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Teaching Statement

 
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Teaching

In 2014 I walked into my West African dance class at the University of Maryland, College Park USA. This time however, it was a class filled with people from various ethnicities. I was afraid of what the outcome would be. I knew I wasn’t only going to share a couple of dance steps with them but to share my entire culture. In other to reach my goal, I used various new media and embodied practices I had learned from my years of study to make the class an experience. I collected video recordings of movements and sounds, used projection to display images of motions, costumes, landscapes and cultural landmarks of my people and of Africa to create a little African in my Maryland class. The movement taught were broken into bits so that the young lady from China could understand the body rhythm and the young man from Pakistan could sing along. They read books and articles I had read while at home in Africa and listened to my stories. Most importantly I allowed them watch me, so they learned through sensing. The little nuances were very important and through the course of the semester they learned a lot from me through all the many channels of embodied transmission. My class took a different look. They wore African rappers and sang the songs better then I would.

 The core of my work is both embodied and intuitive. As a modern African dancer I have been influenced by the world around me. In my one body are different cultures, cultures my people in Nigeria have come across through time.  To the north of Nigeria where I was born is a huge Fulani/Arabian - Islamic influence and to the south where I’m from is the Bantu culture. I live at the intersection of modern and traditional dance expressions. I have a strong classical traditional dance and a strong influence of the western world. This makes my body a confluence of expressive dance art that speaks and reach a wide range of people from around the world. My classes have been very successful through the ways that I teach and the experiences that I bring to the table. I believe students come from different walks of life and they bring their experiences with them, I believe that I am there to guide them, I see their aesthetics because I allow myself to listen and understand and accept them, for this reason, I allow the collaborative-ness of my artistic works to bleed into my daily dealings in the studio with my students