On this beautiful (yet chilly) Friday in Los Angeles, we wanted to shine some deserving light on Latonya Style. Style is one of Jamaica’s top dancehall choreographers, with over 15 years experience in dancing, training and choreography. She is the founder and CEO of Dance Jamaica (DanceJA), a cultural learning center that exemplifies Jamaica and it’s vibrant culture. The dance “skool” is the first of it’s kind in Jamaica, dedicated solely to dancehall dancing. The center, located in the heart of Kingston, is a place where locals can create magic and international guests can experience all tings Jamaica.
DanceJA got its start in 2012, after Style successfully taught numerous dancehall workshops while touring oversees. This gave her the push she needed to open her own local dance studio. The DanceJA Skool is a creative space that is used to hone talent and help develop Jamaican dancers, as well as provide a signature place to birth new dancehall techniques.
At DanceJA, students can learn different styles of dance, from DHQ, to street, to Style’s certified Stylish Moves. Style’s, well, style of dance, are unique dancehall steps made with a touch of class and confidence, attributes she believes are of prime importance in creative ventrues. Many choreographers and dancehall dancers from Jamaica and around the world have taken Style’s class; whether they fly to Jamaica or are lucky enough to catch her while she’s touring. Some dancers have taken the next step and became certified Stylish Moves instructors. This is achieved when a dancer completes a 4 level course program, with an exam of over 90 unique dancehall steps. Style has inspired many to learn and love the Jamaican dance and has been in and choreographed a long list of music videos for artists including: BeenieMan, Popcaan, Sizzla, Elephant Man and many others. Work it out gul!
Now on tour in Europe, Style continues to teach her techniques to all adoring dancehall fans. She inspires movement and has a knack for teaching, or as she calls it, “edutain.” This is her desire to educate and entertain all comers, creating a fan base and loyal following worldwide. She and her DanceJa team are a fixture on the international dancehall scene, regularly touring through Europe, Asia and the Pacific. Taking with them their authentic dancehall instruction to packed workshops. Style’s love for dance and her Jamaican culture have become her life’s passion.
If you yourself want to brush up on your knowledge of dancehall steps and learn some Stylish Moves, you can! Latonya created the first-ever dancehall zine, now in it’s 3rd volume, The Queen Power edition. It is a how to manual, that illustrates her step by step Stylish Moves. As an introduction to her teaching, try to follow along while watching the youtube video below, as she takes us through A-Z Stylish Moves crafted earlier this year! Here at KingstontoLA we are definitely looking forward to the new and ever evolving dancehall steps in 2016! #GetThere!
If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in taking a dancehall class, here is a list of a few dancehall instructors in the city:
Dancehall Queen Molika: @dancehallclass
Multitalented dancer and choreographer: @iamsariri
Dance company: @dancehallfunk
Dancehall crew curator and Stylish Moves certified: @bettyrox
Stylish Moves certified choreographer: @ceragohellahard
*Featured photo courtesy of @latonyastyle