’s grace… keep supporting the music… so we keep winning… #AmSorryAmWinningEp”

Efe won the coveted N25million prize money and an SUV after three months in the Big Brother house.

 

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Arts & Entertainments

Banky W shutdown EME, re-brands record label

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Pop artiste Bankole Wellington (aka Banky W), has announced the rebranding of his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.).

E.M.E. was the starting record label for popular names in the music industry including Wizkid, Skales and Niyola.

He said the E.M.E is now a full-fledged Media Agency which will focus on creative Marketing, Advertising, PR, Brand Events/Activation’s, and talent management.

The singer on Tuesday shared the news in a two-part Instagram post via his account @bankywellington, where he recounted the history of the label and the decision to redefine it.

After nine years of operation in Nigeria’s music industry, the singer and actor said it became necessary to shutdown the label in January 2017, due to the restructuring.

According to him, E.M.E.’s business venture will now be marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, shooting of television commercials and documentaries.

He also added that the agency is not restricted to music artists, but will also cater for creative people in other areas such as sports, radio and television; and acting.

Banky W named his wife Adesua Etomi, DJ Xclusive, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Host of the BBNaija 2018 `Double Wahala’ TV show and Tolu ‘Toolz’ Oniru as the first set of clients of the rebranded company.

He wrote: “We have played our little part in helping discover/boost the careers of a number of talents in the music business (some of your favourite artists, producers and engineers).

“In January, 2017, after nine years of being in the Nigerian music industry, we decided it was time to quietly close the record label arm of our business.

“Essentially, we have restricted our business and instead of operating just as a record label, we have expanded and changed our focus a bit.

“This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists.

“But even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted to working with just music artists.

“We still work with musicians, but also work with On Air Personalities, actors, and evaluating sports management as well.’’

E.M.E. was founded by Banky W and his best friend, Tunde Demuren in 2002 while they were at the university in New York.

Wizkid reportedly parted ways with E.M.E in February 2013, to start his own label ‘Starboy’.

Skales also moved on from E.M.E. following the expiration of his contract.

The label was best known for its 2013 compilation album ‘Empire Mates State of Mind’.

(NAN)

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