Arts & Culture

Team Ultimate wins dance finals

Observer writer

Monday, August 06, 2018

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PERSEVERANCE paid off for members of Team Ultimate dance group who, after five previous attempts, took top honours at World Reggae Dance Championship held at the National Arena in St Andrew on Friday.

The event, promoted by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), had a total of 11 dance groups and was witnessed by a large audience.

“The experience has been great, and it is proof that hard work pays off,” Team Ultimate's group member Shapiro Samuel told the Jamaica Observer backstage. “We have been dancing for years, and many times we felt like giving up. We are just overwhelmed right now.”

Some group members were teary eyed after being announced winners, while one knelt and prayed.

In addition to Samuels, the Allman Town-based group also comprises Kavaughn Scott, Nicholas Douglas, Orlando Grout, and Adonere Dowen.

For their effort, Team Ultimate, was awarded a cash prize of $600,000. Italy's Shengen Squad was first runner-up and took home a cash prize of $300,000 as well as the section prizes for Best Costume and Best International Group. Third place went to Corporate Area-based Fantastic Steppaz, who received a cash prize of $150,000.

Other sectional prizes were: Most Disciplined Group – a tie between SB Team and Full a Vibe; and Most Popular on Social Media – Full a Vibe.

The other participants were: Team Young Talent from Clarendon; St Ann-based VIP Squad Dancers; Flava X Empire from St Mary; Spanish Town Dance Theatre (from St Catherine); Poland's Full a Vibe; and Kingston and St Andrew's SB Team; Keen Steppaz; and BG Citi Dancers.

There were also guest performances from Australia's Dancehall for Change dance group, Dance Xpressions, and the 2017 World Reggae Dance Champions Xqlusiv Dancers.

The occasion also saw a sound clash featuring young guns DJ Antsman and Kevez, who were going up against veteran sound system selector Little Ritchie.

After two rounds, Little Ritchie emerged winner.

“Clashing has been my thing from day one. The JCDC reached out to me and asked if I wanted to participate and I said yes,” Little Richie, whose real name is Richard Campbell, told the Observer.

“My experience over the years is what helped me to win tonight. I have been involved in sound system since 2001 when I started out with King Predator from Manchester,” said Little Richie.

DJ Antsman and DJ Kevez said the clash was a learning experience.

“It was a good experience. Respect to Little Richie,” said DJ Antsman, who earlier this year won the Youth View Award for DJ of the Year. He has since signed with Romeich Entertainment.

Guest performers were Chi Ching Ching, who created a dancing frenzy with Way Up Stay Up and Rope. Razor B performed his popular hits Up In Deh and Inna Yuh Soul. Nazzle Man, the 2018 JCDC Festival Song winner also performed.

The World Reggae Dance Championship, which began in 2006, aims to give national and international exposure to talents that exist in the reggae, roots and dancehall genres.

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