Talking Moves Series 4 Episode 3: Celebrating Diversity with Dance

Talking Moves | 29 October 2021

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!

Who's Who

Vicki Igbokwe head shot

Vicki Igbokwe

Vicki Igbokwe is a coach, choreographer, facilitator, and movement director working in dance and theatre; and the founder of Uchenna Dance, a London based dance company on a mission to Empower, Entertain and Educate.

She is a trustee for One Dance UK, the UK body for dance and an associate facilitator at People Make It Work who support the cultural sector to change and develop.

Career highlights include work as a Mass Movement Choreographer for the London 2012, Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies, Glasgow 2014 commonwealth games opening ceremony and the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games opening and closing ceremonies and a sponsorship deal with Nike.

Her mission is to enable those she works with to Think Fierce, Be Fabulous and Live Free Spirited.

Photo: John Cassidy – The Head Shot Guy
Shane Shambhu headshot

Shane Shambhu

Shane Shambhu is a multi-faceted artist whose initial training was in the South-Indian performing art of Bharatanatyam. As creative director of multilingual theatre company, Altered Skin, Artistic Associate of Centre for Advanced Training Yuva Gati and currently Artist-In-Residence at DanceXchange, Shane’s artistic career spans many different roles across artistic genres including work with BBC, British Council, Complicite, Royal Opera House, Theatre Ad Infinitum, Shobana Jeyasingh, Simon McBurney, Nigel Planer and Marcus Du Sautoy to name a few. Following his successful show Confessions Of A Cockney Temple Dancer he is currently creating two new productions for touring in 2022. He is currently creating a new digital cross-cultural film with British Council India and curating the 2nd edition of Unleashed, an international event -series as part of Birmingham International Dance Festival.

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