Updated: Jun 26, 2021
The world of Afro-Dance is exciting and is constantly expanding and with any area of expertise there are those that excel at it and continue to pave the way for others. In today's spotlight series, we’ll introduce you to professional Afro-dancer, choreographer and Vlogger Nife A. otherwise known as itsjustnife. Nife is a talented dancer born and based in London. She has worked with a significant number of notable musicians, choreographers and even TV personalities. She has been dancing for about 4 years now but has managed to gather a lot of attention in a short space of time.
We found out her motivations behind being a dancer, advice for aspiring dancers and her thoughts about the Afro-dance industry.
So, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
"Well, I studied a degree in Public relations and marketing at the University of Manchester. Afterwards I worked as a customer relations representative at Asos after a while I quit my job to be an entrepreneur and work for myself. I started dancing since when I was about 6-7 years old and I was good at it, so I kept up with it. One of the driving forces behind my career as a dancer is my mother. She took me to a musical theatre school when I was younger, and she has always been supportive of what I wanted to do so it’s just been a natural progression. I've been dancing for about 4 years now. When I first started dancing, I explored it as a hobby because there wasn’t really an industry around it back then and i'm glad to see that it has really grown."
When you first started dancing did you know it would be a viable career?
"To be honest, I had a feeling that Afro-dance would become popular & mainstream back then and even though it’s come a long way from where it was a few years ago, it’s still growing. There are quite a few avenues in Afro-dance that are available now that were not available before. I think this is because of the growth of social media and the exposure Afro-dance has gotten as well. More and more people are knowing about it and it really has opened doors for dancers."
What are your goals as a Dancer?
"To be honest, I would like to keep my options open as much as possible. There is a growing spectrum of opportunities opening up in the Afro-dance industry so I wouldn’t want to commit myself to a specific path. I'll keep doing what I do best and see where it takes me. With that being said I would like to be the first dancer to own multiple businesses. They all don’t have to be centred around dance. It could be a restaurant, theater and so on. I would ideally like to branch out and not be involved with dance only. Sherrie silver is an example of someone who has achieved this mark. She owns a charity, has a successful choreography career and has received a VMA award for her work with Afro-dance"
I would love to see a dance themed restaurant!
We also spoke about one of the events she attended at the Tea building - A seminar held by a panel of creatives speaking to young people aged between 16 – 17 year olds, offering ideas of how they started out and advice for youths looking to get into a creative space. This is very powerful because not everyone would like to get a 9 - 5 job or will even achieve an acceptable level of financial freedom from it. Nife was kind enough to share some of what she spoke about on the day.
"If you really want to take dance as a long-term career option, you have to know what makes you different. There are so many dancers out there, so you need to set yourself apart, network with as many people as possible and be consistent with your craft. You have to evolve and be open to many different ideas and possibilities. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the things that you have to do! One thing I think that sets aspiring dancers back is worrying about the wrong things. Dancers need to learn how to adapt and learn new dance trends, study the industry they are in and change with the times."
What is the most favourite choreography you’ve made?
"I would say that one of my favorite choreographies is with professional Afro-dancer johnny. I think this shows the benefits of working with other dancers. It’s good for learning different dance moves and networking."
Which famous artists have you worked with and who would you like to work with in the future?
"I’ve worked with Sean Paul, Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid and Mr Eazi. Some of the projects I’ve worked on may not always be directly involved with the musicians, but they see me on their videos after its produced and go WOW! I also get approached based on the content I create on my social pages. In terms of who I would like to work with in the future, it would definitely be Beyoncé"
How much do you think an Afro-dancer should charge per booking?
At the moment there is a debate going on about how much people should charge per booking because regardless of if there is a stable price tag for dance services, there are people that are willing to do it for free. However, in my opinion, I think that dancers should take nothing less than £150 for a music video or stage performance and the higher end of the spectrum should be £1000+ per booking. There are quite a few people in the industry that will not charge below a certain rate and there are others that will, however if we all set a relatively standard price for our skills it will eventually become standard practice all round."
I then asked her what it takes to be in the higher end £1000+ spectrum
"You have to be exceptional! Everything you do has to be on point, your presentation, choreography, reputation, putting in long hours, the ability to learn quickly and pick up new styles. It also comes with a lot of responsibility, you need to show up on time, be flexible and display a significant amount of talent.”