Tag: Dance

Meet: Ibrahim Suleiman

Ibrahim Suleiman is a multi-talented creative and one of the newest additions to the cast of Tinsel. An artist in various forms of expression varying from dance to writing to architecture and more by night, he is your bespectacled, bearded Captain Quest

ibrahim-5

Who is Ibrahim Suleiman?

Firstborn of Aisha Edna Suleiman.

Child of God.

Creative, Multitalented, Chill.

– Tell us what it was like growing up in Kaduna

Wow…growing up in Croc City was simple. I miss that the most, the simplicity of life. School, lunchboxes, mother’s baking, Voltron super ted and sesame street. Friends who were like extended family. And the beautiful weather. And kaduna was SO safe!!! Like we didn’t have a fence until I was in Uni!!!

– What are your major influences in life?

My Mother. She was my everything.

Creatively, my influences are diverse. From the cartoons I saw as a child, to Michael Jackson, to Robert Ludlum, Ted Dekker, The Wachowski brothers, Guy Ritchie, etc. The list is endless, as you can imagine seeing as I am very interested in different forms of artistic expression.

– How did you develop your sense of humor?

Hahaha. Mahn…it would just HAVE to be hanging with my mom and sibs. My family is ridiculously funny. I am the least humorous in my home. That should tell you something.

– As a multi-creative, list your talents in order of preference.

Dude. This one no possible o. Hahaha.

I’d say artistically, I have seasons.

Sometimes Digital Art has all my attention.

Few weeks later, I get a dance project and I breathe dance. Then it could be Acting, or Writing or Architecture and so on. It just depends on the season really.

– Is there anything you can’t do that you wish you could?

I honestly wish I could play the piano.

Or rap! Yes, I wish I could rap. Lol

– Define ‘Dream Catching’ as a creative entrepreneur

Hmmm…if it harnesses your creative energies and it can make a difference in yours and the lives of a bunch of folk, chase it down, catch it and work it until it blows up

– What’s your dance story in summary?

Wow…That’s a whole book’s worth of story telling you’re poking at o.

I picked up dance on the campus of ABU zaria at the age of 17/18. Then I got saved, joined YWAP and was made the head of the dance department (SOULDQUEST) we went on to put up over 100 dance based concerts on almost every federal university campus in Nigeria and a number on campuses in Ghana, Benin Rep etc. Then we went on to win The Malta Guinness Street Dance Africa 2008.

After that, I became a brand ambassador for the brand, did tvcs for them, GTBANK, MTN, interswitch, etc.

– What would you say was your first big break in entertainment?

Winning Malta Guinness Street Dance Africa

– At the time, what did you like about it the most and the least?

I loved the fact that we had a access to a larger audience.

Didn’t dig the impression people had that if you’re an entertainer, you’re a heathen.

– What valuable lessons have you learnt from the Nigerian entertainment scene?

Everyone has an angle.

Talent is never enough.

Maintain your day ones, they’ll help keep you grounded.

Call your mother daily.

The brands don’t care about your values.

Never burn bridges.

Help as many people as you can, but remember to keep climbing.

Save up.

– As a creative what do you prefer, working behind the scenes or in the limelight?

Working behind the scenes.

There’s more money there. Lol.

– What do you consider to be your biggest achievement to date?

To be honest…I don’t think I’ve achieved much as an entertainer.

As a person, now that’s a whole different story.

– Having worked with a lot of young talent over the years, what are the major challenges they face?

They are in such a hurry, it is heartbreaking. So instead of being a steady flame for 2 decades or more, They’re just a firecracker for a festive season.

– So Captain Quest, if you could have a super power other than dance, what would it be?

The thought process of the human mind fascinates me. So I’d love to read minds.

– Tell us about SeekYou Art

SeekYouArt started off with me attempting to find myself creatively every day.

Basically take what I learned yesterday, apply it in different ways today and see what I learn from the process which I’d use tomorrow.

It then inevitably evolved into a series of pretty dope pieces of art and a couple of people started placing orders for wall art. Then t-shirts. Then mouse pads, dogtags, tote bags, etc.

Lol, it has been quite an experience of learning and growing and making money hallelujah

– If asked to describe the last 12 months in 3 words, what would they be?

Loss. Recuperation. Growth.

– If you had to travel what would be the two things you would not do without?

Besides personal hygiene stuff?

