Emily Labhart

thinking about dance, arts management and cultural representation

Korotech Dancefest 2012

Organised by the legend that is ‘H’ Patten, Artistic Director of Koromanti Arts and world-renowned performer and choreographer of African Caribbean Dance, Korotech Dancefest 2012 took place over seven intensive days based in Jamaica’s Trelawny.

Bringing together students from the University of Surrey and Coventry University, alongside independent dance professionals, Korotech Dancefest 2012 formed part of Koromanti Arts’ professional development training programme.

Korotech Dancefest 2012

Korotech Dancefest 2012 participants, first night

The intensive included:

  • Workshops at the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica
  • Dancehall workshops led by Professor Orville Hall, Dansa Bling and Stacey from Dance Xpressionz
  • Drumming and percussion sessions with Charles James
  • African People’s Dance workshops with H Patten
  • Traditional Caribbean dance sessions with Patsy Ricketts
  • Cultural excursions including trips to Dunn’s River Falls, Hot Mondaze, Uptown Mondaze, beach parties and more
Dance Xpressions

Dance Xpressionz

This trip absolutely changed my life! To be out in Jamaica learning from such incredible artists, experiencing the culture first hand and getting an embodied experience (however brief) of the lifestyle, traditions and influences that impact the movement language is something I’ll never forget.

This is a video of Dansa Bling and Orville Hall from Dance Xpressionz performing the choreography from RDX – Movements. They are responsible for creating a number of the steps that feature in the track, read more about this on my post Introduction to Dancehall. Read more about Orville and his classes in my post Dancehall International Europe 2016.

We were fortunate enough to train at the Dance Xpressionz studio in Kingston, learning steps and choreography from the dancers as well as being able to see the crew rehearse for their own performances. Below is a video of one of the all-female routines led by Stacy (you can spot me wearing all black towards the back right!)

The studio was above a store that was part of a small square of shops in Kingston. It had two large windows, one large mirror, no air conditioning and a small alcove with a curtain as a changing room. The space you see in the video was the only space. In the evenings, the square transformed in to the location of Hot Mondaze Рa Dancehall Space where dancers, djs, selectas, video light and dancehall massive would come together. Read more about this in my post Introduction to Dancehall.

The clips below show Dance Xpressionz dancers demonstrating their latest routines (in 2012). You will notice there is an all-female piece followed by an all male piece. The movement lexicon between the two have clear differences – this is further explained in my other post linked above. (Just a note that these videos lose their sound part the way through, blame my dodgy camera!)

We also took excursions to Dunn’s River Falls (not to be messed with, I slipped and nearly broke myself…still epic though).

Korotech Dancefest 2012

Part of the Falls

Korotech Dancefest 2012

Left to right: Katie, me and Fiona

We stayed out late at beach parties with the locals and had the most beautiful view from our hotel room!

Korotech Dancefest 2012

Korotech Dancefest 2012

This trip fuelled my passion and interest in African Caribbean Dance and motivated me to undertake further research into the forms, particularly during my final year at University. Since Korotech Dancefest 2012 I have taken a number of specialist workshops by leading Dancehall practitioners to develop my own practice. Read more about these here and here.

Thanks to Nikki Winter for the photos!

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