Nqobile Ntshangase was born in South Africa and moved to London at a young age. She has lived in the city ever since. And speaking in various interviews, Nqobile said one thing she likes to do to relax is writing. In fact, she used to write music before becoming a professional dancer.
‘The stage’ is where Nqobile made a name for herself. One-third of the female dance group, CEO Dancers, who found fame as 2013 semi-finalists on the reality TV show Britain’s Got Talent, she remembers that period as an opportunity to fly the flag for African dancing. “There had never been Afrobeats dancers,” she maintains. “That BGT experience opened up a whole new world. Internationally we started to get recognition, so that was when we decided, yeah, this is it.” The growing interest and media attention surrounding the group was the excuse Nqobile needed to leave university in order to become a full-time dancer, touring with world-famous artists, such as Drake and Rihanna.One major highlight of her career was when she went on tour with superstar musician Drake. Describing her experience, she said: “Drake is probably my favorite artist to have worked with so far in my career. From watching the show before we join him on stage, how he totally owns the stage with consistent energy like an athlete, and how much he truly loves his fans and connects with them is just so inspiring. He’s such a genuine soul.”
With increased globalization, aided by a new, digitally connected generation, African music is not only influencing the sound of grime stars in the UK but also acts as a source of creative rejuvenation for popular US musicians. “Drake had never worked with African dancers before. He could have used any other dancers,” Nqobile maintains, as she recalls her involvement in his Summer Sixteen tour. “We’re from the UK, he’s Canadian living in America. There are so many talented dancers out there.”
A testament to the presence of Afrobeats beyond the borders of its home continent, the art form has seen exponential growth ever since D’Banj’s 2012 smash hit ‘Oliver Twist’ was played at the Thames to welcome in London’s New Year celebrations. And it continues to rise, with the likes of Fuse ODG and Wizkid holding a strong presence within British charts over recent years, their songs blasted everywhere from mainstream radio channels to West London clubs. “Everyone is embracing it and I feel so proud”
That’s why I was so strung on pushing the Afrobeats dancing”. The term Afrobeats is synonymous with dance, as its rhythmic afro-inspired beats rouse people to move. Now, the boom of the internet has reinvented the ways in which audiences access and share these routines, with Afrobeats YouTube tutorials racking up millions of views in a couple of days. “It’s inspiring to see people appreciate and embrace a different dance style and now everyone is doing it”.
Hailed as ‘the top female African dancer’ by the press, Nqobile is often praised for her contributions to the growing Afrobeats phenomenon. She has quickly become the poster girl for Afrobeats dancing, as she regularly solicits for the global recognition of African artistry. “People have so many good things to say about Africa now, unlike before. . . . You feel proud of your culture and the whole African culture.” Thus, Nqobile takes her title seriously, not just for the representation of her cultural background but also to place a spotlight on dancers, who are regularly overlooked and under-appreciated in the music industry – as she describes it, “the bottom of the food chain”. This is a feat that she undertakes on her own, as she transitions into a solo performer separate from the dance group. “At first, I did have a lot of nerves and fears because I’m so used to having two other strong women next to me, supporting me on stage,” Nqobile admits. “But now, I’ve been involved in so much solo work and I feel like I can hold my own.”She was featured in Davido -If (Official Music Video) released on Feb 17, 2017, which reached 115 million views on Youtube.*
SOME OF HER WORK :
- She was featured in Davido –If (Official Music Video) released on Feb 17, 2017, which reached 115 million views on Youtube.
- Look at her released on July 6, 2020, on Youtube.
- Dreamchaser released on May 27, 2020
- Maleek Berry – Kontrol (Official Video)