Dancing is a legit profession, says World Reggae Dance champions
Dynamix Team are the 2019 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) World Reggae Dance champions. The six-member squad, which won the competition in 2016, turned back competition from 10 other dance crews last Friday night, including an all-female team from Belgium. The National Arena came alive as Jamaican dance culture took centre stage in the island’s premier international dancehall and reggae competition.
The team of Hodeano Dixon, Nick Thorpe, Ryan Beckford, Travis Thompson, John Allison and Oshane Mitchell, clear crowd favourites from early out in the competition, all but sealed their first-place spot when they delivered a perfect, high-energy routine. Clad in construction wear from head to toe, the crew told the story of a group of hard-working men, doing everything necessary to better themselves. With every prop, every song selection and every single choreographed move, the audience was sold on the plot. They received the first and only standing ovation of the night, and so ,when it was announced that they would walk away with the title, there were no disputes, just loud cheers of approval.
Speaking with The Gleaner after the announcement, the dancers, overwhelmed with emotion, said they were deliberate in the story they chose to tell through their routine. Pointing out that dancing is commonly seen as a hobby rather than a career, the group, who has been performing together for more than a decade, said they wanted to show that “dancing is hard work and is a legit profession”.
Team member Oshane Mitchell stated, “People don’t recognise what we do as a job, they see it as a pastime, something you do for fun. But we wanted to show that while this is fun and we love it, it also takes hard work, sacrifice and true dedication, just like any other profession out there.”
He added, “We had an idea that we would be the winners tonight because we take this very seriously and we put in our best, and it was obviously good enough.”
His team mates shared similar sentiments. “What we do takes a lot of sacrifice. We’re not just dancers but we’re teachers of dance and we have to dedicate time to practising every single day. For us, dancing is work, it’s a priority,” said Ryan Beckford. “Some people see this as something that will not pay you and sustain you in any meaningful way, but they’re wrong. Persons need to stop looking at dancing at that basic level, because they’re many people touring the world from dance and they’re okay in life. We need to finally get the level of respect we deserve.”
Along with the title of champions, the Dynamix team walked away with over $1 million in cash and prizes. Afro Jam Tribe and New Era team walked away with second- and third-place, and $300,000 and $150,000 in cash prize, respectively. The World Reggae Dance Championship was first staged in 2006.