Over the past few years Dancehall (Dance), style, movement, and the demand for learning more about the culture has grown a lot in popularity over the past few years. The dance style is being taught and studied by many dancers around the world by some truly talented and informative individuals.
However as a female I recently felt the strong need/want to bring attention to THE LADIES that have been dominating, not only the dance floor, video light, and stages but also the dance classroom as educators/ influential within their dance community; Below
are (and in no particular order) just a few Female Instructors/Choreographers/Entrepreneurs in the Dancehall Community, that are making an impact Dancing, Teaching, and Sharing their love of Dancehall & Dancehall Inspired classes and international workshops .
1. Latonya Style is the founder of First Class Dancers, the founder and CEO of DanceJa / Dance Jamaica Cultural Centre and connected to several other dancehall related businesses. She is one of Jamaica’s leading Dancehall Instructors that’s made it her mission to provide authentic Dancehall Culture in her workshops. Latonya has led many workshops via her own World Tour with stops in Russia and Europe. Although Latonya Style is involved in many aspects of the entertainment world , dance, and educating remains her passion.
2. Laure Courtellemont is known for teaching Ragga Jam ,a concept of pedagogical and choreographic vision of dancehall (Jamaican Dance) at the biggest dance events around the world, .Her class, performance and choreography have been among the most renowned and she inspires the new generation of dancehall Dancers
3. Shelly Xpressionz Co-Founder of Dance Xpressionz and Dance school “Xpressive Moves,” located in Kingston, Jamaica. Shelly Xpressionz has also traveled most (if not all) of Europe and teaching authentic old and new school Dancehall
4. Stacia Fya is a veteran in the dancehall industry she is devoted to the street styles of dance, 100% Street Certified. Stacia Fya teaches Dancehall, African, Cultural, Traditional Dance with the goal to bring confidence, versatility and performance qualities to her students. She has traveled to Canada, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Trinidad, and Africa teaching, competing and performing. Stacia subscribes wholly to the belief that her talents mean nothing if she doesn’t share them with others.
5. Dionne Renée is a LA based Choreographer and Performing Artist. Dionne is also Co Founder of Dancehall Funk (LA) they company hold weekly classes and events locally. Dionne Renee teaches dance at the world-renowned Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood, California and has also taught various international workshops and private lessons in countries like Australia, Poland, Germany, France, and Singapore
6. Kimiko is a graduate of Edna Manley School of Dance. Her passion for Danehall combined her university experience lables her one of Jamaica’s most prolific creatives in the fraternity of dance. Kimiko completed She is always ready to share her passion with her students abroad and locally as an instructor at the DanceJa Culture Center.
7. Mystic Davis is a Dancer/Choreographer has performed alongside many Dancehall Artiste on stage and video. Her style is a mixture of Dancehall, Hip Hop, and Lyrical Jazz. When Mystic is not performing she runs her own dance program OptiMystic Dance located in Kingston, Jamaica that encourages health and fitness for all ages.
8. Hanna Herbertson is a versatile choreographer & dancer that prefers not to be pigeonholed, but her genre of choice and expertise is Dancehall. Hanna is co-founder of the Blackgold Dance Crew and very passionate about teaching her students the foundations of Dancehall as well as exploring different expressions within the genre. She travels to Jamaica on a regular basis and has worked with the country’s top dancers. Hanna has taught abroad including leading the 1st Dancehall Class in Korea. You can catch her weekly with her and Blackgold Crew at teaching at various location in and around New York.
9. Jessica Phoenix is the Founder & Artistic Director of Fiyah Production, Dancehall Theater (USA), Choreographer & Instructor, she’s held classes along with her Fiyah Squad Ladies in ATL before relocating to NYC. In addition to traveling around the USA and abroad Jessica was able sharing her love of dancehall in Jamaica; representing the USA as the only American guest instructor teaching at the International Dancehall Homecoming Event and competed, landing 3rd place in the first-ever International Dancehall Championships. She is currently continuing to promote her FIYAH® brand, teaching Dancehall Fiyah and Afro Island Dance classes and workshops. As well as, now partnering with LadySol Inc in Chicago, her latest project is FiyahFit a popular new Ladies Caribbean Dance Fitness program and the FiyahFit Gyals performance team.
10. Blazin’ Dance Crew members Mdy, Jayane, Kayliss and Queensy have conquered the French and International Public through their Ragga Dancehall style influenced by Hip Hop that gives to the group an artistic imprint. Catch them all over Europe individually and as a group at many Dancehall/Ragga Workshop events and performances.
