“When Dance is LIFE: Africans/Nigerians Taking Over the Dance Scene One STEP at a Time ” – w/ Ugo Nwabueze

According to Dictionary.com, Dancing can be defined as, ” to move one’s feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music”. Dancing is really big within the African culture, and I love how our AfroBeats music is becoming mainstream, and our dances are also becoming International. Therefore, I wanted a platform where I could highlight a few individuals who are representing Africa very well through the art of dance. The first feature goes to a dancer who I very much enjoy watching anytime he pops up on my timeline. Not only is he easy on the eyes, but his dance steps are smooth as well. He does a great job bringing the song lyrics to life. Not only does he inspire those on the dance floor, he also does in the classroom, now serving as a Middle School Principal, and through his style launching a new high quality African Clothing Line called ” IFE COUTURE”. So please enjoy my interview with Mr. Ugo Nwabueze also known as Pedrology below!

 


1.Hello! Please let everyone know who you are! What is your full name & what are you normally referred to as?

My name is Ugochukwu Nwabueze, but many know me as Pedro or Pedrology.  I adopted the name Pedro in school because I loved Spanish, and became fluent in the language during my college education—after studying in Spain.

2.Where were you born & raised? Did your upbringing have an influence on how you dance today?

I was born in Houston, TX.  My upbringing did somewhat have an impact how and why I now love dance.  I grew up extremely interested in learning Igbo and learning about Igbo culture.  My parents took me to Nigeria for the first time in 1994, and I was unable to communicate with my grandmothers, who were both unable to speak English.  Honestly, I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  I wanted to be able to communicate with my family and I thought it was incredibly odd that my grandparents would speak to me and I couldn’t respond. It was when I realized that I must learn how to speak Igbo.

For me, learning Igbo also meant learning more about different aspects of Igbo culture, which included dance.  I started to be more intentional about watching my uncles and aunts at Nigerian functions in Houston, watching Igbo movies, attending an Igbo speaking church and joining the choir, and watching Igbo music videos.  Soon enough, I was imitating the very people I was watching and my love for Nigerian/Igbo dance began to develop.

Before you know it, I was dancing professionally with one of the strongest dance troupes in Houston called Otu Umu Oma dance troupe.  I founded this dance troupe because I was inspired by another dance troupe in Houston called Ugobueze, led by Crystal Obih and her mother.   Crystal and I are friends now, but then we were arch enemies. Lol.   I applied to be a part of Ugobueze and I was denied, which inspired me to start my own dance group.  Since then, we have one first place competitions, and I have not looked back.

3.Did you go to school to enhance your knowledge on dance? If so please explain, if not what degree did you pursue and why?

I did not go to school for dance nor did I take any dance courses. I studied biology/pre-med during my undergraduate education and Education for my graduate degree.  I studied biology because I was expected to go to medical school.  For the longest, my parents wanted me to be called “Doctor.” Unfortunately, that was the dream that my parents had for me, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted it for myself.

During my first year as a teacher, I realized that medicine was not my passion and that I could no longer live for my parents. I had to live for myself.  I knew that education was my calling, so I pursued a graduate studies in Education at Harvard University and got into school leadership soon after.

4.What inspires you to dance? What should the viewer take away or interpret when watching you dance?

Dance is a spiritual connection between the dancer and the music. Often, upcoming artists ask me to dance to their songs, but it is hard when there is no connection.  If you think about it, it’s hard to dance to a song you do not like.  When I dance to a song, it’s probably because I had a deep connection with it.

Dance is an art and should be respected as such. When viewers watch this art, they should rid themselves of opinions and thoughts, and be completely open to the message that the dancer is attempting to convey.

At times there is no message and there is simply the art of dance. The viewer should watch the dance and accept its beauty for what it is.

 5. What is your favorite genre of music to dance to?

I love dancing to traditional Nigerian music.  This is actually my area of expertise.

6.Are there any upcoming projects that you are involved in, that we can look forward to seeing?

At the moment, I am focusing my energy on being a strong Principal and Fashion Designer. I have started a new fashion line called IFE Couture that just launched on Memorial Day. The line offers high quality African pieces that are hand made in Lagos and made with love—hence the word “Ife” which is Yoruba for love. We hope that you check us out. https://ifecouture.com

7.I see that you offer dance classes in various states… how can people sign up?  

People can follow me at @pedrology11 to stay posted on the city that I will go to next.  You can also reach me through my website at www.igwecultural.com.

8.We all know most African parents who are only aware of the “main three careers” of being a “Doctor, Lawyer, & Engineer” … what advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in dancing, but their parents insist that they go to school or get a “normal job” instead of following their dreams?

I spoke about this earlier, but is important that you live for yourself.  Your parents are not going to go to work for you everyday. Your parents will not pay your bills.  Your parents will not go to school for you and take the classes that you do not want to take.  You will be responsible for yourself.  Therefore, it is imperative that study what you love and follow the path that God has set for you. Your parents might not like your decision, but so what?

9. At the end of the day, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind for people to remember you by?

I would like all people, especially Igbo people, to know that I had a strong sense of self pride. I love every bit of me, especially my culture. I would like for people to be inspired by that love, that it makes them love themselves more, too. I would also want to be known for being passionate, committed to positive change. I have done a lot of work as an Educator–I hope that people respect and honor the work I have done to give back to the community and to have a lasting impact.

10. How can people get in contact with you via email or social media outlets? 

People can get in contact with me on IG @pedrology11 or email at ugoeze860@gmail.com.

Thanks for Reading!

-Madam Koverage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *