Ian Tico : “If you don’t give up, something will give in”

Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2020 | Ian Munuve by theSystem *

Tell us who you are and what you do?

I am Ian Munuve Mutisya, and I specialize in performing arts, as a freestyle dancer.

How long have you been dancing?

Professionaly this will be my sixth year, But i have been dancing most of my life.

When you say professionally do you mean that dancing is how you make a living?

I cant say its really how i make a living because this industry you cant earn a proper living unless you know certain people. But i have earned a coin or two from this industry. When i say professionally i mean i now understand more clearly the knowledge behind dance like i said before I research and taking online classes they help you understand the foundations and fundamentals of different genres of dance. Since in Kenya dance is really seen as hobby than a means of earning a living i cant say i earn a living from it.

How do you navigate the industry when you don’t know anyone?

Well i have been really lowkey, Just working on my craft sharpening my knowledge and also my body movement. I am not that known in this industry but i like it that way, But I really do a lot networking not with just dancers. With graffiti artist ,photographers ,videographers, poets the list is endless
I am very selective with who i choose to interact with and allow into my creative space. I really look at if you respect your craft you get, Coz a lot of people do it for the clout. This links i have created through my networking have helped me Because real recognizes real. If you work hard on your craft ,understand your craft and never get tired, something will always give in. So i work under the principle that the quality of your work will always speak for itself and going for auditions has also helped me navigate through this industry.

Yeah sure I think when you are little know what helps you is the camaraderie you share with your peers , I mean you always have to be careful though who you allow in your space some people can really throw you of if they don’t share your values, I mean networking is part of the game. Do you guys have a support system, an industry institution that takes care of dancers? And do you think it’s important to have them?

Totally bro, Once you start to understand its never about the competition its just about giving your level best then clarity starts to appear. Institutions are what now we lack and it is the largest gap in the industry. Why? We lack resources just to make practice sessions, This art form lacks bodies that help to set some standards for things like average pay for dancer And some constitution that helps protect dancers and creatives from being mistreated. There are no dance courses into the curriculum even in tertiary level of education this will help even in creating job opportunities for the youth.

Many dancers live from hand to mouth from shows which are not guaranteed like and everyday.

It’s never really about competition and if that’s someone’s focus too bad , sure a lot of creatives live from hand to mouth, and what seems to be an apparent problem is how much people are will to pay creatives, I mean it’s still not taken as seriously as the next profession , what do you think we can do as creatives to foster a new era where creatives can live of their work comfortably? And what is the catalyst that is lacking in the equation?

I think change starts from an individual perspective because you know a spark is what starts a fire
Self discipline. We need to give value to our crafts like we do it to our level best both mentally and physically. This is understanding that learning never ends and its never easy. Unity, We should move as a unit and support each other and share knowledge and resources. We should really look out for each that’s how we will grow and its these divisions that create gaps in the industry.

Plus the old generation should mentor the new generation in anyway they can. They shouldn’t go through some hardships just because you went through them.

Otherwise if we don’t we will just have a loop of bitterness affecting another generation.

Sure mentoring is important, people in our creative industry still work in silos, I feel that is quite selfish and in my opinion if we want to make any significant progress we must look out for each other we cannot do it alone , but the reality is that some people thrive by being separatists, which I feel is a terrible way to go about it, you can still thrive while working within structures meanwhile supporting others and being supported, but I feel like this separation is orchestrated by a few demigods to control creatives and rip them off and leave them high and dry it’s the creatives colonizers , I mean Change definitely starts with the individual and the effect ripples, coming together at this point is a no brainier …. Talking about mentorship who are your hero’s, who do you look up to?

To tell you the truth I don’t look up to any being or down upon any being, I prefer calling it learning and learning comes with change. So for me I borrow philosophies from great people i take the teachings and give it my flavor. That’s how i even freestyle I understand the philosophy of a movement and apply it with my own touch without messing with its basics. This helps me to unveil my authenticity. My heroes are God ,my mother and sister and dance that’s my little heaven.

