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JaRIA to recognise Bogle’s contribution to choreography - Feb 12 will be dedicated to the slain dancer

Published:Wednesday | February 4, 2015 | 2:00 AM
File Ibo Cooper
Gerald 'Bogle' Levy
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Iconic dancer Gerald 'Bogle' Levy will be recognised by The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) during this year's Reggae Month Celebrations.

According to JaRIA's chairman, Ibo Cooper, the dancer was a pioneer for Jamaican dancing, and it is, therefore, the right time to bring Bogle's legacy under the microscope.

JaRIA has dedicated February 12 to Bogle, and will do a full analysis of his work via an interactive forum and presentation. This will be held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre and is free to the public.

Ibo Cooper told The Gleaner that he was not only a fan of the slain icon, but Bogle's contribution to reggae and dancehall's culture could not be overstated.

"Ironically, I was at Edna Manley College at the time when Bogle was very popular. I was trying to arrange for Edna Manley Dance School to bring him there, and the same time, he got shot. I was at his funeral to give greetings and ended up being one of the persons who played at the service. Bogle created dance moves, and I see him as one of the most important choreographers in Jamaican dance in the modern era. He was a leading figure, and even dances were named to pay homage to him," Cooper said.

The chairman also pointed out that if the local music industry does not own its creative resources, then other countries will be happy to do so and are already on that path. He also highlighted the Shmoney dance move, made popular by United States-based rapper Bobby Shmurda. This dance, he believes, was a remake of the Tatie dance move, which was a hit in the '90s because of a single of the same title, released by veteran artiste Snagga Puss.

"I am hoping to bring out the importance of dance in driving the music industry, an industry which is usually expressed in the dance. People overseas have even taken our dances and renamed them; for example, the Butterfly was renamed as the Tootsie Roll, and so was Shmoney. I don't want to start any controversy, but I see concerts that have foreign artistes getting a bag of money which will leave the country, and it is so difficult for us to get sponsorship," he said.

Cooper also believes the late legendary choreographer, Rex Nettleford, would have agreed with JaRIA's decision to recognise Bogle's contribution to choreography.

"The world recognises already, but Bogle has to be recognised here. Professor Rex Nettleford would have supported what I am saying because he recognised the elements of roots dance. If you go to the national dance theatre, Kumina and those things, Rex took them an incorporated them. So I think he would have said, 'Come mek wi look pan wah Bogle a duh'," he said.

Abishai Hoilett, JaRIA's youth representative director, told The Gleaner that persons within the music industry were reflecting on Bogle's contribution to the entertainment industry and feeding their concerns to JaRIA. Therefore, the body wanted to highlight the cultural movement of dancing, which has spread across Caribbean waters and is now popular in places like Japan, Russia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Australia and Lithuania.

Bogle was responsible for creating dance moves such as the Willy Bounce, Wacky Dip, Urkle Dance, Sesame Street, Bogle Dance, Pelper, LOY, Jerry Springer, Zip It Up, Hotti Hotti Bogle, World Dance, Pop Yuh Collar, Row di Boat, Out and Bad, Sweeper, among others.

The dancer was also featured in the 1998 American film, Belly, directed by music video director, Hype Williams.

Bogle's most commercially successful choreography, the self-titled Bogle dance move, has been featured in several international music videos and commercials. Artistes and actors like Rihanna, Martin Lawrence, Marlon Wayans, and Paul Bondy, among others, have dabbled with the routine in the past.

This year, JaRIA will also pay homage to reggae music greats via the JaRIA Honour Award ceremony, while open university forums will see panellists speaking on issues like Women in Reggae, The Legalisation of Marijuana, Sound System Culture and the Noise Abatement Act. The celebrations will last for the entire month of February. The calendar of events can be found online at http://www.jariajamaica.com.

curtis.campbell@gleanerjm.com