Kool Ravers ‘flings’ knowledge about education
Being a successful dancer certainly seems to has its perks - countless doting followers, and a lifestyle that affords the opportunity to travel overseas - and has attracted a lot of young people to the profession. But Chevoy 'Kool Ravers' Grant says it's much more than that.
The street dancer, known for the 'Fling Yuh Shoulder' move, has been revered for his talent, both locally and internationally. This has resulted in many youth seeking his advice on how to make it as a dancer.
Grant told The Gleaner that his response is always for them to first get an education. "Education plays a part - as a complement to the talent," said Grant.
A past student of Kingston College (KC), he told The Gleaner, "I am one of those KC old boys who did well in my CSEC examinations. I could have taken on the educational road, but never felt it was my fate. But if I choose to, there's no doubt that I would be successful," said Grant.
Growing up in Nannyville Gardens,
St Andrew, Grant's talent was noticed by his community, and he eventually became part of the popular Ravers Clavers dance crew - this year marks his sixth year as a member.
"We are all role models, in the sense that we all have done well in school or completed high school. I doubt that any of us have less than five subjects," he said. "The number one rule before dancing is to achieve something in school."
As he prepares for his third European tour as the only Jamaican dancer participating in an intensive dance workshop hosted by the Motions Studio in Berlin, Germany, he says the focus is to get more out of the cultural experience.
"There are a lot of naysayers who think dance is not a career. But it's different overseas - it is a praiseworthy talent, profession, and has more structure than in Jamaica," he said.
The tour, organised through Top Up Promotions and Dance JA, will take the 'kool' Ravers Clavers member through 12 European cities. He says that locally, all the elements are there for dance to earn respect as a profession. He noted how it has helped him developed, recalling, "Jamaicans are more social, and before I was a dancer, I was afraid to step out of my own space. But the way we communicate to the support of the group, I was able to get out there without fear, which is my philosophy, and soon to be a dance move," he revealed.
Grant explained that with more structure and education, the talented youth who fear the backlash of being viewed as "just a dancer" can have numerous opportunities.
"As them say, 'Yuh haffi hot a yaad, before yuh can hot abroad,' but the youth need to also know that it does not make sense to leave out education."
After receiving the Prime Minister's Youth Award for Arts and Culture in 2017, Grant has made it his duty to impart knowledge on the importance of education.
"How many can say that they have this award? At the end of the day, it is not just about the work as a dancer, but how you go about doing the work," he said.
Based on how he got started to what he has achieved today, he says, "I am actually educating and telling the world what I am about, and would like to do more, whether through a documentary or on another level, but the idea of a documentary has not been thoroughly thought out." He says the goal is to have a positive impact on the world.
Grants leaves the island today and returns shortly before another workshop throughout South America.