Dancin’ Dynamites showcases talent overseas

June 12, 2019
Dustville Dancers
Chelsha Bernard (right) performing with fellow Vibe Ihatas member Tishana.
Contributed This awesome group of Dynamites comprising of Tommy Dixon, Chelsha Bernard and Marvin Cox performed at the Caribbean week in New York last week.

Marvin Cox, a member of 2016 Dancin’ Dynamites winners Dustville Dancers, believes there is a stigma against dancehall and its dance performers.

“Our local dancers are seen as idle performers,” Cox said. “Despite being loved at the international level and coming from a country with a rich dance culture, dancers struggle to get the love and respect other entertainers do.”

He believes that by getting more opportunities to deliver dance as a form of cultural exchange overseas, the local audience’s appreciation will be influenced.

Cox was one of three dancers in New York City for Caribbean Week, representing Dancin’ Dynamites.

The other two, Chelsha Bernard, a member of the popular 2006 all-female group Vibe Ihatas, and Tommy Dixon of Citi Dancers (winners of 2017).

“The experience was phenomenal, knowing that it exposed the group to a diverse Caribbean audience and served as a platform for sharing cultures. I think we need similar platforms of this merit to help change the views that persons (living in Jamaica) have of our dancehall culture,” he told T HE STAR.

Through a partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board and Dancin’ Dynamites, the trio showcased the island’s dancehall culture in dance at the Caribbean Student Colloquium last Wednesday and were also able to change gear with reggae dance flare at the Rum and Rhythms Benefit last Friday, which acted as a vehicle to promote more than one local music genre.

Making reference to the overall atmosphere of Caribbean Week, Cox explained, “It was not the usual ‘boogie yagga’ system that some dancers and their audience might be used to here [in Jamaica] but we were not limited either. We were able to bring the dancehall energy to the stages.

“Through choreographed routines, the Dancin’ Dynamites have basically helped to show the diversity Jamaican dancers as a whole boast, and also how these same dancers can be used to spread our culture across the Caribbean and other countries worldwide,” he added.

All three dancers also teach dance and have participated in workshops. Cox, who has travelled to the United Kingdom and the Caribbean as a dance educator, also wears the title of entertainment coordinator at the Dunn’s River Falls and Park which, he said, “has also helped with exposure of our dance culture to tourists, and I am seeing a growing interest in it which will eventually contribute to the betterment of the dance industry”.

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