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Meet Afrikka Hollinger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Afrikka Hollinger.

Afrikka, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My passion for dance started at a very young age. Although my family couldn’t afford any dance lessons for me, I would love to create dance routines with my friends or watching people like Rihanna, Beyonce, and Ciara so closely that I could do every dance they did in their videos. I’d perform at my school events – Black History Month or graduation ceremonies. Even though it wasn’t huge showcases or competitions, it was all I had and it mattered so much to me. After moving to Mobile, Alabama for one year in sixth grade, I decided to begin training myself in dance using only what I’d see on television or at my Baptist church while watching the praise dancers; I figured then that if there was no way, I’d make one. I decided later that year to perform a freestyle routine at my school’s talent show and literally got boo’d by the entire student body. It was probably the most humiliating day of my life, but it was also the most inspired I had ever felt. It made me want to prove to myself that I could be everything I wanted to be if I kept pushing and never stopped learning.

Years later, after moving back to Atlanta I tried out for the majorette dance line in high school. Making the team afforded me the most performance opportunities and training I had thus far. I had the privilege of performing in multiple football games, basketball games, parades, competitions, and celebrities like Tyler Perry. After being apart of the dance line for three years, I had taken on the biggest challenge of my dance career, I went to Brandeis University and set a plan to found, choreograph and coach the schools very first majorette dance line. Having almost no technique training or let alone experience choreographing or coaching, me and three of my co-founding partners successfully assembled a team of 15 ladies to perform in similar events that I performed at in high school. In the midst of training them for a total of three years, I was also training myself for my future post-collegiate solo dance career; it actually pushed me harder because of the fact that I needed to be the best example for the team that I could be. During the final semester of my senior year, I decided to leave the team and train someone to take my position earlier than planned so that I could really focus on improving myself and learning how to dance/choreograph by myself. I would spend 4-8 hours a day in the dance studio teaching myself new things and free-style dancing. Now that I am five months post graduation from the university, I am a member of two dance companies, MadHouse Management Co and Rubiez Dance Agency. Although I still have so much growing to do in my craft — as I always will, I am excited to see what my future holds.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to achieving your dreams is never easy, there will inevitably be struggles. My longest and hardest struggle has been teaching myself everything I know. Sometimes not having a solid training background, when I’m standing in a room with some of the most trained people I’d ever met, it feels both inspiring and mildly intimidating — but it is always a learning experience. I’m never too intimidated because I know that I can do what they can do if I just keep working as hard as possible. Hard work beats talent any day. I’ll continue to work hard and even network with the people I encounter so that we can discuss ways that we can support each other.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a dancer and I am in the business of bettering myself. I never want to minimalize my craft to a “specialty”, therefore I like to stay in a neutral zone as a dancer where I can retain as much knowledge as possible. So far, I’ve taken up dance styles such as majorette, hip-hop, contemporary, African, jazz, aerial silks, Lyra hoops, pole dancing, and contortion. I plan on continuously expanding to more dance styles and movement techniques.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My willingness to learn, remaining open-minded, my excitement towards risk-taking, believing in myself unconditionally and constant networking has afforded me every single bit of my success thus far.

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Image Credit:

Irina Korobenko, JZR Photography, Ezra Ferguson

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