Seyi Oluyole, Nigerian choreographer, has constantly attracted the attention of many in the country and abroad — even renowned celebrities — for her deeds via ‘Dream Catchers’, a charity dance group made of kids from indigent families.
The 27-year-old Lagos-based scriptwriter founded the dance group in 2014 to help street kids, school dropouts, and children from low-income families gain access to formal education like their privileged peers.
Oluyole’s passion for the less privileged children began some years back when her father lost his job and her family was forced to move to a slum in the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos.
In a interview with CNN, the choreographer narrated how she monetized the group’s potentials by training them to perform songs belonging to celebrities and thereafter tagging the acts in question when the video is uploaded on Instagram.
“What I used to do is we find songs where the music video is not out yet. We dance to the song, put it on Instagram and try tagging the celebrity. The first time I heard that Naomi Campbell was coming to visit us, I nearly shed tears,” she said.
“Things had been so hard and the troubles have been so much that I was actually on the verge of giving up. We composed a song and one of the kids who loved to draw acts drew a picture of her. The first time they saw her, they really hugged her because she was like this beacon of hope.”
Seyi Oluyole a choreographer is giving kids a better life through dance at Dream Catchers, and has even caught the attention of Rihanna pic.twitter.com/V9KCtczglh
— CNN Africa (@CNNAfrica) August 22, 2019
On weekends, children in the Oluyole’s neigbourhood, situated on the northern flank of the commercial city, throng her makeshift dance studio to practice new dance moves. They also learn lessons and additional values in the process.
“These kids have been through so much that they have certain habits and characteristics that have to be corrected. Sometimes they’re caught in lies and other times, doing wrong things. Most times, when they’re done with rehearsals, they cry and say the want to follow me home,” she added.
Although Oluyole hasn’t legally adopted the kids, their parents have all entrusted them in her care to enable her put them in an environment better than where they were living.
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Long before she officially founded the group, Oluyole had been practicing with the kids intermittently on account of her undergraduate degree and two-year masters programme which she had enrolled for in the United States in 2012.
Aside from making the headlines of prestigious media outfits like Al-Jazeera and CNN among others; Oluyole and her kids have caught the attention of celebrities like Rihanna, Barbadian singer; Naomi Campbell, British actress; Sean ‘Diddy’ Comb, and Cardi B, US rappers.
In 2018, DJ Spinall, Nigerian disc jockey, teamed up with Wizkid, Afrobeats superstar, to produce his new song ‘Nowo’ and the Dream Catchers performed a dance to it that eventually went viral.
Campbell and Rihanna shared the video on their handles, a move which put the group in the spotlight and attracted millions of likes and views cross the world.
Diddy also showed the Dream Catchers some love in 2018 when he shared their video with the caption “Mood All Weekend.“
In March 2019, Cardi B hailed the group using a video of them dancing to ‘Please Me’, one of her latest hits.
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I want to thank @dreamcatchersda kids for always showing love and sending me sweet videos saying hi to me .It makes me soo happy to see kids loving me and even knowing me and enjoying my music from across the world!!.Guys follow @dreamcatchersda if ya ever want to feel motivated and want a smile on your face! These kids are always full of life and energy.I LOVE YOU GUYS ❤️
“I want to thank Dream Catchers for always showing love and sending me sweet videos. It makes me soo happy to see kids loving me and even knowing me and enjoying my music from across the world,” she wrote after the reposting their video.
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