Updated: Apr 24, 2022
Chances are you have noticed a recent uptick in Afrohouse dance visuals on you IG timeline coming from the New York City Area. The culprit is a tight knit group of AfroHouse dancers (@meka_oku @tany_ora @amilliondegrees and @dansaboyshaq ), who love the culture and are pushing for greater acceptance/awareness of the style within the New York City Afro dance scene.
AfroConex caught up with two of the dancers (Tany and Amilya) to talk about the group's latest collabo video and Afrohouse dance:
AFROCONEX: What is it about Afrohouse dance that draws you to the dance ?
TANY: Afrohouse is still relatively young as a style so it is still raw and not as commercial as other Dance styles from Africa. It keeps reinventing itself along the way, and gives space for a world of creativity and personal recognition/growth within the style. Afrohouse helps you find yourself and your identity, it doesn't shut down the history/experience of your mind and body.
AMILYA: Afrohouse has. Rawness that I love. There are no boundaries to what you can do and how you can express yourself through the style. It’s wild and it’s powerful. And it’s impossible for me not to move when I hear the music.
AFROCONEX: Being that this style is from Angola, how do you stay connected to the style and how do you keep growing within the style?
TANY: With the style being from Angola and given that the majority of the Angolan diaspora is in Europe, I would say that social media is the key tool for me to stay connected to the style. I get inspiration from old YouTube videos of steps and from the show where Malunne is a host (Essa Miuda dansa bue) From these I discover the newest and trendiest music/steps and non social media dancers from Angola. I use Instagram to follow and connect with other dancers worldwide who are also interested in investigating the style.
And I use SoundCloud sd my resource to search for new music and discover the djs!
Once i have the info (steps, music, dancers etc), i take my inspiration from them and copy them. I study them and understand them. Then I drill them until I make it (the steps/dance) my own. Alongside that personal work, I do also take as much classes as i can, either in person or online. I believe I can always learn something from anyone.
AMILYA: YouTube and Instagram videos for sure. It’s difficult to fully feel and connect with the style when you are not surround by or immersed in the culture, but it forces me to do the work to learn and seek out ways to grow and learn within the style.
AFROCONEX: One thing visible on your individually pages is your own unique flow/style within AfroHouse; what would you say are the biggest misconceptions about Afrohouse dance style ?
TANY: The biggest misconception is that people are always associating AfroHouse to be a footwork based, very serious and non groovy style. For me this is a hugeeee misconception of the style. It is the total opposite! Footwork represents 1/5 of Afrohouse in my opinion because I perceive the dance as having 5 elements that keep communicating and interacting with each other in a harmonious way, all with same level of importance:
4- Party steps
AMILYA: I would say the biggest misconceptions are that it is only footwork based. I myself believed it was as well prior to learning the style. I think another misconception is that it isn’t that difficult to learn, especially if you are versed in other footwork based or Afro Dance Styles (other than Kuduro). Afrohouse Is extremely challenging. You will not be good at it the first time you try it, ever. I think many people want to be good at it and learn choreography (which is awesome), but with the misconception that hit will come naturally or be easy. It is not! It is a very challenging style that pushes your bounds, and takes a lot of resilience and consistency to grow in.
AFROCONEX: Do you consider Afrohouse dance a difficult dance to learn ?
TANY: No it is not difficult. But you need a good teacher, thats for sure. And also the will to learn. So I would say it’s not difficult but it’s also not LAZY neither. Repetition is key! You definitely gotta be active in your learning process!!
AMILYA: Extremely. There are many many many levels to this style. You can never stop growing and learning. It takes a lot of trial and error, relating and drilling. It is so challenging, but rewarding and fun at the same time.
AFROCONEX: Specific to the collab video; what inspired the 4 of you to collaborate on a
TANY: For me it’s the need to dance and create with people with him you don’t need to explain the style. The need to share a moment, a vibe with someone that has bodily experienced the style and now sits in it. Being able to dance fullout without overshadowing anybody... IT FEELS RIGHT, CHALLENGING and give us the opportunity to learn from each other, be more productive and grow as a unit all together.
AMILYA: Our love for Afrohouse of course. We share a common love for the style, and growing/learning with one another. Mika, Shaq & Tay have all been amazing teachers for me and helped me grow immensely in Afrohouse. Dancing together with them was an absolute pleasure and I’m so grateful!
AFROCONEX: Was the choreography a collective effort ?
TANY: There are 2 videos. One was created collectively, and the other was an already made combo that we finessed all together for the ending.
AMILYA: Not so much on my end at least. Mika and Many took the lead on choreo and Shaq chipped in as well.
Be sure to follow @meka_oku @tany_ora @amilliondegrees and @dansaboyshaq for more Afrohouse from New York City!