My digital work device and bank cards.

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You are not entitled

You are not entitled

Dear Artist,

You are not entitled

You are not entitled to anything on the mere basis of talent. Your natural gifts do not afford you the pleasures of life without hardwork, passion and commitment, as well as a good attitude.

It’s sad to see how talented artists in Nigeria waste away because they lack one or all of these things.

Now let’s start by acknowledging a few things that serve as a point of justification and defense. Yes, we know that pursuing a career in the arts is tough and takes forever to pay, yes we know you need the money because times are hard and of course, it is understood that perfomers are not given their true worth but guess what; this happens everywhere in the world, movies have sold you gloss but the truth is, the struggle is real every where.

This doesn’t give you right of passage because you have it tough. Everything good in life comes with huge sacrifices that have to be paid. Those that excel are the ones that understand this, your gift is to be honed, shared and given freely before you can receive. Like a seed sown into the soil, you must wrestle with the sand to bloom like a flower.

Sadly, many an artist want to just become the flower without going through process. ‘Hian!’

If that were the case, everyone ought to have ‘hammered’ by now. But let’s not digress.

Talent is not enough, this can’t be overly emphasized . All talent gives you is a head start, you have to put in the work, go the extra mile to make something of it and succeed. If you claim to have passion for the talent God has freely given to you, then you have to have the discipline to train and hone it to perfection, the humility to learn from others and serve and the patience and commitment towards becoming the best version  of you.

No one can motivate you but you and the people you choose to look up to. Age is not a factor to consider when looking for a teacher or a mentor, experience and expertise is.

You must learn to maximize your strengths and daily grow and learn by outsourcing your weaknesses. Chei! Grammar!

Here’s what I mean: So you think you can dance right, baddest Naija lyrical hiphop dancer ever liveth etc etc but you suck at Naija styles and you know you need to learn. Pick the closest person to you with that skill, swallow a huge drop of humility and learn. Learn till you are as badass as your teacher or good enough to continue on your own. If you believe in value exchange, when you’re done learning, offer to teach your baddest hiphop too. Win, win for all.

Your attitude to work and opportunities determine how far you go as an artist. But first you need to have your priorities in check, if money is your inspiration then this isn’t particularly for you, but if your goal is artistry, mastering your craft, teaching it to people and creating a body of work exportable to any country in the world, then listen up.

You have to pay in time, service and your own funds to grow. Pay for training, volunteer to perform at platforms that will give you the kind of visibility you want and work with people who can move you forward.

READ! Artists seem to hate this word, not all but quite alot. You have to do research to grow, you can’t just rely on what you know. The internet is your friend but are you using it to your advantage?

Attitude. Every human being has an ego. Artists seem to blessed with robes of ego laced with pride and a crown of rudeness. *pauses for effect*

It’s the hard cold truth but we forget that these things do not help us and when displayed, only belittle us and what we have to offer.

People do not patronise pride, it doesn’t pay the bills and it is a bad investment but if that is what comes with your art then you will deprive yourself of greatness. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow but we must see it for what it is, the truth.

As artists we are too sensitive, too quick to take offence or be on the defensive. Too quick to judge but we hate criticism. Creating ‘beef’ that can feed a nation because you don’t want to be told what to do. Here’s my question, ‘ Who E EPP?’ At the end of the day, work is work and play is play, if you can’t tell the difference then, it’s your problem to deal with and nobody else’s.

On a lighter yet serious note, in order to be taken seriously in an industry of this nature, you must respect yourself and work ten times harder than anyone else. Throw your heart and soul into it, fight for what you love. It’s a harsh environment to live in, Nigeria that is, and it isn’t as conducive or structured enough for the arts industry yet but let that not become the excuse to do a sloppy job. Work your butt off and become the best, you may have been unappreciated and treated wrongly but never let it break you but build you.

Your response to your situation determines how far you go in life. So don’t give up, this art will pay if you put in the work and you will never regret pursuing your passion.

This comes from a place of truth, we would never grow without it

Yours,

An artist

The Adventures of Isys Drain: #danceGATHERING

The Adventures of Isys Drain: #danceGATHERING

 

Experiencing a day of art, outside of dance has forced me to put words to the journey that was #danceGATHERING

http:/isysdrain.wordpress.com/danceGATHERING
#danceGATHERING

I’ve always been a passionate dance enthusiast and my frustrations with the industry were deeply rooted in the myopia that ran deep in the artists, the insistence of maintaining a status quo that had obviously done more harm than good and the celebration of mediocrity hinged heavily on ignorance and the lack of exposure.

