21 July 2018

Kenya: One On One - Aggie the Dance Queen

interview

She is a dancer, choreographer and a costume manager at Sarakasi Trust. Her "Odi" dance and iconic jumpsuit on the "Short N Sweet" music video by Sauti Sol featuring Nyashinski has taken Kenya by storm. She spoke to BONIFACE NYAGA on life as a dance queen.

Your outfit has become very iconic with your rise to fame. Where did you get it and how much was it?

The designer in charge of costume picked it as the first option from the many outfits that I had carried to Sauti Sol's video shoot. I bought it in Eastleigh like four months ago but that was the first time I actually wore it. I am glad it was a jumpsuit; it's the right outfit that really flattered my body and complemented the dance.

When did you first realise that you were becoming a celebrity?

Well, I don't believe I am a celeb. I am just lucky that more Kenyans got to know about Aggie, even though she has been around for a long time. I call it God's time.

How has your new-found fame changed your life?

People greet me more often now, which I love despite being a quiet person. I have more social media friends, so I am always online trying to chat with my fans, as I mentor some. My neighbours are a bit shocked to realise that I am the same chick who has been living next to them all this time.

However, I still buy sukuma or beans where I used to, go to Gikomba to buy fish, walk to work and board matatus. In fact, believe it or not, this has humbled me.

What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you since you became so famous?

I am just shocked how things escalated from a simple dance. I can't believe that one video has brought so much inspiration and a new wave of appreciation from all over the world.

When did you first realise that you would do this (dance) as a career?

As a passion, it started a very long time ago. As a career I would say about six years ago. I did not go to any school, I was lucky to work at the best dance company in Africa, Sarakasi Trust. The persistent and relentless effort of my teachers Edu Ooro, choreographer Oscar Mwalo, Teacher Sly and Renee Githinji shaped me.

I am now working my way up to be one of the best dancers, trainers, and choreographers in Kenya. It has taken hard work, research, discipline, prayers, passion to be the fearless, fine dancer and choreographer that I am.

Which other projects have you been involved with?

I did Niko na Safaricom in 2013 and appeared in several videos. Outside the country, I have done cultural programmes in Holland, Phoenix Circus Theatre in France and a launch in Nigeria, just to mention a few. About two months ago I performed at Formula 1 in Bahrain, and as of Saturday I am now a certified Zumba instructor, so I will begin classes very soon.

It's been said you are going to Dubai, what are you going to do there?

Yes, it's true, I am performing at Kiza lounge in Dubai. It's my first solo performance; I am really excited.

What would you say is your worst experience in your dance career and what did it teach you?

I once auditioned for a very big project but I was turned down. It taught me that you can't always get a yes; and a no, though painful, is also okay. Sometimes a no is God teaching you to be patient because he is about to open another life changing door, just believe in the process.

Your husband is a choreographer, and Showbiz industry is very challenging for people in relationships. How long have you been with your husband and how do you maintain your relationship?

We have been together for four years. He held me down and believed in me even before the world did. He believed in my dream and supported me in every possible way and for that I thank and respect him. He is an angel sent my way to tame my ego.

We have separate work and private life because respect and love in any relationship comes from knowing the boundaries. My husband is my critic, adviser, manager, hubby and my life. We actually hold dance competitions in the house; we have so much fun.

What is next for Aggie the dance queen, and what is the one thing you want to achieve in life?

Aggie the dance queen is a brand that I hope to grow beyond myself. The fans brought it to life, so I want to give back to the community. I am planning to have community outreach programmes and sponsorship.

My dream is to have a healthy and educated nation through my Zumba training. Aggie the dance queen is more about using dance for women empowerment, health, inner peace, education, love, and unity.

With your success, many dancers are now looking up to you, what is your advice to dancers out there?

Find your passion. Remember, nothing is served to you on a silver platter, unless of course you are having dinner in a star hotel... ha ha ha.

Work smart, be unique, be creative, do your research. Always believe in yourself; others will support your passion if you make them believe in what you do.

Respect everyone, be self-disciplined and set high goals so you have something to work towards. Remember to always compete against yourself, be better than you were yesterday; then you will know you are growing.

Above all commit your work, might and thoughts to the Lord and he will expand you in every way.

QUICK FIRE

1. What's your favourite dance move?

Odi with swag.

2. Favourite colour?

Black.

3. Favourite outfit?

The jumpsuit.

4. What's your comfort food?

Fish with ugali.

5. App you can't live without?

YouTube.

6. One thing you could change about your body

Nothing. It's perfect.

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