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My Journey with IRIE! dance theatre

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Ofelia Balogun – Dance Artist, Graduated from BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles

Ofelia Omoyele Balogun is a dancer, movement artist and dance backpacker. Currently, she is part of IRIE! dance theatre as a teacher, delivering our Women’s Dance Classes weekly. Discover more about her experience as a student of the BA in Diverse Dance Styles and how that journey allowed Ofelia do discover her artistic identity.

  • What was your best moment at IRIE?

The journey with IRIE! was full of many best moments. So, I’m sharing with you my ‘Top 3’: 

The first one was when I have been accepted in the Program and I understood that I could become what I was “just dreaming of”. The support that I received from the founders and the teaching staff since the beginning made me feel at home. They constantly filled me with a vision of determination, allowing me to get out of my comfort zone in a safe space. 

The second moment was when our teacher Lincoln Allert held a speech about “the difference between a technician and performer”. A moment that opened in me a window to a completely new perspective, a lesson that had an enormous impact on the relationship that I currently have with the Art of Dance. 

The last moment was when I realized that I could really focus on developing my own dance language in an environment where feedbacks were given considering your uniqueness and your development according to what makes you, YOU! 

These moments shaped me not only as a professional but also as a woman. 

  •  What is the greatest lesson you take from your time at IRIE? 

I would say that was when I realized that I was joining a movement. My journey as a Dancer or Movement Artist was not only about me but about what we can represent with what we do. Choosing Irie! was like choosing myself and the vision of what dance could be in the UK in terms of African and Caribbean traditional dance. When I chose this Programme, I knew that I was joining a pioneer group of artists making a revolution in the dance industry, going beyond prejudices and stereotypes about African dance and the black body. I felt like this journey was bigger than my individual one. 

  • Can you tell us a little bit more about your artistic journey?  

My journey began in Italy, where I studied Dance Theatre, Poetry and Hip-Hop at a very early age. After moving to London in 2012, I started to take independent classes until I finally decided to apply for the FdA Dance Degree at the Metropolitan University with Irie! dance theatre. After graduating, I decided to start to explore deeper my knowledge and interest in anthropology and narrative in African and Caribbean dance. So, I travelled to Cuba, Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia and Italy.  

In 2019, I decided to join IRIE! to complete my studies, now in the (BA)Diverse Dance Style at IRIE! dance theatre validated by the University of Roehampton. 

 In Italy, I collaborated in "Mirrors"(2019) production in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the International Cooperation and GriotMag(azine) about the new Italian African Diaspora and the concept of Identity. Recently, I was also part of the theatre play “La Bestia” (The Beast) as the Movement Director. Also, I worked as a writer and performer for “Cantieri Meticci”, by Pietro Floridia.  

I had the opportunity to develop two main dance pieces on the theme of immigration " I-M-MIGRANT" (IRIE! Dance Theatre 2019/2020) and a solo dance concept about identity and duality in the body of culture " The Willow Tree "(Serendipity / UK-2019).

In collaboration with Irie! dance theatre, I provide regular women-only dance classes and independently I began a series of workshops in which Movement and Research of the self-intertwine underlining the importance of "Decolonizing the mind and body", offering to individuals a new working method that speaks of Origins and Awareness that aim to disintegrate the prejudices that we cultivate in ourselves.

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