In this episode, we talk to Vicki Igbokwe and Shane Shambu about Celebrating Diversity with Dance.
The two artists we invited to take part in this episode each make extraordinary, distinct work using an original voice. We ask them about where their work takes its influence, how they have been able to make it, find audiences for it and how free they are to experiment with it.
We start off by exploring Vicki and Shane’s beginnings – discovering how they found dance and where and how they learned their craft. Then we touch upon the first of many similarities between these two inspirational artists – their three ‘e’s – empower, entertain and educate… and how these same values infiltrate into every decision they make about the work they craft and the people they aim to serve through the making of it.
I share my perspective as a white woman, watching Vicki’s The Head Wrap Diaries and Shane’s Confessions of Cockney Temple Dancer, and how I found myself gaining another perspective on the world. I ask our guests “is this intentional – are you trying to share an aspect of your cultural heritage? Or is there something else driving the telling of these stories?” The answer is complex and simple at the same time. Our guests tell stories about life as they see it and experience it. The want and need for the sector, myself included, to stereotype artists and ‘stamp’ their work with a label we think we understand is something that has to change if we are ever going to let artists be truly free to make the work inside them.
We talk about authenticity and freedom to explore… how free did Vicki and Shane feel to explore movement language and stories and how necessary or helpful is the concept of ‘authenticity’?
Finally, we talk about curiosity and conversation and the ways in which both artists float between cultural boundaries and expectations, how they draw the audience into their work and just how much they dislike the post-show talk!
Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production Presented by Melanie Precious Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
Recording date: Wednesday 22 September 2021