A photo collection of Nigerian ballet students at home and in the studio


In collaboration with the Association of Ballet Teachers in Nigeria and the Kingdom Ballet Company, based in Benin City, Ballet Rising is launching a series of articles on the history and status of ballet in Nigeria. This article is a Part Three of that series. | Part One | Parts Two

 
 
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Esther Oladipupo

Esther Oladipupo

With the help of Esther Oladipupo, ballet teacher and founder of Kingdom Ballet Company, a school based in Benin City, Nigeria, Ballet Rising learned about the inspirations and motivations of six young ballet students in Nigeria. Oladipupo and the students’ parents took pictures of the girls practicing ballet, holding poses, and demonstrating their skills at home, in their studio, and on stage. 

This photo collection and the mini-interviews below provide a snapshot of the future of ballet. These students’ youthful energy and their enthusiasm for the art form are leading ballet into the 21st century. Although they do not live near the traditional centers of ballet, like Moscow or Paris, they are changing the face of ballet for the next generation, pushing it beyond its historical racial and ethnic limits and its geographical boundaries. These are kids to keep an eye on.

All images courtesy of Kingdom Ballet Company


Morenikeji Enitan Makinde

My name is Morenikeiji Enitan Makinde. I am 7 years old. I was born in the Western part of Nigeria. I live in Benin city with my parents. I am a student of Kingdom Ballet Academy, Benin City. I started Kingdom ballet school in 2016 at the age of 4. I started from Baby ballet class. Presently I’m in Pre-Primary class.

 

What do you like most about ballet? Ballet is fun and it makes me dance well.

Why is ballet important to you? Because I love it and I love what I do in ballet. It is what I love to do.

What has ballet taught you? Ballet has taught me discipline and focus.

 


Tiffany Ken-Otomi

My name is Tiffany Ken-Otomi. I am 11 years old and a Grade 1 ballet student at Kingdom Ballet Academy since January 2018.

What do you like most about ballet? I love that ballet is a beautiful art, the way the dancer’s arms and legs are moved, the head and its facial expressions.

Why is ballet important to you? Ballet is important to me because it is what I love doing, it is my passion.

What has ballet taught you? Ballet has taught me how to be bold, confident, and patient in order for me to understand anything I am being told to do both in school and home. 



Annalisa Udevbulu

Hello, I am Annalisa Udevbulu, and I am 7 years old. I am a Pre-Primary ballet student at Kingdom Ballet Academy, and I’ve been taking classes at Kingdom Ballet since I was 3 years.


What do you like most about ballet? I like learning new routines. Ballet helps me to express myself.

Why is ballet important to you? I want to be a great ballerina.



What has ballet taught you? Ballet teaches me to be disciplined and focused in whatever I am being taught.


Ekene Isagba



I am Ekene Isagba, I am 6 years old. I have been learning ballet at Kingdom Ballet Academy since I was 3 years old.

What do you like most about ballet? Ballet makes me strong, it makes me dance well, it makes me express myself when dancing and it makes me stay focused. It makes me flexible, ballet is fun and it makes me dance well.

Why is ballet important to you? Because I love it and I love what I do in ballet. It is what I love to do.

What has ballet taught you? Ballet has taught me discipline and focus.


Omosede Jasmine Inneh

Good day, my name is Omosede Jasmine Inneh, I am 9 years old and I am a primary ballet student with Kingdom Ballet Academy. I have been with the Academy for 6 years so I started ballet with the Academy at age 3.

What do you like most about ballet? What I like most about ballet is the elegance and the way it is fluent. I like how it looks synchronized and how beautiful it looks when I dance with others in a group dance. Ballet helps me try to be physically fit and strong.

Why is ballet important to you? It is important to me because I like dancing and ballet involves dancing and it is more elegant. I like the fact that it is structured and disciplined and how it promotes teamwork.

What has ballet taught you? It has taught me how to work together and follow counts. It has helped me learn to follow routines and to plan.


Shinda Adeoti


My name is Shinda Adeoti. I am 8 years old and a Pre-Primary student at Kingdom Ballet Academy. I started ballet at Kingdom Ballet Academy at age 4.

What do you like most about ballet? I like ballet because I like to dance, and it keeps me flexible.

Why is ballet important to you? Because I love it and I want to be better in the dance.

What has ballet taught you? Ballet has taught me to be hard working and disciplined.





 
 


Banner image by Habila Mazawaje | Other images by Kingdom Ballet Company