Remembering dancer Bogle

By Sade Gardner
Observer writer

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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TODAY is 13 years since the passing of one of dancehall's most flamboyant figures: dancer Gerald “Bogle” Levy.

Bogle, 40, was a founding member of Black Roses Crew of Lincoln Crescent (Roses Corner) in Kingston 13. Its members included community leader William “Wille Haggart” Moore, David “Ice” Smith, Michael Stewart, and Lonsdale “Boysie” Guy.

Bogle, also known as Mr Wacky, was shot and killed at a St Andrew service station on January 20, 2005. He had just left popular dance Weddy Wednesdays at Stone Love headquarters in St Andrew after 2:00 am.

Moore and Smith met similar fate in 2001 and 2008, respectively.

Boysie told the Jamaica Observer that Roses Corner has not been the same since Bogle's passing.

“Everybody still mourns him. We talk about him everyday, he wasn't just a dancer to us. He didn't like guns or violence; even if it is a licensed gun him neva want it near him. He lived his life for people. We would leave dance round 6 or 7 every morning and by 8:00 am he would wake up to give the kids lunch money to go to school. I keep his photo (mural) bright on the wall. I spend my money to keep that photo alive and I will continue to do so until God takes my life,” he said.

Bogle had risen to prominence in the 90s with dances like Bogle Dance and World Dance. He would later go on to create dances like Mission Impossible, Urkle Dance, Wave, Pelper, LOY, Jerry Springer, Zip It, Log On, and Willie Bounce.

Boysie, now a choreographer, who was hours away from departing the island to begin a South American tour, was enthused to speak about his idol whom he met in 1992 at 12 years old.

“I was playing football when I saw him come on the field. I got so excited because I saw him on TV all the time. He chose to play on my team which made me happy so every time me get the ball mi pass it to him. After the game, he asked me if I wanted to go to a party with him and I sneaked out of the house that day and went to the party — that's where it started,” he recalled with a chuckle.

He would later pay for that deed, as his mother banned him from going to parties.

“I would still see him in the mornings on the block when I was going to school so mi use to stop and hail him,” he said.

At the turn of 15, Boysie said he received life-changing news that he would be a father so he went on a job hunt. Not landing a job after several attempts, he turned to Bogle and expressed an interest in dancing in 1995.

“I wanted to separate myself from what my friends were doing. Living in the inner city, kids are fatherless, I didn't want that for my child, and Bogle saved my life. He gave me my first homework on Roses Corner, that was to learn the LOY dance. It is the hardest dance he has ever created. I spent almost six months on that dance! I went to him every time I think I got it right and he sent me home each time. I wanted to give up so many times and one day he said to me: 'You know why I keep sending you home? I want you to catch the flow and the groove',” Boysie recalled.

These, Boysie points out, are missing components of modern dance moves.

“There will always be just one Dancing King. I try to carry on his legacy across the world. I teach classes on Roses Corner. Learning dancehall moves from the streets is the best way, not a studio or club, but where Bogle did practise every day. I take my dancers into his yard and living room; I give them a cultural tour, just like you have the Bob Marley Museum. He is the Bob Marley of dancing,” said Boysie.

Asked to share any fond memories of Bogle's fashion sense, Boysie never hesitated.

“Did you know that Bogle used to buy brand new panties and put inna him back pocket like a kerchief or rag? Dem man deh used to wear anklet, tie dem shirt front, wear chain from dem ears to dem nose, put perm and wave inna dem hair... We were the first dancehall group to set fashion trends and bring props in dancehall. Bogle did bring the fashion, dance and style, Willie brought the money. Is not a normal group that,” he said.

As for the future, Boysie said he hopes to transform the late dancer's home into a cultural shop where tourists can purchase merchandise. Until then, Boysie is excited about touring countries like Chile and Peru, which he credits to his mentor.

“Everything I do is in honour of him. His memorial hasn't been held in two years, but I would like to keep a birthday bash on his birthday (August 22). All the costs are on me so it is difficult but I do it out of respect and love,” he said.

Dancehall artiste Beenie Man, who included Bogle's work in songs including Row Like A Boat and World Dance, had offered a $1-million reward for information leading to the capture of Bogle's shooters in 2005. To date, no one has been prosecuted for the crime. The case remains, in Bogle's popular slang, 'an unsolved mystery'.




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