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Indies Vibez up! - First dancehall camp in India

Published:Sunday | March 24, 2019 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
Shakespear leading a workshop.
Dancehall culture is expanding in India.
Shakespear In New Delhi, India, at INDIES VIBEZ UP! with organiser Shankaraa Satchi.

I t was a trip around the world and back again for local dancer Shakespear, who, last month, hopped on a flight from Montego Bay to Germany, then on to Belgium, before finally landing in New Delhi, India. Known for his dance moves and signature giant frames – he was invited to India’ first international dancehall camp – INDIES VIBEZ UP!

The camp was developed by Dancehall India, founded by Shankaraa Satchi, who created the platform with the hope of spreading dancehall culture across India. “The experience was great. Everyone’s mind was open to learn our culture ... which is really a culture within a culture. It’s dancehall culture within Jamaican culture. And when I see the love for our little island … it is so out of this world. They love and cherish what we have,” Shakespear told The Sunday Gleaner.

INDIES VIBEZ UP! included dance workshops and lectures on the history and evolution of dancehall – complete with demonstrations ranging from skaning to daggering. “The mission is to help the dancers and enthusiasts in India experience an authentic Jamaican dancehall lifestyle, to some extent, without having to travel all the way to Jamaica. Although dancehall is at its early stages of development in India, there is a small community of talented dancers there who take dancehall seriously. There are weekly dancehall parties in a few of the major metropolitan cities,” Satchi explained.

The Indian native said she would want dancehall to grow to a level where it creates opportunities for practitioners in India. “I have been listening to reggae and dancehall music for 15 years now, and I have made several trips to Jamaica. Dancehall motivates me and keeps me fit. Reggae music gives me power and inner strength. It uplifts my soul when I trod through a rugged road, therefore I wanted to give thanks to the universe and return the favor in some way shape or form, ” Satchi said.

She believes that the initiative was effective in helping participants better understand the essence of dancehall culture. “It’s never that easy on the pocket when we love something bone deep and not have the means of being able to go across the world to live it. But it was an outstanding exchange of culture. In my experience, Jamaicans find it easy to integrate and understand Indian culture and vice-versa, thanks to cultural similarities – especially the cuisine and the spirituality,” she said.

“Learning from the source – from one of the dancehall dancing symbols like Shakespear, was definitely a major highlight. This is just the beginning. With no rush, no fuss – we will educate Indians more and more about the danchehall culture as a whole,” Satchi vowed.

From February 2 to March 2, INDIES VIBEZ UP! featured a rich line-up of worldwide celebrated dancehall teachers like Shakespear and Chin Overload Skankaz from Jamaica, Nadiah NfuZion from Australia and Idilsa from Cape Verde.