From time to time, Dance Exchange is fortunate enough to be able to host artists through our internship program. Each internship is particular to the individual artist, and the duration and responsibilities are shaped in collaboration between the interning artist and their DX partner. Sometimes these artists come to us from a great distance, and sometimes they are found in our neighborhood. This spring, we welcome an artist who currently lives here, but whose stories have traveled many miles. Currently in his final year in the MFA in dance program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene is in his first few weeks of an internship at Dance Exchange! Sinclair will be helping us out on a number of fronts, including contributing to our blog (so stay tuned)! We sat down with Sinclair to get to know each other a bit more, and to help you all get to know him, too. We are so excited to have such a dynamic and wonderful person on board this spring!
[Editor’s Note: This interview is between Matthew and Sinclair; their initials of MC and SE, respectively, have been used to note who is speaking.]
MC: Can you tell me a little bit about your life here in DC?
SE: My name is Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene; most people call me Sink, Gaga, or plainly Sinclair. I think Sinclair works fine, though. I am currently an international graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD USA. I can say am in the DC metro area. My life revolves around the school, dance, and anything dance related. As an international student, there’s just so much one can do outside of the jurisdiction of the University campus. That said, my life pretty much dwells in that sphere, and I love every bit of it.
MC: And what were you doing before you moved here?
SE: Before moving from Nigeria, my home country, I owned a dance company, where I taught, choreographed and danced with some amazing individuals in the South-south, and South-west region of Nigeria. The last three years before my arrival to the States, I danced from Sunday to Sunday. I danced, taught dance, and some more dancing.
MC: So much dancing! Well, we are glad you found your way here. What drew you to wanting to do an internship with Dance Exchange? How did you learn about DX?
SE: Dance Exchange has a “ space” that I find very comforting as an artist. I do appreciate the amount of “dance business” that goes into the daily dealings the organization goes through, which is something I don’t have an experience in and the knowledge of, neither do I have the skill required. So, interning with Dance Exchange will give me the basic insight to how, and what it takes to be in the dance business, thus, exploring the knowledge I gained from my University lectures to good practical use. I learned about Dance Exchange from the University of Maryland who has had a long-standing relationship with Dance Exchange.
MC: We certainly do have a great relationship with UMd. In fact, I think our last intern was also a graduate student in dance from the University of Maryland. What are you looking forward to during your internship?
SE: I look forward to learning and knowing how dance projects are planned and executed, how the space is effectively managed, how dance practitioners communicate effectively with non-dance organizations in ways they can understand and collaborate to the success of dance making and practices.
MC: Yay! It sounds like you’re really interested in work that bridges the artistic and administrative- I think that has been a unique experience I have found at Dance Exchange, too, and one that has really elevated how I enter into artistic processes. And how do you see this internship informing your own dancemaking?
SE: From my time so far at the University of Maryland, I have learned a lot about the Western dance making process, which I find most innovative and am very excited to begin to use all of these skills to shape my practice as a dance maker. This internship will further inform the way I plan on executing my process in engagement, communicating, and seeing differently, as I have been doing for the past two and a half years running.
MC: Well, I hope we get to see some of that. Let’s make sure to make that happen. I have one last questions, Sinclair- what do you do when you’re not in class or at DX?
SE: When am not in class teaching at the University or Dance Exchange, I am spending time with my partner who am excited to be sharing my life with at the moment, and doing more social dance forms like Salsa (Salsa On1 and Salsa Rueda), and Country line dancing. I can also just have a long routine of watching vintage Olympic or World championship athletic competitions and also artistic gymnastics are some of my favorite things (can’t wait for Rio 2016 summer Olympics to commence)!