Chei, I’ve come with my grammar but it is the truth. The constant battle against this mentality relegated my interest in the dance industry to the background until I was fortunate and blessed to meet Qudus Onikeku, Nigeria’s foremost dance export and visionary. He has turned out to be more than a dancer and artist but a catalyst of change (not the Baba ‘Bu kind of change)

As I stated in a post I wrote on the ‘gram while I grappled with words to best express the impact of the festival,

‘You can’t grow a people within the four walls of your mind, you grow a people by creating a world they can see from the things they have refused to acknowledge’ – Isys Drain

Qudus has chosen to explore the growth option, using his platform and access as a spring board for the growth of the dance industry rather than self-grafitication. 

The Lagos Contemporary Dance festival, also known as #danceGATHERING, is a five day activation and celebration of dance, preceded by an intensive dance training program called danceLab which runs into the festival and lends pieces to the final dance exhibition at the end of the festival.

The festival went beyond training and opened up hotspots for artistic exchange all over Lagos through various events like CROSSINGS (a conversation between two artists with various means of expression) and dancingCities (a street dance performance by artists within the community of choice and guest performers) all of which formed the body of festival.

The road map we followed throughout the festival was enough to cause one to think outside the box. The line-up gave no room for old thoughts only possibilities.

Though the year’s theme was MO•[VE]•MENTS, I experienced it within the various kinds of human interaction and the visible effects it had on the parties involved, be it the teacher-student relationships between the guest instructors and the participants of danceLab, the somewhat silent partnerships between the artists of CROSSINGS or the message passed from performer to audience. 

Words truly do not do the festival justice. Stand out performances for me on the final days were ‘Fatou Tas Tout Fait’ by Fatoumata Bagayakou which addressed female circumcision with a haunting yet liberating appeal,  ‘Iwalewa’ a piece I had seen in snippets but was finally able to witness in its entirety and was brought to tears by (yes I’m a cry baby but it’s got to be good work to open the flood gates) and of course ‘Ijo Agba’ because the music of the piece brought back loads of memories and I found the fusion of indigenous music and urban Nigerian dance styles, rather amusing.

There’s so much to say and I honestly would like to go on but for fear of boring your socks off, I’ll stop here and say some experiences are best had in person than through the words of another, so brace yourself for #danceGATHERING 2018 so we can experience it together. For now check out danceGATHERING on Instagram, Facebook, twitter and qdancecentre.com for more details.

Chei, the English it haff finish. I’m out.


danceGATHERING


danceGATHERING 
…repositioning dance in Nigeria…

http:/www.isysdrain.wordpress.com/danceGATHERING
danceGATHERING

           

Lagos is set to play host to dancers and choreographers from Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, Bamako, Tunis, Maputo, Washington and Paris, in a major dance gathering the country is yet to witness this year. 

The QDanceCenter, a brainchild of Nigeria’s foremost dance export, Qudus Onikeku, is back this year with the debut edition of danceGATHERING | Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival. This mammoth project has garnered the support of the National Theatre, Institut Français, Goethe Institut and has been adopted by the Lagos @50 committee under the chairmanship of Prof. Wole Soyinka. 

The danceGATHERING is a two-phased project with a two-week long dance lab (20 Feb. – 5 March 2017) followed by a five day dance festival (1 – 5 March 2017) in various venues around Lagos. 


The artistic director of the festival, Onikeku, made it known through a statement that “the artistic directorial style of danceGATHERING 2017 proposes MOVEMENT as a major character, not solely a thing to be watched, but something that allows our audience to be jostled, activating different hotspots for dance in the breathtaking city of Lagos, making a deliberate action of turning the entire city into our play area.” 

