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Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene

Assistant Professor

Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene, MFA is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). As a dancer, choreographer, educator, and dance researcher he investigates and creates works that challenge notions of race, dance style and human identity. His work explores concepts of traditional and contemporary paradigms of Nigerian West African dance, Contemporary dance, cross-cultural spaces and immigrant artists that traverse them, the way language and social structures shape people’s intrinsic values, and racial politics and power dynamics particularly the encounters black bodies have as they move through white spaces.

Prior to joining VCU he collaborated with the state arts council of Edo State Nigeria as the Director and Choreographer for the 2012 National Arts Festival, NAFEST. He guest lectured at the Loyola Jesuit College Abuja Nigeria, University of Benin Nigeria, and State cum regional colleges and secondary schools in Southern Nigeria. In 2009 he founded WXZY Arts Factory in Nigeria (now Sinclair Dance), and in 2011 choreographed for the acclaimed Nigerian film, I’ll Take My Chances, the first Nollywood feature length film about dance.

Born in Jos Plateau State Nigeria he moved to the USA in 2013 for his MFA and subsequently started his company Sinclair Dance. He holds a BA in Theater Arts and Mass Communication from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, and an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Maryland, College Park.

His creative research has been supported by and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (KC), Washington D.C.; The Clarice at the University of Maryland, College Park; University of Benin, Nigeria; Royal Arts Academy, Nigeria, and the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA. His choreographic works have appeared on Africa’s largest cable TV broadcast – DStv; The Kennedy Center World Broadcast – Social Network with over eight thousand live viewers; Nigeria film industry Nollywood; Nigerian Television Authority NTA; and Independent Television Station ITV, Benin Nigeria.

His current performance works include: Ainihi E Alteridade (Performing Otherness), a collaborative residency commissioned by The Clarice and Joe’s Movement Emporium NextLOOK 2019/2020 season is a partnership with Brazilian musical artist Pablo Regis Oliviera and Irish dance ethnochoreologist Dr. Kathleen Spanos. It is rescheduled for December 2020 with plans to publish a collaboratively written post-performance article.

The Performance and site-installation, African Traditional Animus and Dance Installation looks at how verbal curses live within the idiom of Nigerian vernacular and its place as a survival mechanism to check and balance the human socio-economic experience. The work integrates voice archives and soundscapes based on early Nigerian playwrights Zulu Sofola, Ola Rotimi, Wole Soyinka, and Ahmed Yerima and will be presented Spring 2021 at VCU.

As a second Kennedy Center commission, Emoghene was selected as the first dance artist-in-residence for KC’s newest community arts space, The REACH. Facets of Esoteric centers on racial equity and embellishes the idea of dance as installation will premiere at VCU’s Anderson Gallery August 18th – September 30th 2020.