Kimiko Versatile making moves in Brazil - Wants more collaboration between Jamaica and similar countries
Since the pandemic, popular dancer Kimiko Versatile has had newfound fame following her feature in the Netflix documentary Move.
She recently accepted an invitation from Brazilian dancer/recording artiste Coquinho to host a series of dance workshops in that country, and to act as a judge for the first dancehall queen competition. She said this "is a dream that has finally become a reality".
"The people in Brazil show so much love, respect, and support towards our dancehall culture. They see us dancers as artistes, but also as kings and queens of our craft, and it is that attitude that I wish Jamaicans showed," she told THE STAR. Kimiko, who is now the first Jamaican dancer to represent for the dancehall culture on this wide scale in Brazil, has already hosted a private dance workshop for Coquinho's team of more than 10 female dancers, known widely as Academia Dancehall. She has also led a master class which saw approximately 100 participants. She attended some of the country's popular sound system parties and still has stops in the cities of Fortaleza and Vitoria.
"Jamaican dancers have been making moves and representing our culture in a positive light in all corners of the Earth, and I feel it's time the minister of culture allocates more resources for us and others to seriously consider dance as a career and not just for fun. Dancehall is a key attraction for our country whether people like it or not, and a lot of the people I've taught cannot wait to visit Jamaica to see the real deal," she said.
"There are ways we can make money from this for a living but we need more involvement on local grounds, more respect and better pay from the public and private sectors. I definitely see that money is lacking to host international classes like these in Brazil because the promoter explained to me that it was a struggle to get investors or funds from the government to host these events. Right now dancehall is still considered underground culture in Brazil and it may take some time for it to develop into how they really want it to be, which is mainstream, but we should be collaborating with countries like these," Kimiko continued.
The dancer explained that while she has been met with a few socio-cultural challenges in her travels, she is able to impress on participants the history and traditions of dancehall dance.
"I've had encounters in almost every country, but Brazil has a large community. Overall, the experience has been great for cultural exchange and as it relates to the competition, the participants openly accepted my critiques ... they understand what I was looking for as an adjudicator and how they could improve in the different rounds of the competition. The spectators were equally intrigued to have me there. I'm looking forward to the rest of stops and to even spending some time on a beach," Kimiko said.