With more and more celebrities taking to the Jamaican genre of music, information about dancehall is growing. Majority of the new generation thinks of it as a synonym for twerking, which is not valid. It is a culturally rich form of street dance that both genders can enjoy.
To clear up some of the confusion in this article, we provide you information on everything you need to know about dancehall.
What is Dancehall?
Dancehall originally came from Jamaica in the late 1970s. When it started, it was meant to be a freestyle form of dance. However, with its rising popularity, this Jamaican originated genre evolved to include many more dance forms. This inclusion led to much confusion in the steps as well as the dance form of the genre itself. Most people often confused dancehall with reggae, which we offer both here at Lil Beatz.
Both reggae and dancehall are distinctively different from each other. Reggae has a slower tempo to it, while dancehall has a much more hardcore, faster tempo. Derived from the streets of Jamaica, dancehall is a genre that touches the soul of everyone, straight to the point.
Some African-diaspora dance troupes even explain how it’s much more than only dance. It’s also the fashion, the music, and the sense of community. They synonymize dancehall to a lifestyle.
Regardless of the variation, the roots of dancehall remain in Africa.
Dancehall’s Growing Popularity and International Fame
Although dancehall existed long before the 1970s as a means for people to come together and celebrate the joyful occasion by dancing, it gained most of its popularity in recent years. The most famous representations of dancehall come from not only native African artists but also artists like Sean Paul, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. Even though they only took elements from the genre, it still helps kick off the attention trains.
The main dancehall movement spearhead in the North American scene included Patra, Shaggy, Super Cat, Lady Saw, and Shabba. This international popularity wave continued till the 2000s. This is why major American artists started to borrow from or collaborate with Jamaican performers.
What Should You Expect in a Dancehall Class?
When trained dancehall teachers dance to the beat of music, it looks like one big party, but there is a codified dance style to it. In a dancehall class, you will first be taught the specific steps to the dance. The social, party-like, element comes to the dance afterward.
There are many dance moves like the “butterfly,” “frog back,” “tick-tock,” “jump and wine,” and the “knee in a dab,” to name a few, that were created especially for the dancehall. You can expect to learn the basic specific dance moves first and the meaning behind each, before moving on to the freestyle part. You will be using all muscles of your body in varying states, speeds, and styles.
The grounded and bent movements of dancehall will demand many challenging feats form your back, chest, and your core. If you had previous training in uptight dance forms like the ballet, you can expect similar challenges. However, the key to victory lies in not giving up.
In a nutshell, to groove to the beat of dancehall, you first need to learn foundation moves, their meanings and then advance to the freestyle stage. Regardless of which stage you are on, your body will get a good workout, and you will enjoy yourself immensely.