Dancehall originates in Jamaica, where it was created on the basis of reggae music in the late 1970's. Dancehall is not only music and dance, it is also a way of life.
The name derives from the word "dance hall", a place, where people meet when they want to dance. In Jamaica it often means clubs or open spaces.
Internationally, Dancehall appeared in 1980's, thanks to the artists like Yellowman and Shaba Ranks.
In the beginning, Dancehall was danced in Jamaican ghettos, accompanied by music from local "sound systems" (large, portable speakers).
It is considered that no space is too small to party. On the contrary, the more crowded the space is, the better the fun. Dancehall is a very dynamic dance, with fluid moves, strong, emphasised hip movement with wave motion, a large number of shakes and isolations.
The dance and the music creates coherent whole, existing in street culture in ghetto areas of large cities, such as Kindstone.
The lyrics and the dance evolved from care-free to ideologically involved topics, expressing aversion to power elites, white people and homophobia. Since 1980's, a new element has come to fashion, so called Slackness. It brought lyrics about sex, violence and homophobia, which in turn influenced the dance itself. It is perceived as complete opposite of Bob Marley's social message.
At present, the most popular Dancehall music performers are Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Popcaan, Konshens, Aidonia, Elephant Man, Gaza Slim, Beenie Man, RDX.
Female outfits should emphasise sexuality.
It is very popular to wear multi-coloured wigs. As far as the male outfit is concerned, it is popular to wear gold-colour jewellery like chains and bracelets.
There is "Dancehall Queen Contest" organised in Jamaica, in which only women can participate. The aim of the contest os to choose the best, sexiest dancer. Similar rules concern choosing the best male dancer - "Dancehall King Contest". Persons achieving this title are widely renowned amongst Jamaican community. With the dance increasing in popularity, Dancehall Queen Contest and Dancehall King Contest are organised on similar rules in other parts of the world. Dancehall was created not only as a form of entertainment and relaxation. It also naturalises and tames the every-day reality through music and dance.
According to Stolzoff, Dancehall is a way of detaching the young from all their problems by means of spiritual cleansing, joyful expression, ability to express oneself and, finally, survival.
Norman Stolzoff also quotes a jamiacan policeman, who said that "Jamaica would explode if it were not for Dancehall". Quoting Bogle from Jamaica, it is not only a dance, but also a job.
Dancehall is not only music and dance, it is a way of life that comprises of space, music, dance, fashion and philosophy of life.
In order to understand the dance, we encourage to watch our movie clips.