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London Build

28 Oct 2021

An Interview with Hakeem Onibudo - Impact Dance

An Interview with Hakeem Onibudo - Impact Dance

Impact Dance''is an art for social change organisation that specialises in Hip-Hop Theatre, Street Dance and Youth Development. It was founded by Hakeem Onibudo in 1995 and has been empowering and supporting young people from all across London ever since. This year, London Build will be supporting Impact Dance through our #SaveTheLondonArts initiative, with the group showcasing their skills at the show. We spoke to Hakeem, to discuss the positive impact of Impact Dance and their hopes for the future.'

  • What inspired you to start Impact Dance?

At first I wasn't inspired to start a company; I just used dance as an escape. After a few years I realised dance was not only helping me but also people around me and it was a tool to build confidence for society so I pushed on with it. However I did not envisage how big it was going to grow.

  • You have worked with many, many young people. What positive changes do you see in them during their time with Impact Dance?

I have seen young people with no confidence grow to be amazing leaders, performers and successful business owners. When they enter Impact they are possibly carrying fears and insecurities but what we do within our nurturing environment is focus on their strengths and help them navigate themselves on a daily basis so they become stronger in their own selves. We do this by giving responsibility, praise and reward and allow them to look back at their own individual journeys. Some young people, now adults are unrecognisable from when they entered Impact.

  • Impact Dance has been working with young people over the past twenty-six years. What are you the proudest of and what are you looking forward to?

We are proud of our Alumni school. Those who have gone on record to say they have benefited from being in Impact. We are super proud we have managed to create our own Studio and HQ in Central London where our aim is to continue for the next 26 years developing young people and giving them a safe space to Move Grow and Be.

  • What is the most rewarding part of working with young dancers?

You never know what the day is going to be like. You never know what a young person is going to say to you. You never know how far a young person is going to go and then, all of a sudden, you realise 5 years has gone by and this person/persons you have been working with is now going to university or graduating from a training course. The most rewarding part is seeing how far young people come and also their parents thanking you immensely for your input.

  • Impact Dance has performed all over the country and even internationally. What has been your favourite performance and why?

Favourite performance is between when we did LIVEVIBE in Venezuela and LIVEVIBE in Hong Kong. Both were standout performances because of the nature of the locals and their keenness to learn from the work we brought from the UK. Also because both these countries and specifically the communities we were working with were not so well off financially, the sense of giving was immense.

Impact Dance will be performing at London Build on the 17th and 18th of November.'