June 2020: Afrobeats
Q&A with Isaac Gasangwa, Co-Founder of AfroBeats Vancouver
Facebook @Afrobeats van
Youtube: IZO DreamChaser
What would you like us to know about Isaac Gasangwa?
I started dancing at the age of 17 before graduating from high school. Growing up in a poor country as Rwanda where dance is not considered an art form, I was successful in creating the first Afro – Hip Hop dance studio and became founder of the best dance group in Rwanda. My passion and insight pushed me to do a lot of projects to help my country as well as my dance career. Some of my projects are my foundation called “Jabbajunior Foundation” and my dance event called “Rwandan Dance Festival.” In 2014, I moved to Canada (Vancouver) to extend my knowledge as a dancer and dance instructor. My determination in succeeding pushed me to train in martial arts, Gymnastics, and Hip-hop. “Stars are born, not made”, Dance and Art have been part of my life; and without them I would have no purpose. I work hard and try to improve a little every day, learning something new along the way.
Tell us about Afrobeats and the work you do.
Afrobeat Dance Vancouver is a fusion of all African dance and Hip hop. It was the idea of @Izodreamchaser to promote African dance in Vancouver and unify people from all over the world through training and performing. Students learn about Africa’s history and culture, the foundations of Afrobeat dance to advance levels and build confidence in free styling and party dancing. We normally teach Friday evenings at the Scotiabank Dance Centre and can’t wait to start again soon!
What was your path to building Afrobeats?
Afrobeats Dance Van started outside on Robson St with just volunteers and anyone who wanted to dance. It soon moved to the Dance Centre studios where it evolved and grew. After moving here, I realized that there was a lack of diversity in the dance community and I wanted to be part of the change and bring transparency of African culture.
Could you share something that has inspired you?
I like helping people, I’ve always used dance to help someone in need, artistically or physically. After the genocide in Rwanda, the government used entertainment to attract young adults and educate them in other things and I had been fortunate to be part of it through my dance club and foundation.
Can you describe your core practice in three words?
Dance to educate.
How have you adapted during the pandemic and how has this impacted on how you engage with your work now?
I used this time to rest, reset, and re-energize myself.
I am a Dance Centre member because…
It makes the studio rental cheaper. Lol .
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here
Photos courtesy of the artist