One of the most popular songs of this Summer so far is the sweet and catchy tune “Rude” by the Canadian band Magic. It got me thinking that I need to brush up on my reggae style for those parties (even the parties of one that take place in my living room) where this and other reggae music might be coming through the speakers. I caught a glimpse of some videos featuring reggae not so long ago and realized that reggae dance is not exactly the same as it used to be.
Reggae, like everything else, has evolved. In fact, you are very likely to hear reggae now referred to as dancehall although the two are different versions of the same type of music. Dancehall is a sub-genre of reggae so, although dancehall is reggae, reggae is not dancehall. Dancehall is a faster, somewhat naughtier version of reggae. However, dance classes that teach reggae technique, tend now, to be named dancehall. Got it?The fundamentals remain the same, however, and what you learn in dancehall class can definitely be applied to all types of reggae music.
So, now that you have decided to take the classes, where do you go? Hannah Herbertson, in my opinion, is one of the best dancehall teachers in New York City. Born in S. Korea and raised in Sweden, Hannah brings an international perspective to dancehall. She has traveled all over the world including trips to Jamaica numerous times to soak up reggae culture from its roots. Her respect for that culture is evident in the way that she conducts her classes. Hannah also has that “Irie” vibe that makes learning what can be a challenging technique very laid back and stress- free. She offers classes at the Bed Stuy YMCA as well as one-on one and small group classes.
Heather Fay, is also a fantastic teacher. Her page describes Pon De Flo as, a Caribbean Reggae dance-based fitness class that incorporates high energy, easy to follow choreography and intense body strengthening moves.” A former instructor at New York Sports Clubs, Heather now teaches at her signature “Pon de Flo” style at Crunch Fitness. She also offers classes to the general at DANY. Heather’s brilliant smile and energy makes her classes effective as well as enjoyable.
Tavia N Tamara at Broadway Dance Center is yet another option. Yes, here you get two instructors for the price of one! These two bring the sexy as well as lots of technique! They also offer dancehall technique at Crunch Fitness in their signature “Brukwine” classes. They also conduct Brukwine in Heels (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like- you do the routine in high heels) classes for those of you really want to take on a challenge! Then there is Yaminah Logohn who I have heard great things about who teaches Dancehall at PMT Studios at Union Square.
Finally, if you want to mix it up a little, classes at all the popular gym chains offer Zumba classes which inevitable include a section or two to reggae or dance hall. So there you have it- all prepared to get down to any reggae tune that comes your way this Summer!