Nigerian children have become celebrities after a video of their impressive dance skills was shared by the likes of Rihanna and P. Diddy.
The collective is known as the “Dream Catchers,” who were seen busting some intricate moves in front of a battered red bus on a waste ground earlier this year. The youngsters, who range in age from six to sixteen, had no idea about choreography or any traditional aspects of dancing.
The six boys and six girls who make up the “Dream Catchers” can now be seen in the video for Nigerian singer Amada’s homage to their nation’s soccer team, who are battling it out in the World Cup.
“What we’ve done this year is huge. We have gone very, very far,” admits Seyi Oluyole, the group’s resident dance teacher and tutor. She initially started the group as a way to curb the children’s rampant hunger and boredom, whilst also helping them find their way back into school. “They used to come to church in numbers, they always wanted to come and dance,” Oluyole admits. After a while, I realized that most of them were not in school. They didn’t even speak good English.”
However, Oluyole reveals that people have tried to take advantage of the group without providing any proper funds to support the children who live in dire poverty. “Everyone invites us to perform but most people just want to exploit the kids for their product, to get famous… they don’t pay us any money, or very little.”
Regardless, the worldwide recognition these children have attained is enough to keep them focused on their craft, as well as their studies. Oluyole notes how if the any of the members in the group do not receive good grades in school, they are punished by not being allowed to dance for a couple of days, which they describe as being “the worst punishment.”