Multiple-award winning dance instructor and keep fit expert, Victory Chinenye Akingbade aka Vicky Dancer, has been dancing for close to two decades, sharing the stage with the likes of Muma Gee, 9ice, Bigiano and the late Sunny Okosuns among a galaxy of stars.
In this chat with Entertainer, the CEO of Just Dance Entertainment opens up on her career and reveals how the art of dance has become one hell of a money spinner for her.
Tell us briefly about yourself
I’m a broad-minded, very energetic and hard working lady whose goal is to help people stay fit and healthy always. I’m happily married to my lover for life, Akingbade Adeleye Panam and we are blessed with beautiful children.
Tell us about growing up?
Growing up for me was lovely. I’m the first of seven children. It was really tough but we pulled through, and we’re still standing. My late dad was my best friend. He was very supportive. My mum too is the greatest woman ever to walk the earth, God bless them.
My dad actually thought I would end up a professional footballer because I was very active in football all through my school days. Though, I was actively involved in some dance groups in school, I was also one of the top female footballers. I participated in some tournaments like Principal’s Cup with my school. Also, I played for Pepsi Football Team, TTC and Golden Girls Football Team.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon but I’m grateful where God has brought me so far, and where He’s taking me.
How did you come about dancing and who were your role models?
I’ve always loved being involved in energetic and lively activities. I practically grew up as a Tomboy. I played football and joined dance groups, winning trophies for myself and school team. I love to use my body flexibility to interpret script and pass messages. That was what really motivated me to go into professional dancing, and also inspired me to study Theatre Arts. I majored in Dance at University of Benin. Today, I’m an award winning dance and aerobics instructor, with lots of awards to crown my efforts, and I know I’m still going places by God’s grace.
I have many mentors but will mention just a few. Michael Jackson is one great artiste that, as a professional, you would like to learn from. Also, Ciara, Scissors Sisters, Beyonce, and of course, my own sister and friend, Kaffy are my mentors
For how long have you been a dancer and are you making money?
I’ve been in the dance business for close to two decades now and yes, I’m making money from it; I mean real money. I love the fact that dance is a serious business and the acceptance now is far better than when I started. Today, parents are allowing their children to go into dancing, eradicating the notion that dancers are corrupt or morally loose. I love my job and I know it can only get better. Moreover, I do fitness for people, and it’s been a great experience working and still working with great personalities and companies; I consult for companies. I’m a personal trainer to lots of clients and it feels so great knowing people really appreciate you. Their confidence in my services really inspires me for better delivery. My passion for my job can only increase daily.
How did you meet your husband, was it love at first sight?
I met my husband in the church where we eventually got married. I don’t think it’s love at first sight, though it might be for him. We started out as friends and I mean, good friends. He’s a music guru, a music director by profession and a very simple person. He’s loved by everyone. Of course, who will not want to be associated with success? He just picked special interest in me, and as they say, the rest is history.
How did he pop the question?
After few months of friendship, I think he just thought to himself that I was the right woman for him. That fateful day, while in my office at Ogba, Lagos, he came visiting and asked we go for lunch at a nearby ‘amala’ joint and I quickly obliged not knowing he was up to something. After eating, he said we should both go to church and pray. I still had no idea what he was up to, as we had become prayer partners. I joined him, and as we were inside the church, he just popped the question. He said ‘Victory, please marry me’ and today we are happily married and will continue to be married till death do us apart.
What does your outfit, Just Dance Entertainment, offer?
We’re a registered dance company with professionals that are energetic, flexible, charismatic, and with good attitude. I also run a fitness centre called ‘Stayfit with Vicky’. I and my team are specialists in dance, video choreography, aerobics, dance training, massage, and fitness consultancy.
Could you share your initial challenges with us as a dancer?
My challenge back then was how to erase the notion that dancers are unserious and I had to organise lots of seminars and workshops including dance concerts involving professionals from different fields, to educate the youths. And that was and is still impacting the industry positively today.
The belief is that dancers are morally loose. How true is that?
I disagree with that belief because it’s flawed; greatly flawed. I represent dancers, choreographers and instructors who are not morally loose and are dedicated to their jobs and remain professionals to the core. Personally, I’m very disciplined and focused. And I’ll tell you what, believe it or not, there are so many like me out there in the world of dance.
Did you ever experience sexual harassment from anybody that wanted to give you a job as a green horn?
(Laughter) There are lots of organisers of events or clients who think the benefits they get for giving you jobs is to have sex with you. Sincerely, I think they look at faces before they ask. No one can or will sexually harass me because of the job they want to give me. Period!
Could you share your saddest moment with us?
Saddest moment? None.
Yes!!! When I was honoured as an African dance queen years back, and my numerous awards too.