Since its premiere last year, ‘For the Love of Dance, a Wajo documentary on the growth and progress of the dance industry in Nigeria, has continued to attract attention and stimulate discourse aimed at repositioning the industry.
Created by Enhance 360 and directed by Seun Adeleye, ‘For the Love of Dance’ is a profound collection of commentaries about the origin of the dance industry, its growth over the past 20 years, its challenges and practical solutions for the benefit of the coming generations.
The premiere held at the Simi Johnson Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos, brought together stakeholders in the dance industry in Nigeria.
The 59 minutes documentary, which explores different perspectives on key issues pertaining to development, industry and growth of dance in Nigeria over the past 20 years through the eyes of leading professionals in the Nigerian dance scene, featured principal practitioners in the dance industry such as Sir Peter Badejo, Mr. Adedayo Liadi, Kaffy, and Mrs. Sarah Boulos, who is the chairperson, Society for Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN).
They spoke on several pressing issues confronting the Nigerian dance community and how dance could be more independent in the entertainment industry at large.
The programmes manager of Wajo, Mr. Wale Johnson, noted that with projects like this, the dance scene will become more sustainable as Wajo intends to push dance materials to bigger platforms at both national and international, where dance will compete equally with other art forms.
He added: “We moved to creating an online conversation on Instagram called dance notes where we engaged several top industry players and discussed about the effects of covid-19 and sustainability during the lockdown, we also invited professionals from diverse fields to shed light on key issues that affect dance businesses, issues like insurance, branding, intellectual property, health to mention a few” Renowned Nigerian dancer, Qudus Onikeku, also spoke about the importance of the Nigerian culture in the creative space, the need for dance practitioners to see themselves as ambassadors wherever they go.
He stressed that culture is our means of identity and an African without an identity is nobody.
As online dance trends continue to grow and social media continues to use dance, professional dancers were warned to be careful on the use of social media and how to best take advantage of it to better their art. Dr. Felix Omeruwa and Dr .Steve James, spoke passionately about the need for members of the guild and all dance practitioners to embrace unity.
They went further to explain how working together and supporting one another like the comedy industry would boost dance. Speaking with Saturday Telegraph, Adeleye explained that Wajo is a multi-faceted dance focused project aimed at promoting dance and stimulating interest in dance.
“On our platforms, we celebrate the diversity of Nigerian and African dance cultures featuring the finest dancers. Our aim is to promote these Africans to a broader global audience.
“Wajo started in April 2013 as a monthly dance event at the amphi-theatre of the iconic Freedom Park Lagos where people have gathered for what has been described by many as ‘Simply amazing.’ It has since developed into a full-fledged dance project,” he said.