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I take kids off the streets with dance –Kaffy

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I take kids off the streets with dance  –Kaffy

In 2006, she danced her way into the Guinness World Record with her team, Imagneto, at the Nokia Silverbird Danceathon and has since become a point of reference in the Nigerian entertainment industry whenever the subject is about dance. She has choreographed music videos and concert tours for several artistes and has acted as a judge on some Reality TV Shows in her capacity as a professional dancer. With almost 20 years in the creative industry; Kafayat Shafau-Ameh better known as Kaffy in this chat with LANRE ODUKOYA, spoke about her coming conference, the industry perspective about dancers amongst others issues.

 

It’s the second edition of the Dance Workshop and conference that you inspire, what should Nigerians expect?

They should expect a project that will create a shift in the entertainment industry; the essence of the conference is to bring to life things that are hidden, motivate those that are frustrated, train those that require extra skills and also inspire the future of not letting go of your dream just because somebody else has tagged it as not the right thing to do.

 

Do you also believe that ‘Dance is a serious Business’ as this year’s theme reads?

see a lot of people don’t know the value of their Art & Craft and as such forgetting that dance is beyond shaking your butt on stage or appearing on musical videos. Indeed, dance is a serious business because if I had not taken it as business from inception I won’t be as big as I am today. I can say boastfully that with dance I have been able to break bounds and put food on the tables of my family members. Like I said earlier, with the workshop a lot will be revealed to the dancer on why they need to take their craft seriously. With the conference, I aim at catching them young which at the end makes them smart.

 

What inspired the second edition of this show?

This conference is holding as a result of all what I have been through as a dancer. For instance, dancers being divided, backbiting, passing the wrong information about another dancer. Some even go as far as saying’ They want to steal your artiste.’ You take a dancer to an artiste for choreography and the next thing, the dancer wants to be the lead; also a dancer will do anything to get a fellow dancer for cheap.

It is important to state also that dancers in this part are not united enough to be able to create the force in the industry that there is need for dancers to be respected but I believe when about five Kaffy’s are available and we become so strong, I am 100% sure that nobody will want to mess with any dancers. Also, what people fail to understand is the fact that dance and music is a marriage that cannot be divorced because both parties need each other.

 

What does dance actually symbolize for you?

Dance is a way of life; it is a culture and a power tool of communication employed to inform and empower. I have empowered myself through dance and I am totally sure that it can help humanity more than the way we perceive it. In Nigeria, we consume dance mostly from the entertainment perspective and I believe the world should consume dance from all levels: from the therapy angle, health and fitness, job creation amongst others. That is the more reason you see that I am pushing from all angles and giving people reasons to ask questions like is it this same dance you are adding importance to and packaging?

 

Were there signs from the outset that you were going to be famous dancing for a living?

Not at all, all I know was that I knew I would be great and successful. Growing up as a child you don’t know the process of greatness but all I wanted to do was to be known in my chosen field so as to be able to impact on others and matter. For instance, I grew up in a family where they think you can’t matter if you are a dancer and I told them I will matter to them one day through the dance path I have chosen for myself and today they are all super proud of me.

 

Do you think lack of respect for dancers is the cause of the being largely overlooked when it comes to entertainment awards?

This is part of the issue because dancers are being relegated despite being important. I thank God I have paid my dues enough to get respected by the artiste themselves.

 

What impact does the internet have on your brand?

For me personally, I’m proud to say that, having over a million and above followers, this is not like you went to buy followers, it means that people are interested in what you are doing. And the internet allows direct access to my followers, and the people that are interested in my brand, and what my brand has to offer, so it also pushes me to be creative, to be innovative, and to also evolve. The internet has drawn me closer to my future customers, and also created an avenue for me to showcase some of the things that I probably want to launch, so it’s like a great marketing tool.

 

Will you honestly encourage a dear person to you to choose dance for a living?

That is why I’m still dancing; I would have quit if I think there is no hope. For me to be a science student and ventured into dancing, and stayed in it, and be recognized for it, and still trying to impact my society, in my country, and also changing lives is telling enough. One thing people don’t understand is I’m not doing dance because I want to move my body, am doing dance because I want to change lives, and it has changed lives. Movement is very psychological, I change lives of mothers, and that of young people, I take kids off the streets. For me I make ladies believe their bodies can create an avenue for job opportunities rather than sell themselves; so these things are empowering attributes of dance. So, it’s not just about the movement of the body, it’s about the building of the mind and that’s what I am doing it for.

 

Do you think showbiz is worth investing seriously in by the Nigerian government?

We are part of the process, and as much as we can get to every sector- the health sector, entertainment, even the empowerment sector -where we can take kids off the streets, we are an important aspect of the economy. Not just the economy in case of the money we earn, but the society, meaning that our activities will be required on daily basis. These are the areas that the government can look into and if these things are important, then let’s address them.

 

 

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