Stop! Just stop it! I know what you’re thinking. What am I, a wannabe latin dancer, doing at a hiphop workshop? Don’t judge jor, when you hear a So You Think You Can Dance All star is in town there is no time for dulling! I repeat, no time for dulling!
After a short prayer to the God of hiphop swag, I and my good friend Mima caught the first ride to Corporate Dance World in Surulere to get in on the HipHop workshop with Comfort Fedoke.
I was so excited, having watched her as a contestant and an all-star on So You Think You Can Dance (my favourite dance tv show). I had a deep respect for her talent, rarely do you find female dancers with her kind of energy, passion and determination, it was definitely an experience I couldn’t wait to have.
The class started out with dance workout and stretches, then moved into basic drills (follow the leader tinz) before she introduced the combo’s. I was quite shocked at how well I picked up the moves, the energy in the room was contagious as there was no time to over-think, just dance and go. Plus Comfort is a very good teacher, I picked up the combo pretty well and found myself a partner in swag called Ore.
Now of course I wasted no time booking myself an interview with Comfort after the class.
Here’s how it went down
Comfort actually started out with track and field. Her love for sports, music and art laid the foundation for dance. She started out with her brothers on the street, battling and training with the best and growing as a dancer.
She sang in her local choir and enjoyed writing, rapping, poetry and even drawing. These influences helped her grow as an artist and translate her creativity into her love for dance.
She grew up in Dallas, Texas and is the youngest child of her parents.
Dance and Fame
What kind of training have you received as a dancer and how has that affected your art?
Well my dad made me go to this performing arts school as a teenager, I was and still am a huge tomboy and I almost didn’t go till my dad told me there was hiphop at the school.
Lol, there wasn’t but I did take classes in ballet, jazz, tap and was exposed to the basic foundation of what dance is all about.
I started an all girls hip hop crew called ‘Aaliyah’s Angels’ and introduced stepping and krumping to them at the school too, I’d like to say I made a good impression.
After that though, I trained mainly on the streets.
What was the dance scene like in Dallas at the time?
Dallas was quite limiting. You couldn’t pursue much of a career in dance back then, I wanted to move to LA but couldn’t. Then I was on a show called Dance Club 21 and gained local recognition as a dancer which was good but I wanted more and thankfully in 2008, So You Think You Can Dance came to town.
Tell me about your experience on So You Think You Can Dance.
When SYTYCD came to Dallas, I had nothing to lose. I auditioned with most of my friends and thankfully I made it into the top 20. The show helped me grow and gave me the kind of exposure I needed as a dancer.
How did you handle the fame?
It didn’t hit me until the tour after the show when we went to Canada and the stadium was packed with over 10,000 people just to see us dance. That was when I became aware of the effect my art had on people. It was overwhelming, inspiring and humbling all at once.
I was no longer just a dancer, but an artist and a brand.
I ensured that it pushed me to grow and not abuse the opportunity so I could make the most of it.
Comfort in Nigeria: Maltina and more
Rumor has it you were born in Nigeria is that true?
No, it isn’t. I was born in Texas but my parents brought me to Nigeria when I was 2. We stayed for a year then moved back to the states. This is my first time back ever since and it’s good to be here.
What’s your take on Maltina Dance All?
I think the concept is brilliant, it brings families together. It forces them to embrace their creative side as a family with limited time and training.
It was amazing to experience different members in their element and see children with raw talent go all out like that.
What d’you think of the Nigerian dance industry?
It’s good to know it exists, the dancers however need to learn the foundation of dance that lasts and not rely on youtube and the internet for training alone.
And what do you appreciate in Nigerian dancers?
The energy here is infectious, they have a natural groove they can bring into their dancing which is really great.
What would be your soundtrack for your experience in Nigeria?
Super hype music from the 90’s… Something smooth that feels like home in my favourite year when life felt good.
What are your favourite Nigerian moves?
I learnt and loved the etighi , shoki which reminds me of the ‘naynay’ and the catapaults, some amazing stuff!
Having achieved admirable success as a professional dancer what are your goals?
To be an artist, to fuse dance with music and be the voice of Hiphop.
I still want to grow as a dancer and find a home for proper dance agencies here in Nigeria and most importantly provide training to dancers here.
Inspiring stuff, guess we can say Comfort definitely got Comfy in Nigeria and we hope to see her again soon. *ahem* And I made it through class without passing out, *claps for self*
Ff Comfort on
Below are more photos from the workshop enjoy!