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Felabration 2019… Art Castle Academy wins Afrobics Dance Contest

The Art Castle Academy


It was a battle of music and dance at the New Africa Shrine recently, as different dance groups stormed the venue for the 2019 Felabration Afrobics Dance Competition. The dance contest officially flags-off Felabration 2019, a celebration of the music, life and times of Late music legend and Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. 

After an intriguing evening of music, dance and drama Art Castle Academy emerged winner of the third edition of the competition, beating 17 other group and individual contestants to clinch the prize.

Meanwhile, Kings and Queens Art Academy went home with first runner-up prize, while Ennovate Dance House grabbed the second runner-up position. The winners will receive N250, 000, while N150, 000 and N75, 000 will be received by the second and third positions respectively.

 
Art Castle Academy, which interpreted the Zombie song of the legendary late Afrobeat maestro Fela Anikulapo- Kuti, with a strong stage art, moved to the second round with others contestants including, Kings and Queens Academy, Glorious Art Production, Rexwin & Afrika 90, Kalakuta Klan, Star Kids and Ennovate Dance House.

All contestants were given an open chance to choose their choice songs from some of the ever green albums of the late Afrobeat master in the first round to display and drive home the aim of the competition, which is to celebrate Nigerians one time strong voice in the entertainment sphere.
 
The event was witnessed by notable guests, including daughter of late Fela, Yeni Kuti, founder of Felabration, who cohosted the dance challenge. Other notable icons in the art and performing industry including, Makinde Adeniran, Chairman National Association of Theatre Art Practitioner of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter and Lemi Ghariokwu illustrator, artist and designer renowned for providing some of the original cover images on Fela’s albums.
 
The competition was judged by some of the most respected personalities in the entertainment industry including, renowned journalists and former editor of The Guardian, Jahman Anikulapo, Segun Adefila, a professional dance instructor, Adedayo Liadi internationally acclaimed choreographer, dancer and dance teacher, Kunle Kuti, one of Fela’s sons and curator of the Kalakuta Museum, where the artwork exhibition will hold and Funke Kuti, one time dancer in Positive Force (Femi Kuti’s band) for many years.
 
Speaking at the event, Chairman National Association of Theatre Art Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Makinde Adeniran disclosed that the Afrobics competition is a way of executing the ideology of Fela in practical terms by giving freedom to lower cadre of people by giving them the right to education, skill development and display of their capability. Bringing all Fela believes to light is a continued way of celebrating the late Afrobeat master.
 
In his remarks, Raymond Bola-Browne, one of the MCees of the event, said the name Afrobics is an idea of Yeni Kuti, adding that her passion for African music and dance gave birth to the Afrobics dance club.

“In 2017, the committee decided to infuse dance to Felabration because there was the songs, music and no dance; Afrobics is the dance part of the annual celebration. The first edition had ten contestants, season two got twelve contestants and here is 2019 edition with eighteen contestants, which shows there is an improvement,” he said.

Usually held in October, this year’s celebration will run from October 14 to 20 in the city of Lagos which has been its home since inception. As an ode to the capital city of entertainment in the country, this year’s edition is themed ‘From Lagos With Love’.

Lined-up activities that will culminate in the festival are already in full swing. There is the Felabration Art Competition that called for entries in May with the theme ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, a title of one of the legend’s hit tunes. The call for entry will close on September 15 after which the submitted works will be exhibited in the Kalakuta Museum where a group of judges will determine the top three winning artworks and artists. The deciding judges for the competition are Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Mufu Onifade and Sarah Boulos. Legendary Fela’s albums cover designer, Lemi Ghariokwu will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event. The first prize winning artist will be rewarded with N100,000, while the first and second runners-up wins N75,000 and N50,000 respectively.

These will be unveiled on the opening day of the festival, during the traditional symposium event, ‘The FELA Debates’. Coincidentally, this year’s symposium share same theme with the art competition.

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