Tantoloun: African dance with voices and other stories

Tosin Oyebisi on guitar, with the group performing at As'Tele  

"Dance is King", says Tantoloun Productions. And they hold their statement as golden, because many young Africans are able to express themselves through dance and tell their stories; stories of transformation, stories of hunger for identity and a quest to build on existing knowledge.

Expressions from Abiodun's 'Traces'

Kudos to the creative squad of Tosin Oyebisi, Esther Essien, Abiodun Bakare, and Esther Ume-Onwujiobi for  giving a better structure to the face of dance.
Inspired for the best through dance, they worked tirelessly to create a platform ‘As’Tele Hangout’, where raw talents on the mainland of Bariga, Lagos and environs gather for positive expressions through dance.

Esther doing 'Just Me'

The group’s performance of ‘I Stand’ was simply warm and consoling, away from the troubles of society. It is both an inspiration and an assurance that light comes at the end of a dark tunnel.

Esther’s ‘Just Me’ a solo performance, showcased the phases of a life; from concept – in slow and galloping body movements to a gradually increasing power dance, the peak of that life. At that point, her dance told the story of vigour, several activities, and her face shows the spark of an active life—youthful! And the story continued as the tempo slowed and gradually flattens.

Tosin Oyebisi

In ‘Traces’, Abiodun’s dance was a story of Africans’ struggle for identity in the Diaspora. Africans away from the continent always want to bear something that expresses Africa; from traditional African clothing such as Ankara and Kente, to beads and even weaves.

Abiodun Bakare

Closely attached to the performances, the audience resonates with the performances. And for what art is, many people gave more voices to each of the performance, seeing more from a particular dance.

Tosin Oyebisi explains that the platform ‘As’Tele Hangout’  is structured to serve as a formal gathering for dancers to express their works just as musicians do concerts, and painters do exhibitions.

 Oyebisi believes that as many young people as take dance seriously can be gainfully engaged because the world wants to see original performances in dance art.              
He explains that Tantoloun Productions wants these performances to give dance a more prestigious place in the rungs of art expressions, rather than serving as fillers.  

 “You know people showcase music as a form of art, and they will now use dance as ‘an in-between’, some use fine arts or some other accounts. But what we are doing as our major art is dance, and we are uplifting the level of dance.

“You will see visual artists do art exhibition, musicians do jazz concerts and all those. But we have seen that there is no proper dance concert, where dance is expressed as the major art itself.

“For us, dance should not be something used for just video shoots or when people want to campaign or sell products. Dance is a huge art on its own and should be portrayed that way. So, we want people to understand that dance has its own power,” Oyebisi said.
The group is putting its works together in preparation for larger stage performances.