Dancing up a storm with Ding Dong
WHILE there is concern in some circles that dancers are a dying breed, one exponent differs. Ding Dong, leader of the Ravers Clavers dance squad, says the movement is alive and well.
However, he notes that there has been a considerable gender shift recently.
"The females are getting a big run now and that is a good thing. They have songs like One Drop to dance, so now they are the ones in the video light," he explained. "A few years ago, it was the males that was dominating the spotlight. A male dancer can't lift up a female and dance to One Drop so wi jus' haffi let dem live their glory," Ding Dong added.
Dances and music videos, once the domain of male dancers like Bogle, Ice and Shelly Belly, are now dominated by acrobatic, voluptuous females.
A similar shift has occurred in hip hop. In its infancy during the early 1980s, male choreographers were visible. But since the 1990s when the 2 Live Crew rap group burst on the scene with outrageous rump-shaking videos, the female dancer has become a force.
Ding Dong also points to a lack of suitable venues and appropriate songs as major challenges for he and his contemporaries.
"We have lost our dancing arena. Passa Passa and Dutty Fridayz were like our national arena. Now we only have Uptown Mondayz an' some of the selectors are only playing 'money pull-up' songs," he said.
According to Ding Dong, there are hardly any songs about dances anymore, Flippa Maffia's Moggler being the exception.
Three years ago, Ding Dong stepped away from dancing. He recorded a few hit songs, the biggest being Holiday.
He said his aim this year is to revive his dancing career.
"Music is more profitable than dancing so I was distracted for a while. There is hardly any rich dancer in Jamaica but for me, dancing is more fun," he said.
Ding Dong hails from Nannyville in east Kingston, and is founder of the Ravers Clavers. Bad Man Forward and Skip to Ma Lou are among his popular moves.