Tue | May 30, 2017

Dancehall Queen 2015 set to sizzle

Published:Tuesday | July 28, 2015 | 7:00 AMAdrian Frater
A Japanese contestant showing off her dancing skill at a recent edition of the annual International Dancehall Queen contest.

Western Bureau:

Big Head Promotions, the promoters of the annual International Dancehall Queen Contest, is promising that this year's staging, which will unfold at the Pier One Complex, in Montego Bay, on Saturday night, will be an exceptional affair.

"We have never seen the kind of excitement that we are seeing this year," said businessman Brian 'Big Head' Martin, the CEO of Big Head's Promotions. "We are seeing a record number of participants out of Europe and Asia ... the excitement is everywhere."

To show their level of seriousness, some of the overseas contestants, especially from Europe, have been in Jamaica for several weeks, testing their state of readiness on the local party circuit, especially in Kingston.

"The preparations are so intense that some of the contestants have formed groups/allegiances, and have been practising in Kingston, weeks ahead of the event," said Martin. "One contestant that is causing a major stir is Irie Queen out of Spain. She is said to be super-talented and has been making her name known leading up to the main event in order to create a Jamaican fan base."

However, while there has been no great buzz surrounding the local contestants, Western Focus understands that their preparations are no less intense, albeit they are staying out of the limelight.

DETERMINED CONTESTANTS

"The local contestants, while not doing much public video shoots and appearances, are equally intent on getting the perfect 'wow' routine for the event," said Trinny Cee, the international coordinator for the event. "I understand that some of the Japanese performers are taking a similar approach to that of our local contestants, not wanting to "jinx" their performance."

With at least one new country joining the long list of perennial contenders, the battle for the prize package, which is expected to exceed last year's J$1.5 million, should be intense.

"This year, the representation from European and Asian dancers has doubled and even tripled in some countries ... Sweden has four contestants so far while the figure for Japan is not yet finalised," said Trinny Cee. "The newest addition to this year's event is New Guinea, which is being represented by 'Stylisha.'

So as to keep the overseas fans, who will not be able to make the trip to Montego Bay, in tune with the event as it unfolds, arrangements are in place for live stream online via pay-per-view.

"Our aim is always to have our patrons (online and live) totally satisfied, and our contestants know that," said Martin. "The international contests (dancehall queen contests staged in other countries) have improved in terms of how they stage their events and the quality performance required by the contestants. This year has been the tightest yet, meaning that the competition is going to be real stiff."

History was created last year when nineteen-year-old promotional dancer Jahroia 'Danger' Christie walked away with the title, which was won the previous year by her older sister, Keja 'Tall Up' Christie - a first in the annals of the event.