Dancin’ Dynamites celebrating 16th anniversary
Entries close January 31 for new round of competition
Dancin’ Dynamites is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year and is ready to give contestants the chance to win more than $3 million in cash and prizes.
Following the January 15 launch, the event’s main organiser, Jennifer ‘Jenny Jenny’ Small, said she is already excited about what’s in store for both the contestants and the viewers.
With the country still facing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the audition process for 2022 has now gone virtual to accommodate everyone. Groups are being asked to record a one-minute routine and submit their entry video via email. “We’re minimising the stress of campaigning by taking all those ‘likes’ and votes to social media. We’re big on social responsibility, social change, and saving lives,” Small told The Gleaner.
Her initial plan was to run with the sweet 16 theme, but since nothing has been sweet about this pandemic and COVID-19, she decided that it was time to go out and stuntin’. From daring adventures and dance collaborations with international ‘dynamites’, Jenny Jenny plans to make this year’s mission possible.
Thanking the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) for giving the green light, she also expressed gratitude to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, municipal corporations and title sponsor Charles Chocolates, among others. Other sponsors include Burger King, Supligen, Devon Biscuit, Nestlé Cheerios, Brut, Cals Spring Water, JF Mills, Inter-Global Technology Solutions and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, who saw her vision and helped bring it to life. To the dancers who have already taken enthusiastic steps in sending in their dance videos, Small appreciates this big step.
For the elimination round of the contest, selected groups will be going to different hotels and resorts across the island. Their showcase will double up as entertainment for the guests staying on the property. So far, the resorts include Tamarind Tree Hotel in St Ann, Hotel Grand-A-View in Montego Bay, Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, and Altamont Court Hotel in Kingston. Dancers will be receiving hotel prizes among their winnings. From there, the studio finals will be recorded at the Excelsior Community College. “The school is a wonderful sponsor and partner, offering scholarships to the top three groups,” Small shared.
Reflecting on the years gone by, Small celebrates past contestants like Romaine ‘Chin’ Douglas, Tommy Lee Dixon, Oliver Chaplin and Mikhail Morris, who are all doing well overseas. “If the winners aren’t able to take up the scholarships, we choose one dancer from the year. Mikhail was chosen because all we saw was promise, and now he is the top dancehall dance teacher in Canada,” she added.
Locally, she has kept the dancing spirit alive with the formation of JAM Dynamites. The team consists of previous competitors, who tour the island via the hotel circuit. The performers are compensated; that way, they are able to invest in themselves and their lives.
“If it’s not about building lives, I’m not interested in it. I take all the dancers when the season is over and form this amazing group. We’re in hotels like Moon Palace, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Couples Resorts and others. Sometimes, I take what they earn and force them to save and open bank accounts. All of them have since built the necessary infrastructure to expand their homes, return to school, and support their family financially,” she pointed out, adding, “This is more than just a competition. For me, the biggest prize is giving them hope. That way, gunmen cannot see their hands as an option for destruction.”
Her main focus this year is to give people great content and entertainment to move them from a state of depression or any other mental challenges they might be facing, “There’s all this talk about death and disease. We’re moving it to another level: you can live and rise. Go get vaccinated; you have options. There’s hope. Stop locking up so much. Do what you have to do, be cautious, and for God’s sake, don’t stop dancing,” she said.
The deadline for all submissions is January 31. One-minute dance videos may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.