11. Swaggi Maggi is a Dancer/Choreographer/Promoter and represents Jamaican Dancehall in Germany. her master’s degree in Anthropology and Cultural Studies of the Caribbean and Latin America, focusing on Jamaican dance culture. Thus, she approaches Dancehall not only as an instructor but also as a researcher and encourages her students to study Dancehall from a cultural perspective. Swaggi Maggi choreographs shows for her team „Primetime Danzas“ and teaches Workshops all over Europe and at festivals in Germany . She also founded TopUp Production, organizing Dancehall events, classes, workshops, in her area and organized a Jamaica Trip, bringing a group of students and dancers from Europe to get to know Dancehall from the source.
12. Blackout Dance Crew Blackout Dancers is made up of 3 ladies from Stockholm, Sweden. The crew members are Binta, Vendela and Mathilde.These female dancers are versatile in all genres of dance but are passionate about Dancehall/Reggae dancing. They express how much they love dancehall and the whole culture of Jamaica by teaching and sharing with other young people in Sweden. They have traveled to Jamaica to further emerse themselves in the culture and to sharpen there skill. With this endeavor the members created sub groups including Young Blackout and another yet to be named, but no matter the name together they are one Blackout Family.
13. Melpo Mellz is of Greek descent but was raised in Sweden. With over 10 years’ experience she is a much respected dancer/choreographer/teacher all over the world. Melpo Mellz was inspired and trained in many different dance styles her primary focus always been on dancehall and hiphop. She is a self-learned dancehall dancer, who learned straight from the streets of Kingston, by watching and dancing alongside old school dancers like Bogle, John Hype, Ding Dong, Overmarz, Black Blingaz, for which contribute to whom she is today. Melpo Mellz is a part of the dance duo DOUBLE TROUBLE and together they travelled, performed, inspired people and dancers around the world with their shows, style and dance. Melpo had a vision “Spread the authentic real dancehall from Jamaica around Sweden and thanks to her hard work, dedication, passion and her students she made it- but it hasn’t been easy.” Melpo is currently owner of MAD dance which include sub crew SoMAD, Outcome, Talawa.
14. Queen Latesha is another Dancehall veteran was acquired the name Queen Latesha at the Annual International Dancehall Queen 2004. As a Professional Dancer she has created and helps to endorse various dance moves.
Some of the dance moves she created. Queen Latesha is now operating her own dance and aerobics class called “Dancing Work Shop” where she teaches dance lesson in Jamaica, she also taken her teaching via a European Tour.
15. Enough Dance Crew is based in Sweden and was founded in 2008 by the dancers Alexandra, Stephenie and JacQueline.The crew was baptized during a trip to Jamaica in March 2009. Some of the members have studied several other dance styles, but together they embrace DANCEHALL and it’s culture to the fullest. Currently the Crew consists of Jacqueline Enough, DHQ Johanna Enough, DHQ Linda Enough, Naim Enough (the only guy), Micaela Enough and Marie Enough but the goal remains the same To share the knowledge they’ve assembled from their trips to Jamaica and their years of “studying” the culture and the dance. Teaching dancehall with the goal to educate and share the love and respect for the culture with all their students (from the age of 4 to 40+) has been a way to spread the message.
16. Tavia & Tamara are both Dancers/Choreographers based in New York, Both ladies have a long history of dance, and performing in the entertainment industry. Together they formed Brukwine. Brukwine is a Caribbean inspired dance workout created by Tavia and Tamara. Brukwine means to “Break out and Wine”. The duo have taught several workshops in various countries and at conventions such as The PULSE and Monsters Of Hip-Hop. They have studied dancehall for a number of years including travels to Jamaica, the birthplace of Dancehall. Their experience in performing with numerous artists makes their class a great learning experience that anyone and all levels can enjoy.
Respect to all of these ladies and the ones I did not get to mention in this particular post. Overall you can tell that no matter where you come from dancehall and dance is a passion that all of these ladies have with the goal to inform, energize, and create within the dance community around them. These things are very similar to Raediant Movement’s mission and goals that I would love to achieve as well. So whether these ladies know me or not I consider them my, “like minded sisters in dance.”
ANYONE READING to click on the links below and get to know more about these women. If you know a few more Dancehall (or Ragga), Choreographer/ Instructors/ Entrepreneurs that are not listed here,
feel free to give them a shout out; in the comment section below.
LEARN MORE: CLICK THE NAMES BELOW FOR INSTRUCTOR FACEBOOK, BIO or VIDEOS
Blazin Dance Crew (KAYLISS, JAYANE, QUEENSY, M-DY)
Black OutCrew (Vendela, Binta, Mathilde)
Tavia & Tamara