Updated: Jan 12
Afro-dance is an exciting and powerful display of art through dance and with any field of art there are those that excel at it. We decided to talk to a few masterclass dancers who convey the beauty of Afro-dance and display the passion it takes to be a professional Afro-dancer.
Today we’ll focus on Felix Yoofi Greene Anyinsah otherwise known as Yoofigreene! Ghanaian Afro Dancer, founder of dance with a purpose (DWP) in China and a key member of DWP in Ghana. If you are even remotely interested in Afro-Dance you would regularly see his videos as one of the top trending videos on Instagram.
He has also worked with notable artists like Mr Eazi, Eugy, Teni the entertainer, Orezi and Victoria karmani. He also performed at one of the biggest cultural festivals-Afrochella in Ghana this December.
We decided to approach this talented dancer to find out how he found the passion behind his craft, his view on the growth of Afrobeats dance as a profession and how he founded an afro-dance group and attracted a significant following in China - A country that knows next to nothing about African culture.
Introduction to Yoofi – His background, Hobbies, education and motive behind moving to China.
Yoofi is very passionate about his craft and has clearly put in the time to get to where he is. He lived in Ghana for about 25 years. He initially studied Psychology in Ghana, however he wanted to expand his horizons by studying in a thriving global economy and China seemed to be the optimal option.
‘It was really challenging balancing my studies with my dance projects. When I first arrived in China there was nothing that represented what I had in Ghana in terms of dance, culture or even music! So, I had to create this for myself’
In a way he carried a piece of Ghana to China to make himself comfortable which is quite respectable. However, this took a lot of time and effort. When introducing anything new there will definitely be some push back especially if it’s culture.
‘Over time people came to admire and even want to learn my type of dance and I used afro-dance as a channel to change the perception the Chinese have about Africans.’
He used dance as a way to show the people in his environment that Africans have the energy and talent to create something complex and exciting. It was his way of showing his environment and the world at large, that Ghana has so much to offer the world. This is so powerful and is an inspiration to not just dancers but others trying to pave their way in any field outside their home country.
What inspired you to become a dancer?
‘I have been dancing since I was a kid. When I got into high school it turned into my passion. I danced a lot with my friends in Ghana but I still took it casually at the time. However, the lack of African culture in China, inspired me to become dedicated to Afro-dance and use dance as a platform to educate people and spread the joy of the art form.’
What is DWP’s goal?
‘Our goal is to set in stone that Afro-dance is a form of art that should be valued. People usually take background dancers or choreographers for granted and tend to focus on the singer or performer.'
This is definitely something we agreed on during our interview because it takes a lot of time and physical endurance to choreograph and produce an Afrobeats dance performance.
‘Our ambition also spans beyond Ghana. In addition to setting up in China, we plan to set up in the USA, India and more countries in the future’
With the amount of noise that DWP has been making within their community and on social media these are achievable goals. They have also been visited by notable celebrities like Sherrie Silva and have received sponsorships from Ghanaian companies for their performances.
Who is your Biggest Inspiration?
‘It would have to be Chris Brown’
When he mentioned Chris breezy, I was a bit surprised because they both have different fields of work, but as he went on, he made everything clear.
‘In addition to being a successful singer, Chris Brown is an artist that is also renowned as a dancer and a businessman. He is multitalented and unconventional. Which is what I strive to be!’
Who could argue with that?
What do you feel is the earning potential of an Afro – Dancer in today’s market?
‘Depending on their presentation, work ethic, skill, number of notable artists they have worked with, amount of work that they put into their routine and craft, they should earn anything between $600 to $1000 per booking’
This is a reasonable price tag as no music video, live show, festival, wedding or musical performance does well without skilled dancers. Dancers are steadily becoming part of major events, music videos and parties.
What would you say to aspiring Afro-dancers and what they should avoid?
‘Dancers should build their craft and not focus on the money initially! It takes time and effort to get noticed in any field. Start-up dancers tend to rush to the paycheck without building up a following, dance skills or reputation within their niche and I think this is why a few dancers fail.’