What is authenticity to you? Is it a concept worth exploring in relation to your work? And how do you channel that without letting it get in your way?

You know like how everyone can write when you give them a pen and paper, But what will vary is the handwriting. That’s how i view myself when it comes to dance. I do understand am not the only one who can dance but just to make my dance a difference i add my personality my own world in a universe you get me. So how do i channel it I observe different styles and disciplines and see how i can apply them in my own way. So the more i am exposed to different styles and disciplines the more it becomes a discovery to me to find another part of authenticity that I didn’t know existed. So its the only time it gets on my way is when am trying to apply it to my style. Because i have to practice that philosophy of a certain style or discipline until i get the flow.

Which is never easy but it’s beautiful when you see the growth and it teaches you patience and consistency.

What’s your philosophy?

Just two words make my philosophy,
Be you simple.

Let’s talk about style, what is style? and what is your style?

Style to me is basically how you feel and how you express it. My style fashion wise
I am not the crazy type but i just keep it simple and clean a sneaker head too🤜🏽💯💯

Dance wise, My style is more of character i enjoy playing different in my movement from the weirdest to the simplest, I enjoy being different classifications aren’t my thing.

Let’s talk about Corona if you don’t mind….. we find ourselves in this terrible situation , how has the pandemic affected you and your work?

Well we were working on some project that included working alongside some really gifted creatives and i was really looking forward to how it would turn out.
I was planning to shoot a lot of my portfolio work this year i shot my own styled look book
It has really put a lot of things in hold but it has also gifted me time to learn more and therefore i am grateful.

Tell us about your current project , we saw that you are giving dance classes is that still on and what does it entail?

So my current project has taken time for me to really put it into action. But I felt that i want to share what i have learned to help people learn some small hacks that can help you become a better freestyle dancer.
It will entail some knowledge the genres of dance i have learned and still learning and how to use them in your own style. Pushing creativity and making one realize they can be limitless in their movement.

Its still on it starts this coming Saturday the 27th of June am not really looking on the turn of large numbers i just need a few willing people to learn that’s all.

Its a physical class but with restricted number to allow good distance between learners.

How can people subscribe to the class and where will it be?

It will be at Methodist resort in Lavington. And the classes will have a small fee of 400 ksh
From 1 to 3pm.

Plus in this class i am also learning what i had already done before, so it will be repetitive for me which is a good thing, this is how i get small details about certain movements that make a big difference
in the way your body is supposed to move, therefore creating awareness in my movements when i am interpreting music.

We are going through a period of great unrest politically and culturally globally , what is your take on the current political climate and specifically the BLM movement?

The political climate in Kenya is really messed up because no Kenyan really knows the value of their vote most people are brainwashed by tribalism and classification but i do believe change is coming it will be painful but it will be worth it. Until when Kenyans understand the power of their vote i can’t talk much about politics. On the black lives matter they matter everywhere even back home in the motherland where most of us have been brainwashed by religion and westernization. I think we can only as much as reset our thinking perspective as human beings then is when maybe the way we live will change.

What excites you from the Kenyan creative industry at the moment?

Lets say this period is really making people work on themselves beyond all circumstances and it can be seen from some of content i have been watching.

What is the impact you want to have in this industry?

I just want to inspire someone out there who doesn’t believe in themselves to go for something that seems impossible as long they understand they have to some genuine work they can be whoever they want to be and make this earth a better place💯✌🏽✌🏽✌🏽.

This is through the knowledge I learn about freestyling and sharing.

Sure , what advice can you give someone that’s just trying to get into the industry?

Just start with the basics enjoy the journey. Every disappointment is just another good lesson you can’t skip. Our lives are too unique for us to live the same way. The people who are best at what they do in any field failed more times than you keep going, Always stay humble and share what you have and never forget to be thankful to God for everything.

This interview has been edited and condensed for purpose of clarity and precision, we value your time.