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Canada-based Nigerian launches dance challenge

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Muyiwa Osinaike, veteran Nigerian dancer, to host maiden Naija Dance in April 2021

A Canada-based Nigerian, Dayo Alabi, has launched a dance challenge video to foster unity and happiness among blacks in Vancouver.

She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) via her social media handle on Wednesday that the challenge was released to commemorate the annual World Mental Health Awareness month celebrated in October.

Dayo Alabi, Creator, Blacks In Vancouver (BIV) Dance Challenge

Alabi, the creator, Black In Vancouver (BIV) Dance Challenge, said that the video was in response to the need to uplift the spirit of blacks in the community at a time of the pandemic through the arts.

The six muniute video, titled, “Master KG – Jerusalema, BIV Dance Challenge”, made available to NAN and released on Wednesday on YouTube and other social media platforms, shows dancers clad in African fabric performing various choreographed steps.

According to Alabi, the dance challenge was further inspired by the hit song Jerusalema by Master KG, in which one of Nigeria’s most globally accepted artiste, Burna Boy, also featured in its remix.

She said: “BIV Dance Challenge was created during the pandemic, an idea borne out of happiness; to bring the black community together; to encourage wellness and bring hope.

“The project has changed the whole tune of the sadness in COVID-19 and just brought a different kind of emotion to everyone.

“So, part of it has to do with mental – people were in a dark place, down and sad.

“Many things were happening – so many lives were lost, and also because of the situation of ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement – all of which spiralled during the pandemic as well.

“So, this was like a light shining on everyone because creating the dance challenge video just brought so much light into the sadness that was already in place. It just changed everything for the community.”

The documentary script writer added that BIV Dance Challenge had created the first ever ‘Jerusalema’ dance challenge in Canada.

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“It is a dance challenge sweeping the world, uplifting spirits, bringing communities together, giving a sense of belonging, while creating the much needed happiness in the face of a pandemic.

“So, the dance challenge is committed to showcasing black excellence, promoting the expertise and talents in the dance, music and arts in our (black) community, while celebrating and preserving our culture,” she said.

She also added that making of the video had brought together members of the community, many of whom volunteered their skills, time and resources.

“It took several weeks of online tutorials, and in-person practice from talented instructors.

“It was the most beautiful, amazing, inspirational experience Black in Vancouver has embarked upon and the joy and happiness created cannot be quantified,” she added.

Alabi, therefore, advised Nigerians, especially youths, to always remain focused and strive to make positive impact in any community they found themselves.

“Be grounded, involve yourself in the community, make a difference and give back in any way you can,” she added.

BIV was formed as a subgroup of ‘Meanwhile in Vancouver’, where the idea of a dance challenge was first mooted.

Meanwhile, veteran Nigerian dancer, Muyiwa Osinaike, on Thursday said he was planning to host the maiden Naija Dance Championship in April 2021 to spur and promote creativity among Nigerian youths.

Muyiwa Osinaike

Oshinaike, who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, noted that this would be organised by Francosh Entertainment and PaulDavid N Andrew.

He said the dance which would be a competition among selected talented dancers.

He added that after the exploit of John Player Disco Championship in the early 1980s, Nigeria had never experienced such again in the dance industry, noting that there was the need to reform Nigerian dance business.

Oshinaike said the country was blessed with talented dancers who needed platforms to be seen locally and internationally.

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According to him, the championship would give room for such, tutor the mindset of Nigerian youths toward growth and national unity as well as create employment opportunities.

He said the programme required talented dancers to register on the website of Naija Dance Championship after which screening would be done at state and regional levels before the grand finale on April 11, 2021.

“The whole idea behind the Naija Dance Championship is to reform dance business in Nigeria, engage the youth in meaningful ventures and boost domestic tourism.

“The idea is to re-create a more vibrant and all inclusive African dance championship within the first five years.

“Our maiden edition is designed to explore the hip-hop style, attain world standards in modern contemporary movement and showcase the traditional forms in a competitive and convivial environment.

“Applicants registration starts on Nov. 1, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021, after which the state screening commences Jan. 25, 2021 to Feb. 14.

“The northern regional final screening holds on March 7, 2021 in Abuja, South-East is on March 14, 2021 in Owerri, South-South will have theirs on March 2021 in Uyo, South-West holds its final screening on March 28, 2021 in Ibadan and the grand finale on April 11, 2021,” he said.

Oshunaike said that some of the revenue generated during the project would be used to build a dance academy in the country to promote professionalism in dance industry.

He said the overall winner will be going away with at least N1million if no sponsor indicated interest in the project but if otherwise, more will be given to the winner.

Dr Niyi Adekeye, Chief Executive Officer, PaulDavid N Andrew, said he indicated interest in partnering with the project due to his love for entertainment and consciousness of the health benefits of dancing as a means of exercise.

He advised everyone to engage in dance as a form of exercise as it benefits the heart, brain and human muscles.

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He noted that applicants registration would be done online as they submit their dance skits, adding that this was to enable people comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

“I have always had flair for entertainment because it brings about national unity, this project is to engage the young and the old from different parts of the country.

“Our plan is to go to other African countries after the 3rd year of a successful project, engaging other African countries will also spur international tourism,” he said.

Mr Makinde Adeniran, National Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), assured the organisers of the association’s endorsement of the project.

He said that the programme was a commendable one which would create a model for the preservation of creative talents.

“We in NANTAP have endorsed this project and we give our full support to it, our youths need models, this platform will create models for the youth and groom natural talents in youths,” he said.

Mr Tairu Ajibode, National Secretary, Guild of Nigerian Dance Practitioners (GONDP), who read the guild’s letter of endorsement commended the initiative, adding that it would encourage excellent creativity in youths.

A professional Drummer, Mr Isioma Williams, urged the Nigerian government to give full support to the dance industry to take hoodlums away from the streets.
He said art teaches morals and was capable of engaging the youth meaningfully.

Sani Imonikhe, a professional dancer, popularly called “Dance Machine”, said the initiative was introduced at the right time when moral decadence ought to be corrected in the society.

Imonikhe said that dancing was a lucrative business Nigerian youths must embrace for wealth creation.

“This project is commendable because it is bringing together hip-hop, traditional and contemporary dances and involving people from different ethnic groups; it will bring about national unity,” he said. (NAN)

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