by Finesse Finesse

Monique Nightingale is an inspiring dancer, artist, and creative from the western suburbs of Melbourne. From a young age, she has been captivated by the world of dance, exploring various styles before discovering her true passion in street dance and hip-hop. Her local surroundings and the supportive people around her significantly influenced her artistic vision and dedication.

With quite the social following, Monique shares her enthusiasm for dance by creating content that resonates with her audience. Her approach is rooted in authentic expression, reflecting her love for dance and commitment to staying true to herself, which has garnered a loyal fanbase.

Monique's dedication to representing her community and fostering inclusive spaces for dancers is at the heart of her work. As she continues to inspire others, Monique remains a beacon of authenticity and community spirit.

Monique Nightingale | FINESSE HONEYS
Can you share more about your early years in dance and what initially sparked your interest at such a young age?

I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember. It’s hard to say when I started and what captured my interest exactly. I feel like I’ve always had an innate connection to movement and music, and have always loved dance for what it gives me and how it makes me feel. As a toddler I would dance around at home, and eventually when I was 6, my mum put me into a dance school. I did a whole bunch of different styles other than hip-hop, such as ballet, jazz funk, musical theatre etc. but honestly, my heart was with street dance. It wasn’t until I was 11 that I was exposed to more authentic hip-hop and other street dance styles, that I knew that those were the only styles I wanted to continue, and the rest was history.

Monique Nightingale | FINESSE HONEYS
Growing up in the western suburbs of Melbourne, how did your local environment shape your overall artistic vision and passion?

My passion for dance was fostered by the westside based dance studios and crews that I trained in for many years. These studios and the communities within them, were also safe spaces where I felt I could exist freely in, as opposed to school, where I was one of the few black kids. Longstory short, it was damaging and I struggled a lot internally. In my later high school years, I made new friends outside of school and was finally able to see myself reflected in my local environment. This allowed me to embrace myself more and once I had overcome my high school identity crisis, I was able to truly accept and love myself. I mention this because, identity is an integral part of dance, and once I gained a stronger sense of self, it strengthened my connection with my craft. From this I knew I wanted to pursue dance and take it further after high school and outside the current dance school that I was a part of at the time. It was a challenging journey but I owe a lot to these experiences and my westside upbringing for shaping me into the person and dancer that I am today.

With such a large TikTok following, how do you engage with your audience while still maintaining your authenticity and personal brand?

I’ve gained my TikTok following by sharing content of me just having fun, dancing and being myself. To add to this, authenticity is something that I hold at high regard, and naturally, the core of my brand. These are all things that I keep in mind when creating and posting videos. Overall, I only want to put out content that feels true to myself, for my audience also.

Monique Nightingale | FINESSE HONEYS
We genuinely admire your community values. How do you cultivate and contribute to it through your work whether it be dancing, teaching, modelling or content creation?

I love that I’m able to co-host community jams with a good friend of mine, Phillip Pham. We started a movement called Raise the Roof, end of last year to help grow the Melbourne House Dance scene, and every Wednesday we host open freestyle sessions. It’s something I’m really passionate about it, and excited to see grow. I’ll also sometimes do community gigs with L2R (a non-profit dance organisation based in the west) which is a great way to directly give back to the community and have an impact through dance. With any other work that I do, I will always proudly represent my community, which is vital, especially when I find myself in environments where street dancers in particular, are underrepresented.

What upcoming projects can you tell us about and what can your followers look forward to?

My followers can follow my community pages @raisetheroof.melb and to stay informed on any upcoming community dance events, as well as other work. I’m also excited to share some personal dance projects on my own page later in the year, once I get back from my dance travels overseas. In the meantime, stay tuned via my main account here.

Monique Nightingale | FINESSE HONEYS
Creative Director & Photography: @ouibutterup
Monique wears the Nike Air Max Sunder "Canyon Gold" from Finesse