Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Jamaican dancer Latonya Styles has opened the 'DanceJa Skool' in Kingston. According to Styles, dancing is a very influential art form, and the purpose of the dance school is to showcase and teach its students the value of Jamaican culture and the power of music.
Styles revealed that DanceJa intends to make dancing a respectable career through the teachings of experienced dance practitioners.
"DanceJa is working hard to elevate the Jamaican dance industry so that our local dancers are able to contribute significantly to this phenomenal cultural expression. Our power team of dancers, teachers, choreographers, administrative personnel and consultants are collectively called teamdanceja ... which is a collage of Jamaica's top dance groups and solo dancers who agree to work together to do stage performances, music video appearances and provide dance workshops in Jamaica and around the world. DanceJa is committed to the facilitation of the development of these Jamaican dancers as well as represent, endorse, assist and motive them as best as possible," she said.
Styles is known for her appearances in music videos and her numerous YouTube uploads teaching her fans the latest Jamaican dance moves.
WHY START THE SCHOOL?
The response from her online supporters largely contributed to her urge to start a dance school.
"The concept of DanceJa Skool came into effect a few years ago when the name [Dance Skool] became the title and trademark for the videos we released online to promote and teach the latest dancehall steps from A-Z. So now that we have a dance studio for teaching and learning, adding the skool to it was the perfect way to relaunch the DanceJa brand," Latonya explained.
Currently, DanceJa Skool provides dancing, health and fitness services for all age groups. They also provide a choreography service, where they can be hired to perform at events that require specific dance routines.
"We also provide talent for music videos, artiste development, studio rental and private classes. We also offer varied forms of dance styles and genres, including African, modern, ballet, dancehall, Latin, soca, retro boogie, stylish moves and reggae jammin'" she continued.
"This facility will not only be the home for Jamaica's creative dancers, but for the likes of aspiring dancers, exercise enthusiasts, celebrities and tourists from all around the world who seek knowledge about our popular Jamaican entertainment culture," Styles said.
The dance school has already received favourable attention from local and international students, entertainers and recording artistes.
Artistes such as Ms Trinity, Ryan Mark, Bambino, RDX, Ishawna, Tornado, G-Anna, Ras Penco, Samboni and Pritti Shu have already received a taste of the DanceJa Skool experience.
In June of last year, dance orchestrated a dancehall camp in Russia where five local dancers journeyed to St Petersburg to exchange Jamaica's dancehall culture in theory and practical.
Styles also embarked on her own international tour, on which she conducted 30 dancehall workshops and lecture demonstrations in five Russian cities and six European countries.
The school is located at 11A Central Plaza, 13 Consant Spring Road, Kingston 10. Persons interested in becoming a DanceJa student may also call 844 -3353.