Paula’s passion for dance took her all the way from teaching herself choreographies from VCR recordings as a child in Canberra, to the bright lights of LA where she studied the art form and performed in Choreographers Carnival.
“I am African Australian, I work full-time in corporate Australia and I am also a dancer – it’s my passion and what I love to do,” says Paula.
“If there’s one thing I have discovered about myself and others through dance it’s that fear is self-limiting and can hold you back from moments and experiences that could be an opportunity for growth and change.”
After moving to Melbourne a few years ago and continuing to expand on her dance vocabulary, Paula heard that Jungle City dance classes stay true to roots and decided to check out Chuby Dice’s dancehall classes and foundational courses.
A top dancer in Jamaica and leader of Jamaican dancehall crew Black Dice, Chuby has featured on the big screen and music videos for artists including Vybz Kartel, Busta Rhymes, Shawn Storm and Australian producer Monkey Marc.
“I don’t think anyone leaves Chuby’s class not smiling or laughing,” says Paula. “I think this is because he creates a non-judgemental space where it’s just about connecting and vibing with each other through dancehall.”
Paula says that Chuby’s knowledge and experience, enthusiasm, and ability to connect with students who are beginners at the style, regardless of if they have a dance background or not, is invaluable.
“As someone who has danced for almost 20 years and taken classes from many, many teachers I have to say these qualities are rarer that you would expect.”
“I have learnt so much from Chuby and it has opened up a new realm of movement and feeling that leaves me continuing to come back for more!”
“What I love about Jungle City is the emphasis on history, roots and respect for originators and creators. They genuinely care about the culture and ensuring that everyone is aware of the deep historical roots of dancehall culture and its predecessors.”
“Jungle City teachers tell you the creator of every step and the era it is from. Everything is super comprehensive and authentic and I love that they uphold these values.”
Jungle City’s Sunday Sessions have also been a standout experience for Paula. Hosted throughout the Melbourne lockdown, the sessions were taught by international dancehall icons including Orville Expressions, Stacia Fya, The Legendary Colo Colo, Dansa Bling, Latonya Stylz and Kimiko Versatile.
“For Jungle City to bring us these teachers was so generous and a great experience. I think they intend to continue these sessions and I’m really looking forward to it. More recently though, I’m really enjoying the classes in the park, it’s a whole new vibe altogether and so much fun!”
Jungle City has not only expanded Paula’s dance vocabulary, but also reintroduced her to the grassroots of dance as a universal language and tool to connect and vibe with others. She encourages anyone thinking of giving it a go to just do it!
“Seriously, there is nothing to worry about. It is such a safe space and nothing but good vibes. You won’t regret it!”