At a recent event, multiple award winning Nigerian Dancer, Kafayat Shafau-Ameh, aka Kaffy bemoaned the general health state of her colleagues.
Kaffy said, “More than 98 per cent of dancers don’t have health insurance and self-awareness. The majority lead a lifestyle of drugs, peer pressure, poor mental wellbeing, and personal irresponsibility. This is the bane of the industry. Until every corporate dance leader is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that every staff (dancer) has a valid health insurance cover.”
She made his known when her non-governmental organisation, Kreative Arts Foundation for Youths collaborated with other stakeholders in the industry to host a virtual leadership summit.
The programme which was attended by healthcare providers, health management organisations life coaches, dance group leaders and dance artistes discussed improving the welfare of dancers in the country.
Speaking further, Kaffy maintained that the dance industry was unstructured for a variety of reasons.
She added, “The dance industry is largely unstructured for many reasons. Firstly, the low level of entry into the industry is a problem. The art of dance in Africa is appreciated even when one is not a professional. Because of this, many young people don’t go through the proper channels of training. Many dancers operate from the place of talent alone and do not harness the skills or improve in areas they should by going to dance schools. We may not have enough dance academies in the country, but there are (some out there). A lot of young people form groups based on the common interest of dancing.
“In my case, when I started, I thought of the services I wanted to provide. I immediately looked into registering a company and structuring it as one though I was dealing with the challenge of getting people to understand contracts and other issues.”
Asked if she would want her kids to follow her footsteps, Kaffy who is a mother of two (A boy and a girl) said that although she doesn’t compel her children to dance, they are in love with the art form.
She said, “Yes, my kids are taking interest in dance. I don’t force them to but it’s what they see around. They love dance because it is what they met in the family. As to whether they would be dancers in future, I don’t have an idea. They may grow out of it but it is one skill they would possess for the rest of their lives.”