Dancers’ Paradise: Steven Cornwall to teach dancehall fusion in Barbados
With one week left to go before The Company Dance Theatre heads to Barbados to perform and conduct various workshops, dance tutor and choreographer Steven Cornwall (known as Stevz on social media) is preparing himself to learn more about the eastern Caribbean island on his second time there.
“My first visit to Barbados did not turn out to be a learning experience, it was just to perform,” Cornwall told Dancers' Paradise. “I know persons associate dancehall with Jamaica and Trinidad with soca, but I am not informed about the popular dances or music in Barbados, so I am hoping to learn more about the culture and dance this time around.”
Cornwall travelled to Suriname for three consecutive years and to the US (Boston and New York) to perform and teach during his more than 10 years of dancing professionally.
What started out as an extracurricular activity has now become his full-time career, a decision which he said his parents, although hesitant, became comfortable with.
He performed with Ardenne Dance Troupe for a few years before transitioning to The Ashe Company and then The Company Dance Theatre.
He said he began dancing in his late teens and that his parents used to take him to classes from St George's to Ardenne High.
Dance wasn't part of the activities offered at the all boys’ school but Cornwall said it was not strange because dancehall, which was his first passion, was popular.
“It became strange when I was introduced to other styles and learning that there is a whole different world out there,” he said.
DANCE FORM FUSIONS
He has since learnt to fuse all the dance forms together with his passion. But how does Cornwall describe dancehall fusion?
“It is basically teaching dancehall movements with other styles and genres, for example fusing traditional steps such as folk or even jazz to dancehall music,” he said. “It is not hardcore dancehall but still has the feel and it is more commercialised.”
The 29-year-old currently teaches at Hard End Fitness Factory, Mattocks Fitness and Raphael Wellness Centre in Kingston as well as with corporate entities.
He also partners with Anna-Kay Edwards of Sanity Fit to teach dance aerobics.
He explained, “This is my job, it is how I pay my bills but I always leave a class feeling good to teach new faces and sharing dancehall fusion with new individuals. It is a warm feeling to see how people gravitate to our culture and that’s also why I am excited to return to Barbados.”
The dancer’s wish for the local dancehall community is that persons would be more open, especially dancers.
"Being open to other genres helps you to grow, to better your craft and see what is out there to immerse yourself and still do what you love without saying ‘dancehall is this or that’, it is then that a dancer can make money,” he said.