Dancehall Queens and Kings take on Sydney’s Eastside

Dancehall Queens and Kings take on Sydney’s Eastside

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Thursday, 03 November 2016
Event Reviews

Dancehall Queens and Kings take on Sydney’s Eastside for the NSW title

The best dancehall dancers in the state are competing for the championship title and crown of NSW Dancehall King and Queen. This high energy dance contest will take place at the home of visual art, performance art, and live music in Sydney’s eastside, Oxford Arts Factory, Sunday 11th December.

The winners will represent NSW in the National Finals in Melbourne in 2017, and look to put a stop to Victoria’s successes the past two years. The infectious art of Jamaican dancehall dance culture has hit the shores of Sydney over recent years in a big way, developing into a thriving dance genre and lifestyle. This raw captivating street energy, swagger, and free style of dancehall has become a major influence on popular music and dance styles, including hip hop, reggaeton, and contemporary afro.

Dancehall’s increasing popularity has also seen this style included as a segment in the North American So You think You Can Dance TV series, and Sydney now boasts numerous dance schools that actively teach dancehall to keen dancers of all levels.

Dancehall music originally came out of Kingston Jamaica in the 1970’s as a bolder and more impetuous version of the roots reggae music that preceded it, and often features DJs rapping live over the rhythms. Like a lot of other strong music cultures it represents an entire lifestyle; one that speaks openly about the sociopolitical realities of Jamaican culture, through an expression of music, dance, and fashion.

The Jamaica Dancehall Queen is recognized as the official competition used to crown the best female dancer, and the annual event at Montego Bay is one of the most anticipated calendar events in Jamaica. The competition has evolved to become internationally known, attracting dancers from all over the world including Germany, Canada, England USA, Japan and Australia. The first foreign winner was Junko Kudo from Japan who won the title in 2002. Reggae Dancehall Queen was first just a name given to a dancehall fashion Queen and the in augural title was won by Carlene Smith in 1991 at the infamous Cactus Night Club in St Catherine Jamaica. The Official competition was then started in 1996 by Brian “Big Head” Martin, and is now in its 21st year.

The Australian version of the competition is in its 3rd year and is open to men and women. With the women being judged for their charisma, latest dance moves, and sexy fashion sense, the competition also highlights and showcases the vast array of intricate dance moves created by the male dominated dance crews of Jamaica, that are leading the global movement of dancehall dance worldwide. These crews include The Ravers Clavers, Sample 6 and more. Males in the dancehall culture have also matched their female counterparts in looking stylish and fashionable, projecting an urban styling and high fashion that suggests societal status and wealth.

The increasing popularity of Caribbean music and culture in Sydney, reflected through the number of dance hall classes, events, DJ’s, eateries, cultural products (checkout the website Caribbean Sydney), has meant that the standards of dancehall training now available in Sydney have developed to a great level. December 11th presents an amazing platform for aspiring dancehall dancers to train hard, study new dance moves and refine their dance skills to become NSW best!

Or, you can do what a lot of the World Music crew at BBR plan on doing, and get down to the Oxford Arts Factory on the 11th December to participate as an interested observer with a supply of Red Stripe beer and Rum and Dry chasers.

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Caribbean Sydney Presents – The official state qualifier for the 2017 Australian Dancehall King & Queen competition.

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