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Geographies of Embodiment—Dance, Status, Style 119 Kid Harold, Baskin, Pam Pam, Persian the Cat, Labba Labba, Bogle, Carlene,Stacey,Keiva,CraigyDread,MadMichelle,SampleSix,Ravers Clavers, Ice, Colo Colo, Shelly Belly and Black Blingers have all made indelible marks on the repertoire and performance style of popular danceinJamaica,fromthedanceeventsatMarcusGarvey’sEdelweiss Park in the 1930s to the contemporary dancehall events such as Passa Passa in West Kingston. Creators of dance moves such as the gully creepa (David “Ice” Smith), the no linga (Marlon “Overmars” Hardy the Above a Dem Crew and formerly of Ravers Clavers) and the dutty wine (Attitude Girls), these individuals continue the task of dancing their way into local, regional and global performance histories. The dance is a distinguishing feature of the dancehall space. In dancehall dancers and other patrons take on the toil of ridding their mind of daily troubles, becoming enslaved devotees, not (solely) in a capitalist (post)modernity that disenfranchises, but in a somatic and kinaesthetic sense. As if each was a “slave to the rhythm” that beats around them and inside them amid the social ills of everyday Jamaica, in the way Grace Jones (1985) suggested in her song of that title, the exerting body on the contemporary dance floors of Jamaica literally and symbolically replaces those on the plantations that preceded them. This reading is sharpened when one considers Saidiya V. Hartman’s analysis of dance throughout slavery and on the popular stage,whichacknowledgesthatterrorandviolencewere“perpetrated under the rubric of pleasure” (Hartman 1997, 4), and that slavery and freedom are inextricably linked in mechanisms of law, identity and liberties. Here is the body that, through contestation, exploitation, discrimination and oppression, has preserved itself in performance to tell the tales of history, while dance venues become delocalized for just a moment when they transcend time and produce the inevitable “congregational kinesis” (Brathwaite 1995, p. 46). The dance space is therefore linked to old and new ways of toiling for freedom, creating space through rhythm. Aterrainofboundaries,dancerevealsboundednessandunboundedness in the gender, temporal, and local and global nuances present in the ways in which people make and link spaces through their creations . It is notable that dance styles have been patterned from R&B movesofthe1950s,jazz,Afro-CubanandAfro-Brazilianstyles,aswell as from traditional Jamaican forms such as mento or gereh and the dances of folk religions such as Kumina. Such movement patterns propelled the creation of indigenous moves that coexist with popular moves brought from the United States. The modelling of dances from featurefilms,performedbythelikesofKidHarold(c.1911–1985)(White 1984, 72), has existed alongside purely “blues moves” such as “legs.” dancehall 120 (It is worth mentioning that Kid Harold was a dancer and much more (see Hamilton 1988, 87–111). He was part of one of Jamaica’s top show groups, the comedy team Harold and Trim, and also led the Butterfly Troupe of dancers. Known for his tap dancing, he was personally recruited by Marcus Garvey to perform at Edelweiss Park and to assist Gerardo Leon, the dance trainer/coordinator on its staff. Kid Harold also appeared in plays at Edelweiss Park written and produced by Ranny Williams. Other local moves include the shake-a-leg, going to town and, later, rocksteady and reggae (White 1984, 74). Famous dancers from the ghetto have included Needle, Clifford Strokes, Persian the Cat, Bop (Mr. Legs), Sparkie, Pam Pam and Baskin, who appeared atmajordanceeventsandstageshows.GarthWhite(1984,72–73)proposes that such practitioners should be considered “culture heroes” forcreatingacelebratoryethos,facilitatingthedevelopmentandtempo of Jamaica’s popular music industry and performance practice. Much public debate about dancehall moves has revolved around evaluative judgments. This chapter examines some of the central and, arguably, underexposed creators of dance moves, and, by extension , their personhood within the dancehall and everyday life. Their voices are mostly mediated through those of DJs, selectors of music and singers, but dancers have not been silent. Their expressions are mostly through movement as a tool of celebration. With the body as 5.1 Colo Colo and the crew displaying their moves Source: Roy Sweetland geographies of embodiment—dance, status, style 121 their instrument, they have made their marks on Jamaican history, politicsandnationhood,aswellastheworld.Thediscussionofdance moves here is based primarily on discussions with the dancers as key informants and the observation of movement as key texts. This chapter highlights the general character of dance movement and their proliferation , as well as gender demarcations, kinaesthetic mapping and recruitment patterns. Ultimately, this chapter is intended to establish thecentralplaceofthedancerwithindancehallthroughthepresentation , translation and interpretation of their own language, with emphasis...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780776619057
Related ISBN
9780776607368
MARC Record
OCLC
759157157
Pages
260
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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