Uganda’s Valentino Kabenge set to showcase acting skills in Nigeria

This weekend, Valentino Richard Kabenge, a renowned Ugandan dancer and actor, will take to the stage in Lagos, Nigeria, for a highly anticipated acting talent show. Valentino was selected along with five other talented individuals to participate in the event hosted by An Actors Playhouse, an academy founded by the esteemed Nollywood actress Stella Damasus.

Valentino Kabenge was thrilled to finally meet his childhood role modal, Nollywood actress Stella Damasus.
  • Valentino Kabenge, a Ugandan dancer and actor, will participate in a talent show in Lagos, Nigeria, hosted by Stella Damasus
  • Valentino was inspired by Stella Damasus and enrolled in her online masterclass to sharpen his acting abilities
  • The talent showcase will provide Valentino and other performers the chance to network with influential figures in the industry

Known primarily for his role as a Latin dancer and choreographer on the hit NTV show “Dance with Valentino,” Kabenge has been gradually sharpening his acting abilities. His journey into acting intensified last year when he enrolled in an online masterclass taught by Stella Damasus, whom he cites as his biggest childhood inspiration.

“Growing up I used to watch a lot of Nigerian movies on Top TV this is why I sought out acting. Stella is one of the actresses that I admire. I especially loved her movies Romantic Attraction, Real Love and Behind Closed Doors. I used to narrate her movies in primary school,” Valentino shared.

His recent arrival in Nigeria brought an exhilarating moment for Valentino, describing his first-ever meeting with Stella Damasus as “a big dream come true.” He expressed his awe on Instagram: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am in the presence of greatness, the legendary Nollywood’s @stelladamasus and I still don't have the perfect reaction yet.”

The talent showcase, scheduled for Saturday, June 15th, 2024, will provide Valentino and the other five performers, along with dozens of other actors, the chance to perform and network with some of the industry's most influential figures, including directors, producers, agents, and casting directors.

I look at this as an opener for different collaborations and projects in Nigeria,” Valentino stated, adding that he admires "the Nigerians because of their assertiveness and how they go all out. My ambition is to create and extend my brand to Nigeria and to invite some of them to Uganda.”

In addition to his acting aspirations, Valentino hopes to forge partnerships within the Nigerian music scene. He expressed a desire to collaborate with prominent artists like Yemi Alade, Davido, and Beninian songstress Angelique Kidjo.

Valentino's involvement in the Ugandan entertainment industry includes appearances in major music videos such as Winnie Nwagi’s 2019 hit song "Jangu," Rema Namakula’s “Touch My Body”, and Iryn Namubiru’s recent “Tegutta.”

Who is Valentino?

Born in Kyebando, a Kampala suburb. Valentino started fending for himself as a young boy when he left school in lower secondary. He did odd jobs including grazing cattle.

While working at a food court at the National Theater, he became interested in acting and started going for auditions. In 2015 he landed his first gig on “Do Mess with Kansiime.”

Around the same time, he was invited to a social dance event, which he found intriguing. He had been inspired by Stella to pursue both talents, having seen her in a Nigerian dance show.

Learning fast and picking up skills, he started landing gigs to dance at weddings and other formal functions; while promoting himself on social media.

In 2018 he was approached by Rema Namakula for the Touch My Body video and later cast for the Jangu Music Video by Winnie Nwagi.

His biggest break was in 2020 when he appeared on NTV’s Mwasuze Mutya, giving rise to the idea of the “Dance With Valentino TV” show, in which celebrities were invited to tell real-life stories, while his team of choreographers came up with a dance routine to tell that story.

After the season ended, Valentino embarked on further dance lessons in Cape Town, South Africa and the UK.

By last year, his love for acting was revived, which is how he got to connect with Stella.

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