Jamaican Dance Steps, contributed by Tracie Blake.
Our ancestral heritage derives mainly from Africa. And you know, the Africans are a vibrant and physically expressive people, so not only are the dances for fun, they are also a medium of self expression.
Thanks to a strong culture, many of the traditional dances were passed on to us, but there are many new, contemporary dances that has been rocking Jamaican dancehall, and Jamaica in general for the last few decades. Old or new, emphasis is usually placed on body movements, rhythm and beat.
The early stages of Jamaican Dance Moves started with the Dinki Mini and Bruckins Parties which are now mainly practiced at Independence/Emancipation time.
These are processional dances where all participants dress up in costumes and the dance moves are performed in a uniformed way depicting naturally exhumed choreography. Over the years, these foundations have remained but evolved and progressed into new dances which are a graze worldwide.
After these dances came the ska (fast movements of the hips and flailing of the arms between the legs) and rock steady (slow movements of the hips and arms being held close to the body) which has culminated into dance hall moves consisting of a vast combination of movements.
Here are a few of today's contemporary Jamaican dancehall moves:
Well, although not to 'new' anymore, it is still a favourite. The dancer points the hands toward the air in a flailing steady motion while moving the body back and forth in a snake-likemovement.
This dance involves jumping slightly off the ground and landing with your right foot directly in front of your left foot with one foot landing on the heel and the other on the toe and pivoting in a circle with the arms and upper torso moving to the rhythm of the music.
Pon the River, Pon the Bank
This dance includes jumping to the music and tilting from the heel to the toe from one invisible line to the other while focusing on the rhythm of the music.
Signal the Plane
In this dance style, the dancer stands in one position and waves his/her arms toward the sky as if signaling to a plane to land. This is repeated to the rhythm of the music and the body is thrust in a back and forth rocking motion.
This dance is done by women and involves the “whining” or gyrating of the hips and buttocks while flashing the fingers in an outward motion and bearing an expression of pain/discomfort on the face.
Tek Weh Yuself
In this dance, the dancer makes small tapping movements with the feet while bouncing to the music and moving from side to side pointing in the direction they are going (left to right).
This is another dance ideally done by women where she stands in one position and gyrates the buttocks while looking “sassy”.
This dance is mainly done by women and involves standing or kneeling firmly on the floor while swinging the head vigorously in a circular motion while rotating the buttocks.
Of course, there is the latest dance, called the Gully Creeper, but more to come on that.
These are just a few of the popular Jamaican Dance Steps from old to new and the beat plays on….
For further background on Jamaican dance, click here
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