Interview with Afrobeats Dancer and Choreographer, Izzy Odigie.
Iziegbe “Izzy” Odigie is a 22-year-old Afro-fusion dancer/choreographer who is killing it. Born in Brooklyn, but she grew up in Edo State (Nigeria), Izzy started dancing at a young age while in boarding school, and rose to the top. In 2007, she moved to the states and trained in hip-hop and other dance styles. While in university she co-founded the TRŸBE Dancerz which are a talented group of fierce, female African dancers that are not only busting the best dance moves, but creating the trends as well. While in this group, she performed at many events for several Afrobeats artists. One of her first viral videos was with her dancing on stage with Ugandan Artist, Eddy Kenzo. This video of Izzy went viral on Instagram and other social media networks. From then on, Izzy has danced in numerous music videos, performed at One Africa Fest, working with the likes of Tiwa Savage, Mr. Eazi, and more. In 2017 her choreography for Dj Flex – Eggplant went viral as she introduced her Eggplant Tour, where she teaches her choreography.
We had the opportunity to speak with Izzy to find out her dance history, and her future plans and many more!
What’s a day in the life of Izzy Odigie?
A normal day consists of me being a couch potato! I can literally spend a whole day sitting in the same spot catching up on my Netflix shows or listening to music that makes me daydream.
When did you realize your talent for dancing and when did you decide to create a career from it?
I’ve actually been dancing my whole life! It’s just something I’ve always done. I’ve always found my way to dance in each environment. It’s almost like I need it to be comfortable with new surroundings. However, the funny thing is I never saw it as a career path. I actually always dreamed of becoming an actress. It never clicked in my head that dance could be my true path – well, after I entered college. During my sophomore year, I was already part of a hip-hop dance crew that connected me with lots of cultural dance teams on campus. The President of the ASA had seen me dance and advised the next President to consider me as Captain of the ASA dance team for the following year. When that offer was presented, I agreed although I had no idea what I was gonna do. However, things just seemed to fall into place perfectly. Before we knew it, we had choreo down and then our first gig. I realized this was a destined path for me to follow, I just needed to meet Afrobeats.
When creating choreography, what is your process like? Do you choose a song and then create a routine to it?
When I create choreography, I love putting myself in a state of “flow”. Headphones are extremely important (BEATSbyDre – I’m looking for sponsorship lol) Sometimes, riding on the train and repeatedly listening to a song can put me in that state. When I’m about to sleep, playing the song with lights off, helps me “flow”. I am able to feel the vibe of the song and picture moves that match that feel. Choreography comes easily at times but at other times, I get brain farts. But I always let things happen as they may. I never force it.
How do you balance and maintain the school/dance/life?
I graduated in May ! School is out of the way! We thank God! As for balancing dance and life – that’s pretty easy cause as the cliché saying goes – “Dance is life!”
How was your #EggplantTour?
The #EggplantTour was simply amazing – just literally getting up and getting it done. I am thankful for my team that helped make it possible and for all those who came out to support and show out!!!! We have bigger and better experiences planned for the future so be on the lookout!
This year, you also performed for Tiwa Savage, Mr.Eazi, One Africa Fest and many more. How did these opportunities arise?
When One Africa was approaching, I reached out to the main choreographer – Kaffy. I knew participating would result in other gigs. From doing that show, I was able to perform with Tiwa Savage at the Chicago Festival of African Arts and of course, Budweiser’s Made in America. As for performing with Mr. Eazi, he needed a choreographer and dancers for his set at the tidal x Brooklyn event. A colleague of mine sent him my work and it went from there – found dancers via TRŸBE, choreographed, practiced and killed the show.
And how was it working with Choreographer Kaffy?
It was cool!!!!! She’s an OG in the game! It’s always an honor to learn from someone who’s been killing it and influencing the industry.
What has been your most memorable moment this year so far?
My most memorable moment this year was the #EggplantTour. I have such a wonderful and driven team around me! With that, I can go for my dreams and push until they’re achieved. Seeing people come out in the various cities was a true blessing. We had a great mix of people every time! The youngest person was 7 years old and the oldest was 72. Lord Jesus! This year was simply AMAZING!!!
Who is your favorite musician to dance to?
That’s a hard question. I enjoy so many different sounds. I just let the music move me forreal. If It makes me dance, I dance!
How are you adapting your dance style to the rapidly changing Afrobeats genre from the authentic Nigerian style to the styles created in the diaspora?
I consider myself an Afro-fusion dancer. I have been trained in lots of different styles and I’m not afraid to mix things up. I am constantly looking to learn, grow, and see how I can create new steps and sequences that interpret the music I hear.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I hope to have built up TRŸBE, a talent agency for dancers specializing in Afrobeats, to the level I envision. I hope to have already been on a world tour with a musician of my choosing, as their main choreographer. Most of all, I just hope to have the same hunger and passion I for dance that I do now or even more.
Lastly, do you have any advice to those who look up to you that also what to pursue a career in the arts?
Collaborate and create! Have an open mind and be willing to learn new things. These skills will take you a long way. Be patient and stay true to your vision.