When they performed at the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival last year, performance troupe Dance Xpressionz took patrons on a spirited, instructional, journey through Jamaican dance.
This year, the group returns to the Hope Gardens-event on both festival days, February 29 and March 1, with a tribute to their late peers.
“There is an Ice tribute and Bogle tribute but I’m gonna amplify it and focus on a little segment that is a tribute to the fallen dancers,” Dance Xpressionz founder, Orville Hall, told BUZZ.
Just last week, Hall paired with Sashi Xpressionz to choreograph a video piece dedicated to late dancers, an ode inspired by the death of dancehall dancer, Tippa, who succumbed to a longstanding illness this month.
Set to D’Yani’s melancholy Heaven Telegram, the Xpressionz men also dance in honour of dancers like Bogle and Ice, Black Roses Crew members who were victims of gun violence in 2005 and 2008 respectively; Bone Crusher, who died from illness in 2018; DHQ Bumpa, whose life was taken in January after a failed dance stunt Bumpa, and others like Sharp and Addi.
Spreading dancehall moves to the world
Hall recently returned from teaching dancehall moves in Russia, which could arguably be called his second home. In his career spanning 30 years, he has moved from being a grooming instructor for the popular Tastee Talent Contest to the ‘dancehall professor’ hosting workshops across the world.
Hall received the Gregory Isaacs Foundation Award for outstanding international contribution in dance at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association Awards ceremony, held on Tuesday in Kingston.
“This is for all dancers to realise you can reach the highest level in your career if you just educate yourself.”— Orville Hall
“Last year I was here giving an award to Koffee, and I was looking around saying, ‘I wonder when…’. This year I’m collecting mine,” Hall said during his acceptance speech. “A lot of things happen for dancehall dancers around the world, we need to pay attention to.
“So far exclusively as a dancer I’ve completed 32 countries teaching and doing lectures, so this is for all dancers to realise you can reach the highest level in your career if you just educate yourself.”