AmaVogue is the first ever dance class that fuses two very interesting and expressive dance moves, Amapiano and Vogue.
This month, we spoke to Nii Nai, a 19-year-old creative, creator of the AmaVogue dance and founder of the AmaVogue dance class about the inspiration behind the moves, his love for dancing, and his future plans for his events.
JF: Tell me a little about yourself and how you started dancing.
NN: I like to describe myself as an all-around creative, but my main creative outlets are dance, creative directing, and photography. Specifically portraiture, fashion, and editorial photography.
I've been dancing since I can remember, but I started taking it seriously at 11/12 years old. When I was younger, I watched music videos on pop culture and slowed them down so I could learn all the moves. Growing up, I had very little interaction with others so I had a lot of time on my hands to practice and learn to dance. I'm completely self-taught but I hope to change that soon. I'm planning to take some professional classes next year.
JF: What were the first dance genres you were interested in?
NN: Growing up in Ghana, I had a lot of influences from Afro-French music, Ghanaian, and Nigerian Afrobeats. So I grew up around the dance steps that come with those genres of music. However, the first dance I tried to learn was breakdancing, you know, popping and locking. I was obsessed with it and I used to record myself dancing until I got the moves perfectly. After that, I started seeing videos from Chop daily and other pages that shared choreographed Afrobeats dance moves. So those were the next steps I tried to perfect and when I got those, I started exploring how I could merge dance moves.
JF: I am a big Amapiano fan, so I would like to know why AmaVogue? What inspired you to merge both of them?
NN: I got into South African music in 2014/2015, when the whole Afro House scene was bobbing up. Then in 2018/2019, I started engaging with a lot of queer content and that's how I discovered ballroom, I didn’t do much with it until the lockdown in 2020. I was home like everyone else, and I had a lot of time on my hands to explore the moves and perfect my voguing.
When Amapiano became more popular, I was itching to learn new dance steps so I fell right into it. The idea for the fusion was actually very random. I was around a lot of queer influence, so one day I was doing some Amapiano moves. I added voguing and it just made sense.
It was very interesting because both dance steps are very expressive, they both have some connection with house music and they both use similar hand and leg movements.
JF: What is your biggest goal with the AmaVogue Dance class?
NN: Right now my goal is to take AmaVogue from a concept that is in my head to a teachable choreography. It’s one thing to think up a dance concept and it’s a completely different thing for it to become something that has structure and can be taught as a dance routine.
I am also very conscious of making sure that I teach people about the background of both dance steps and making sure they are fully aware of their influences. This is because when things become big and commercial, they can easily be co-opted. So what I do is, as the classes are ongoing, I do a bit of history and theoretical background lessons as well.
JF: That sounds great! Do you think this is something you will do more of? Will there be more classes?
NN: After the last class which held on the 17th of September, I will be taking a break from doing the classes here in Ghana. I’m considering doing one in the UK but I have to see what the interest is like, and who I can partner with for it to make it happen. So, fingers crossed.
I will be back in Ghana in December and I will definitely be more classes here when I get back.
JF: What piqued your interest about Tix?
NN: Before I decided to pursue the creative arts, I used to have some interest in tech. My mom works in tech as well, and living in the UK where everyone is used to using tech products to solve ticketing needs made me open to trying it out.
Also after seeing that Tix is an African startup and checking out the website, I thought it looked very youthful and vibrant. That convinced me to go for it and create an account.
JF: What is your favourite Tix feature?
NN: My favourite feature is the mobile money integration. Momo is very big here mostly because of the accessibility. It was really nice to see that integrated on the Tix platform, so my guests aren't just limited to card payments.
JF: Thanks a lot for speaking with me Nii Nai. We wish you all the best with AmaVogue!