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‘Wan Move’ to connect countries, dances

Published:Monday | March 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Moiika Stanley

Moiika Stanley danced her way to the Dancehall Queen title at Pier 1 in Montego Bay, St James, in 2008 and eventually made moves - literally - in over 60 countries, teaching moves to persons who have caught the Jamaican music beat. However, for the Wan Move Diaspora Dance Convention, which she has scheduled for Jamaica later this year, Stanley is planning to have a wide range of dances being taught and make connections not only among persons from different countries, but also dancing and formal training.

The latter goes not only for the 500 to 750 visitors to Jamaica Stanley expects for the event, slated for November 26 to December 2, but also persons who have been dropping moves in parties and on social media, often without having gone through a structured instruction process. "Street dancers tend to ignore that formal space," Stanley said. "Education has its place." Part of that is ensuring dancing flexibility, not only in the sense of being able to stretch physically, but one's capacity. "Jamaicans do not cross-train with other dancers," Stanley said. It is a deficiency as, she said, "you can't be on major shows if you can do only one kind of dance".




The Wan Move Diaspora Dance Convention, is in as formal a dance space as it can get in Jamaica, as it will be centred around the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. In addition to the dance classes (at which, Stanley emphasises, originators and pioneers of the various moves and genres will teach), the multifaceted event will include panel discussions, exploration of the city's nightlife and excursions. Being hosted in a place recognised as a Creative City of Music by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a major draw.

"The big thing is that it is in Kingston," Stanley said, emphasising how much persons wish to visit the hub of Jamaica's creativity.

This is the second biennial Wan Dance event. Stanley said that the first was held in the Central African Republic and the 2020 staging is slated for the Dominican Republic. Although this is the convention's second staging, Stanley said "it is in the infancy stage. Government support is more important than sponsorship, because it legitimises the brand." To that end, even as she makes sponsorship overtures, Stanley is making 'wan move' towards the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport.