Dance Styles

Dancehall

Dancehall was created in the street parties and dance halls of Jamaica’s ghetto communities by youth disempowered by high unemployment, social and economic inequality. Dancehall is both the adjective describing the place, and the name of the culture lived by Jamaica’s underprivileged communities who find meaning, purpose, status, and a means of survival through being part of the Dancehall fraternity, both past and present. Dancehall was and still is a powerful tool in combatting violence and crime by creating a platform for creative expression, belonging, and employment for many. Dancehall is a reflection of Jamaican lifestyle and culture and since it’s infancy in the 1970’s has evolved alongside societal changes, as well as influences from American popular culture. Dancehall is not just a dance style, but a way of life as a creative expression of life experienced in Jamaica, where dancers and dance teams create dances that become their very own historical signature and mark on an ever evolving culture. It is for this reason that non-Jamaican’s can not create Dancehall moves. To be authentically Dancehall it must come from those born, living and breathing the culture in Jamaica.
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Female Dancehall

As a dance style, Dancehall – as well as the party space itself – is made up of segments. One of which is the female segment where the female’s ‘Bruk Out’ or break out with a variety of dance moves, freestyle, and acrobatic and flexibility tricks. As an ever evolving culture the female element of Dancehall has also changed over the years but the fundamental components that distinguish this part of the dance is that – in Jamaica – its only for women, its made up of a variety of techniques including wining, tic-toc, juk, jiggle, bubbling, oscillations, and is expressive of a woman’s sexual power, stamina, agility, and creativity. There are many specific dance steps created by popular female Jamaican dancers and Dancehall Queenz that make up the style and are executed during this segment to specific songs and as part of a dancers freestyle. Female Dancehall is often the most broadly recognised aspect of Dancehall internationally and has become hugely popular in western countries due to its sexual empowerment for women of all shapes and sizes that often get supressed in western cultures.
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Stylish Moves

An element of female Dancehall, Stylish Moves is described as ‘Dancehall with a touch of class’. Created by Latonya Style, an influential and integral member of the Jamaican Dancehall fraternity and CEO of Dance Jamaica Academy. Stylish Moves is made up of over ninety dance moves comprising of 75% Dancehall, 5% Afro, 5% Soca, 5% Modern, 5% Jazz, and 5% Hip Hop. The style includes both masculine and feminine dance moves that are empowering, energetic, and confidence focused. It is a certified style of dance and teacher training is conducted by the creator herself annually at Jungle City studios so inquire about signing up for the next round of training.
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Afro Dances

Afro Dances is an umbrella term to include different dance styles coming out of Africa and the African Diaspora. In our Afro Dances classes we include basic Afro dances from the early 2000’s to present day, exploring the techniques and bases of the different dance genres. The different styles of dance and parts of Africa included under our Afro dances classes include Ndombolo from Congo, Coupe Decale from Ivory coast, and trending dance styles from West Africa and South of Africa Including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.
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Hip Hop Dance

Born on the streets of New York and the Bronx, Hip Hop is a culture and a lifestyle typically defined ahaving four main elements: Bboyin/Bgirlin (dance); DJing/Turntablism; Rapping/MCing; and Graffiti. The original Hip Hop dance form of Breakin was developed by African-American and Latino youth choosing to battle it out on the dance floor as an alternatively to gang violence. Additional forms of Hip Hop dance found on the west-coast of America, that evolved in the foundation years of the 1970’s to accompany funk music were Poppin, Lockin, and Soul Dance – defined as the Funkstyles. Hip Hop has now become a global industry and the original hip hop styles have been adapted to popular culture forming what was known as urban choreography, but the culture of dance from the streets and the lifestyle can still be found among those who practice the elements, and newer street dance styles that continued to evolve in urban neighbourhoods such as Jerking, Flexing, and Krump as some examples. The commonality with all these styles is that they are created by marginalized youth channelling their frustrations and disadvantage into a physical movement that allows individuals to connect with others in a safe space. There is always an element of freestyle encouraging dancers to be completely present and focused in the moment, and directing their energy into the dance space, circle or cypher. Therefore, street dances from around the world can heal and empower individuals and communities in ways beyond just dance. Street styles are very technical and take years of practice to perfect, but at the same time have elements that are accessible to everyone as the base of all movement is a groove and connection to the music that provokes rhythm in the body triggered by the beat.
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