Dancers' Paradise: Samantha dances in sexy stilettos
Some may recognise Samantha Strachan from a recent Red Stripe campaign in which she was clad in a red catsuit while sultrily posed against an enlarged bottled beverage. The true story of that sultry woman is that of a lifelong dancer-turned-teacher with the goal to increase the hiring potential of as many Jamaican dancers as possible.
"I think I'm the most diverse in Jamaica, where I will teach Afrobeat, hip-hop, ballet, pointe, tap-dancing which is not common, contemporary, jazz ... I do everything for all ages," Samantha told Dancers' Paradise.
Her aim is to expose the upcoming generation of dancers to the diversity of the dance community and make Jamaican dancers more marketable on the international stage.
The most recent addition to Samantha's timetable is a Stiletto Sexy dance class.
"I grew up in Southern California, where they dance in heels a lot. I mean, BeyoncÈ just think of those kinds of performances. They eventually made classes for those."
Like tap-dancing, such classes weren't readily available in Jamaica, so Samantha is filling the void.
"The impact I would want to make in Jamaica is to open eyes to diversity. Jamaica is a very 'dancehall' country, where we're very limited to wanting to explore different cultures. And, of course, we have one of the richest cultures, but if we want to be competitive on an international stage, we can't just know one genre of movement," said Samantha, who owns two companies, Tip Tap Toe Jamaica (an dance academy for students aged two to 18 years old) and Vybance Ja, an adult dance class.
The 26-year-old told Dancers' Paradise that she has been dancing "all her life", and started teaching about five years ago.
Samantha is also a working choreographer, who has worked with acts like Alaine, Chronixx, Kelissa, Beenie Man and countless other dancehall and reggae artistes.
While Samantha is proud of local dancers who teach foreigners home-made moves, she worries that they are not being credited or compensated enough.
"They are going and teaching our style to everyone across the world, but it's not really showing in the books. We need to make money from our Jamaican dance moves ..." she said.