Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Bogle's legacy still strong

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Exactly 10 years ago, dancer Gerald 'Bogle' Levy passed away in an untimely manner, but to this day, he continues to have a major impact on dancehall.

Prior to being killed at a service station on January 20, 2005, Bogle created numerous dance moves, including 'Willie Bounce', 'Wacky Dip', 'Urkle Dance', 'Bogle Dance', 'Pelper', 'LOY', 'Jerry Springer' and 'World Dance'.

But Bogle was much more than his dance moves and had an immense impact on the career of dancehall group Voicemail.

"Voicemail started in 1999. We had done other songs before meeting Bogle, but it was after meeting Bogle that we got our first hit song, Weddy Time," said Voicemail member Kevin Blair, noting that it was also Bogle's first recording.

Blair said Bogle was at every street dance promoting the song and the dance move, thereby leading to its success.

Based on how many lives he (Bogle) has impacted, Blair said, "You can't have dancehall without Bogle."

Injected dance in dancehall

He continued, "Bogle was the one who injected dance in dancehall. He has been a part of so many artistes' career over the years. He is the one that made other persons want to dance. He is definitely a plug in dancehall and you can't plug him out no time."

A decade after his death, Donna Hope, director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies (Mona), says Bogle is still a trendsetter.

"Even though he is no longer with us, people still see Bogle as a trendsetter. He is still very well recognised as part of the foundation and as an icon inside of dancehall culture," she told The Gleaner.

She added that he took dancing to another level in terms of his style and mannerisms.

"How he dressed and how he behaved, Bogle was able to take a lot of liberties. He was very creative and took a lot of liberty with his male identity," Hope told The Gleaner.

Paved the way for dancers

Hope also stressed that Bogle had a significant impact on dancehall in how he paved the way for many dancers, and the major role he played in the careers of many entertainers.

As a dancer himself, Ding Dong says he still emulates Bogle's style of dancing and appreciates the role that Bogle played in dancehall.

"He had a major impact on me. Just the style of dancing weh him do, my dances have that same motion. He is not just a dance icon, but as an individual, he is a major asset to dancehall and the culture. He is the greatest that ever did it. I look up to the man so much. He set it for us as dancers. It is an honour to know that Bogle left something and me can carry it through," said Ding Dong, who is also a deejay.

As recently as last week, Elephant Man said he was in a deep discussion about the work that Bogle did and how he influenced the culture.

"We were at Weddy Weddy talking about him. He had a lot of impact on fashion, slangs and dance. The whole a di youth dem weh dance, a Bogle dem look up to. Him a di baddest weh ever walk. Big-up to Bogle," said Elephant Man, who has done songs about several dance moves Bogle created.

sadeke.brooks@gleanerjm.com