5 Questions With … dancer Orville Hall
“Find your purpose and your life will be fruitful.” That is the personal mantra of popular dancer Orville Hall, and after years of dedication to the dance industry, it’s safe to say Hall found his purpose and has pursued it relentlessly.
As leader of the well-established Dance Xpressionz crew, Hall has managed to chart a course in dance that is perhaps unmatched by any other in the profession today. When it comes to choreography, he is the ‘go-to’ man. When he steps on to any dance floor, Hall oozes pure, raw passion, so much so that his love has inspired many to follow in his footsteps.
Hall has received quite a few accolades throughout his career, including the 2016 Stone Love Award for Best International Male Dancer and the Danceja Online Award for Choreographer of the Year 2010-2011. This year, he will add to his growing list of awards when he is honoured by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) with the Gregory Isaacs Foundation Award. Here’s to getting to know the dancer a little bit more on this week’s edition of 5 Questions With ... .
1. How much does the JaRIA recognition mean to you? When you first heard that you were being honoured, what were the thoughts that crossed your mind?
Last year at JaRIA, I was asked to present an award to Koffee, which was a big honour for me, and I was looking at the setting and saying, ‘I wonder if I’ll ever be in a position to be on this platform receiving an award’, and 365 days later I’m going to be walking out there being honoured, so it’s an exciting feeling and a humbling one at the same time. It’s a very humbling feeling for me because it means I am now seen on a platform where my work has now spoken to the larger community.
2. Do you think dancers are honoured enough for their cultural contributions? What more can we do as a country to show these individuals that we appreciate and value them?
I don’t think dancers are being honoured enough, and I think more can be done. More platforms can be created or more space on the existing platforms can be created to recognise what dancers are doing. I think the country should pay more attention to what is happening in the world of dance, and especially dancehall, because there is a whole lot happening that I don’t think that our country is observing. I don’t think they realise the number of persons that are out in the world and literally touring the world teaching the Jamaican dance culture. I think we need to be a little more observant of the work that we are doing out there as dancers, and create a platform to give us some level of recognition.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a dancer?
I think what I enjoy the most is watching the light in people’s eyes when they understand more about the dancehall culture. When they understand more about what a move means, especially because of the fact that I focus on foundation dancehall – when connections are made between a dance move people are familiar with, but didn’t know that it was connected to something from the traditional folk form days.
I also really enjoy seeing other places around the world that as a young man growing up I only saw on television. Now, being able to see these places physically is another thing. I hate flying and a lot of people don’t know that because I fly so much, but I love seeing new places.
4. Who is your dance idol?
My first two dance idols were my father and my older brother. Mr Kenneth Hall (father), his nickname was ‘Dancey’. Even though he wasn’t a professional dancer, the community saw him as the dancer. He was the person at every party vibing up the place and ah lively up the party.
Then there was my brother, Danny Scubel was his dancing name. He was the person who took me to my first dance in the community. I was seven years old and I won a dance competition and got my first bottle soda. He was the one I always watched and was impressed by how smooth and dynamic he was. Then when I started going out in the world, there was Bogle and Michael Jackson. These are the persons that influenced me and are my idols in dance.
5. Do you have any regrets about the profession you’ve chosen?
I have absolutely no regrets in the profession I chose because, the truth is, I didn’t choose dance, dance chose me. It’s something I had to do, I was propelled. I had no regrets, especially because of where dance has taken me and is going to take me.
Brawta: What encouragement would you give to an aspiring dancer who is being talked out of dancing because some may still not see it as a profession?
If the last thing you think about at nights before you go to bed is dance and the first thing you think about when you wake up, you should be dancing. You shouldn’t allow anyone to tell you that is not what you want to do. With that said, the minute you decide that this is what you want to do, you have to prepare for the obstacles and the challenges that are going to come. Remember that these things are coming to test your resolve to see if you’re truly about dancing. You have to also be a student of your craft, you have to seek higher learning. It’s not just a step in because yuh can dance in the streets, it’s truly about educating yourself and finding out more about this rich culture.