“Dancers are mostly underrated in the music industry”- Bolatife Oladiran
“If dancers did not sometimes sleep with rich people, they can not go far in their career”, as absurd and degrading as this conclusion is, the perception of dancers in Nigeria is another topic for another day. Meanwhile, Kafayat Oluwatoyin Shafau (Kaffy) broke the Guinness book of record and started to pave way for young people to embrace the profession through her dance academy.
One of such people that embraced the profession is Boluwatife Oladiran, a member of the Awanjo dance group — arguably one of the biggest dance group in Nigeria, featuring in top music videos and shows –, she is a top-flight dancer in Nigeria. YC was with her recently and she had an interesting viewpoint about the profession and how she has been able to make a name for herself.
Please introduce yourself and what you do?
My name is Boluwatife Oladiran and I’m a professional dance artist. I am also an aspiring photographer.
What was growing up like?
Growing up was really fun, wish I could go back to those days. Those were the days that made me the kind of woman I am today. I always wanted to be a dancer and change the world through my dance moves.
What ignited the spark in you to start dancing?
Dancing is not a business but a way of life and an expression. Dancing played a huge role in my growing up because it’s what kept me out of a lot of danger and trouble in the streets. As a child growing up I learnt how to focus on my business and fight for only what’s mine. Dancing has paid my bills and I take it seriously.
How has being a dancer affected your family life?
My parents, especially my dad was very skeptical about the whole dance thing, especially when I have to wear some kind of clothes that expose any part of my body. He would call me up immediately and start complaining. He wanted me to be a lawyer, but seeing how successful I’m becoming by the day and the audience I’ve been getting through my dance, he thinks it wasn’t so much of a bad decision after all.
What is the difference between video vixens and dancers/choreographers in Nigeria’s music industry?
I think this is very explanatory because the job of Vixens is very different and somewhat not as stressful as dancers. Vixens have to sit in a place most times, model and look sexy for the camera. Whereas dancers are always shaking their body trying to give the video the flavour and vibe it needs.
Are dancers appreciated in the music industry for their hard work?
We are actually, but they fail to show it. We are mostly underrated in the industry.
What does it take to be a professional dancer?
It takes passion and a lot of hard work. You have to give it all it takes. Someone once said; if you can think and dream about it, you can achieve it, so never stop believing in yourself.
What are some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I am not a perfect person, but there’s this saying that says try and fail. When you don’t try is when you have failed.