Song and dance hard move to catch
There was a time when Passa Passa on Spanish Town Road, outside Tivoli Gardens, and Dutty Fridaze in Fletcher's Land were dancehall hotspots. "Those are the events where artistes and dancers alike could interact and create new dances or songs. Everybody has a method; ours was to go a dance and when we see something popular, we sing about it," dancehall artiste Renigade told The STAR.
According to the entertainer, half of dancehall duo RDX, everything has changed, including the interest of artistes to do dance-related songs. Renigade said that artistes are not motivated to do a song about a move that a dancer creates, because the dancers can be ungrateful and do not give credit to the artistes. "If it is going get back to the pinnacle it was, the effort and unity it needs is not there right now," Renigade said.
Known for dance singles Everybody Dance, Chrome Wine and Kotch, the RDX member expressed that partnering with dancers still has its benefits, one of which is to help dance moves not die out. "A dance move goes through a transitional period, where it is either accepted or rejected; a song moves it out of the street, beyond the dancehall arena. If deejays only do dance songs for one dancer, hotter moves may be formed the same time that require a song," he added.
Veteran dancehall artiste Elephant Man said partnerships with dancers are tricky, but agrees that once there is unity between dancers and artistes it can work. The Higher Level deejay said both artiste and dancer must acknowledge that the dance [move] makes the song and the song allows the dance to make the impact it is able to.
"The part of my catalogue that stands out to this day is the dance-themed songs. Although me and di dancers dem good, I took a break because it was becoming repetitive. No artiste wants to be known for music like that alone," Elephant Man said.
Elephant Man has recently picked up where he left with Out and Bad and Street Dance, while RDX produced the recently released single Better Bounce by dancer Cojo Hotfoot. Renigade added: "If a dancer wants to do dance song to link the man that's doing it or learn fi be a deejay, write it and get it recorded."
Dancer and recording artiste Ding Dong Ravers said: "Music travels further and faster than an actual dance in most cases. So while a dance manifests in a dancehall session where good music is playing, it can take all two months or more than that for it to reach its full potential."