He further noted that “Because the city (of Lagos) is already noisy and fast and surreal, and dramatic with constant movements, I have curated a program, which rotates between 10 venues around Lagos, both in conventional spaces as well as improvised spaces. In a span of five days, we shall create an opportunity for our audience to step out of their comfort zones and move with the flow, going against traffic from Ikoyi (QDanceCenter, Omenka gallery, BogoBiri, JazzHole), to Iwaya, back to Lagos island (City Hall Rooftop), then Victoria Island (Revolving Art Incubator, Silverbird Galleria), to a stop in Bariga (Crown troupe, Mbari Mbayo arts center) and Surulere (Corporate Dance World), before culminating at the National Theatre Iganmu. ”

Lagosians will witness an outpour of dance performances, exhibitions, international creative collaborations and exchanges including DANCING CITIES and CROSSINGS, amongst others. The gathering also aims to provide an array of opportunities for dancers across the country.
The festival will close at the National Theatre, with works by Onikeku himself along side a host of others, in collaboration with one of Nigeria’s leading theatre directors, Makinde Adeniran (of Saro, the musical).

danceGATHERING is the first of its kind in Nigeria and arguably West Africa, and we invite YOU to be part of this history-making event from February 20th to March 5th, 2017.

Press Release: danceGATHERING

Press Release: danceGATHERING

https://isysdrain.wordpress.com/danceGATHERING
#danceGATHERING

danceGATHERING : Repositioning dance in Nigeria. 

Lagos is set to play host to dancers and choreographers from Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, Bamako, Tunis, Maputo, Washington and Paris, in a major dance gathering the country is to witness this year. The indefatigable QDanceCenter, a brainchild of Nigeria’s foremost dance export, Qudus Onikeku, is back this year with the debut edition of danceGATHERING | Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival. The laudable project had been given a major backing by the National Theatre, Institut Français, Goethe Institut and adopted by the Lagos @50 committee under the chairmanship of prof. Wole Soyinka. 

The event is designed to have a double face, a two weeks long dance lab (20 Feb. – 5 March 2017), which dissolves into a five days dance festival (1 – 5 March 2017) in various venues around Lagos. The artistic director of the festival, Onikeku, made it known through a statement that “the artistic directorial style of danceGATHERING 2017 proposes MOVEMENT as a major character, not solely a thing to be watched, but something that allows our audience to be jostled, activating different hotspots for dance in the breathtaking city of Lagos, making a deliberate action of turning the entire city into our play area.” 

https://isysdrain.wordpress.com/qudusonikeku
Qudus Onikeku

He further noted that “Because the city (of Lagos) is already noisy and fast and surreal, and dramatic with constant movements, I have curated a program, which rotates between 10 venues around Lagos, both in conventional spaces as well as improvised spaces. In a span of five days, we shall create an opportunity for our audience to step out of their comfort zones and move with the flow, going against traffic from Ikoyi (QDanceCenter, Omenka gallery, BogoBiri, JazzHole), to Iwaya, back to Lagos island (City Hall Rooftop), then Victoria Island(Revolving Art Incubator, Silverbird Galleria), to a stop in Bariga (Crown troupe, Mbari Mbayo arts center) and Surulere (Corporate Dance World), before culminating at the National Theatre Iganmu. ”

Within two weeks, Lagosians will witness an outpour of dance performances under DANCING CITIES and the INTERNATIONAL DANCE PLATFORM, there’ll equally be a dance and photography exhibition with the theme of MO|VE|MENTS, featuring 9 brilliant photographers from Lagos and Abuja, also in the program is CROSSINGS – an exciting creative space where 16 top Nigerian and international artist(e)s are paired to, share notes on their creative process andthought patterns before a live audience, not forgetting the MASTERCLASSES offered by the best in the field of dance, for practicing and prospective dancers.

At the danceGATHERING, there is something for everyone, and all the activities build up to the CLOSING NIGHT at the National Theatre, featuring two major works, one by the participants of the festival and another choreographed by the travelled dancer, choreographer and convener of the gathering himself, Qudus Onikeku, in collaboration with one of Nigeria’s leading theatre directors, Makinde Adeniran (of Saro, the musical).

For a Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival, where there are millions of people to be reached, danceGATHERING seeks to find new ways to be much more significant within such landscape, challenging both the local and visiting artistes to step out of bounds, provoke reactions and insist in being fully part of the city life, creating situations where a wider range of audience is stimulated and entertained, by providing for them a palette of diverse dance forms, both from the local and international dance artists. 

In that, the festival is therefore working to include dance, as part of the art forms rendering visible the multiple juxtapositions that shape daily life in Lagos. danceGATHERING is the first of its kind in Nigeria and arguable West Africa, and we invite you, a member of the fourth estate of the realm, and the people of Nigeria to be a part of this history-making event from February 20 to March 5 2017.