DHA Collaborators

Dance Xpressionz Jamaica is a Dancehall Institution that specializes in dance training, dancehall theatre and the fundamentals of dancehall music, among other activities. Building on his decades-long involvement with dance and dancehall dance, the institution was conceptualized in its fledgling stages as a dance group in 2000 while its Chief Founder and dancer extraordinaire, Orville Hall, was a student teacher at the Excelsior Community College (EXED). Its founding members are Shelly Ann Callum, Stacy Ann Facey, Sherene Davis, and Amoy Talyor who now resides in the U.S.A.

Today, Dance Xpressionz has exploded beyond its early origins as a dance group to a full-fledged company that retains the core of its founding members who operate as both principal dancers and executive members. They offer dancehall dance camps, choreograph magnificent dance pieces, develop and produce dancehall theatre and engage in a range of connected activities. Orville Xpressionz Hall is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Shelly Xpressionz is the Operations manager, and Stacy Xpressionz is the Production Coordinator and the group’s Costume Consultant.

Dance Xpressionx Executives with key members - L-R Dansa Bling, dance teacher, Stacey Xpressionz, Orville Xpressionz, Shelly Expressionz and Syl Gordon (of the Dancehall Hostel)

Formerly known as Dance Jamaica Cultural Centre, the Dance Jamaica Academy Limited (DanceJA) is a talent & entertainment organisation that portrays the culture of Jamaica and its vibrant people. DanceJA was first initiated in 2006 while CEO, Latonya Style Dillon was in Cayman and wanted to have a website that would feature fresh dances from gifted dancers and provide them with an opportunity to have their dance styles, bios and other information featured on the worldwide web so they could connect with the world. From there, DanceJA was born. It opened its doors in late 2012 and has been operating in Kingston at 22 Barbican Road, Liguanea since the summer of 2013. A diverse set of activities have developed over the years for the Academy and it is now considered a holistic centre for cultural arts development.

Today, with the help of a diverse and ever-expanding team of male and female dancers and dance groups, DanceJA provides the ultimate in ‘dance’ service, offering traditional folk, West African, ska, reggae and even soca dance classes. Its main style of dance remains dancehall because of its cultural prominence and so the DanceJA team shares theoretical information about dancehall through lectures. The team also engages in cultural activities, such as Patois lesson and run-a-boat sessions, cooking signature Jamaican dishes, and hosting adventurous excursions to parties and other nightlife experiences, beach or river outings which all tap into the entertainment and tourism industry to immerse visitors from all over the world in Jamaican culture at all levels.

Latonya "Style" Dillon, CEO of DanceJa takes a group through female dancehall dance steps

Set up in December, 2012 the Dancehall Hostel, located at 321 Molynes Road, Kingston, Jamaica, is owned and operated by Syl Gordon whose pedigree in the Dancehall industry spans more than three decades. Gordon worked as an audio engineer from 1988, working and touring with artistes like Shabba Ranks, Coco tea, Home T, Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder. He started his Recording company and Recording Studio, Cell Block Recording, in 1993 and partnered with Mark Myrie (Buju Banton) for 3 years until Buju moved on to form his own Gargamel Studio.

The Dancehall Hostel started when Gordon’s friend and neighbour, Orville Xpressionz Hall convinced him to transform the upper floor of his Cell Block Recording Studio into a hostel to host 12 Russian Dancehall dance students. Today, the Dancehall Hostel hosts guests from all over the world with a strong European contingent annually, offering lodgings and related amenities, plus a Dancehall Excursion Package which provides Dancehall Classes, Entertainment, Lectures, Transportation and Tours – all oriented around Dancehall Culture.

In 2014 the Dancehall Hostel partnered with Dance Xpressionz to initiate their annual Dancehall Dream Camp where dancehall dance students from around the world come to Jamaica to experience local culture, food, nightlife while learning Dancehall moves taught by local Dancehall dance teachers. And, in December, 2017 the Hostel Hangout was added to its offerings so locals and foreigners can come together twice monthly to enjoy an evening of dancing in a traditional dancehall street party.

Syl Gordon, Owner and Manager of the Dancehall Hostel

Diana is a Dancer, Researcher, Organiser, Promoter, Manager, Writer and Healer. She speaks about getting her Masters in Geotechnical Engineering where she learnt about her love by minerals but then decided she would dedicate herself to Jamaican Culture. Therefore, she studied Contemporary Dance, bringing Jamaican Folk Dances and Dancehall in her final work. In her Masters in Cenical Arts – Artistic Direction and Interpretation, she presented the first document written in Portuguese that explores Jamaican Culture in Portugal focusing on Dancehall. Her ultimate goal is to move forward to a PhD studying Caribbean culture.

In 2021, Diana participated in KISMIF – KEEP IT SIMPLE MAKE IT FAST and presented under the title “A contribution to the definition of women roles in dancehall. Stories lived through femininity”. Her presentation was later published as a paper. She also presented at EIRPAC – International Seminar Reflecting about Community Artistic Practices, with the title of her presentation “Dancehall: Filho Bastardo ou Salvador Global?”, that later gave way to another paper.

The Founder of Dancehall Portugal (2014), Diana started organizing workshops, and later in 2015 created Dancehall Camp Portugal, along with singular workshops. Dancehall Camp Portugal grew into part of a structure that fostered an environment that would impact the development of Dancehall in Portugal, but also with the goal of reaching a worldwide community. It has grown having as its main focus: “knowledge is the key”. It has been focusing a lot on the education of people that want to study Dancehall and the movements originated by Jamaican creators, Seminars, having brought for the first time to Portugal in 2017 Professor Donna P. Hope, as well as many Jamaican creators of Dancehall Dances.

Dancehall Camp Portugal also hosts competitions – including Show Contests (group competitions), Boom Dancehall Fighters – a competition that was created in 2017 with the goal of motivating people to also study the culture behind the Dancehall.

For the past few years, Dancehall Camp Portugal has also partnered with Queens on Top towards the big final event that gathers women from everywhere in the world to see who would be the next Queen on Top.

Diana has also worked with almost all the events that are connected to Dancehall in Portugal such as:

(i) Hip Hop International Portugal,
(ii) King of the Ring,
(iii) Participated in the creation of Dancehall Summer vibes,

As a Writer, she recently published her first novel: As Mulheres Darwin.

Dancehall Portugal:

Dancehall Portugal is a cultural and educational institution that was created in 2014 with the goal of organizing Dancehall Workshops with Jamaican dancers, impacting in a positive way in the development of Jamaican Culture out of Jamaica.

Since then, Dancehall Portugal has blossomed into an educational institution whose goal is to promote platforms that would bring to the students the knowledge about the Dancehall Dance moves, but also about the wider Dancehall and Jamaican history through lectures and seminars, having recently the goal of developing Caribbean culture. We continue to achieve this by bringing Jamaican dancers, choreographers and organizers to Dancehall Camp Portugal, and other events in Portugal and also by promoting seminars with researchers and authors like Professor Donna P. Hope.

Dyana Dua speaks at Dancehall Camp Portugal 2022

FIEBRE Ediciones is an independent Mexican publishing project dedicated to the research and dissemination of the diverse creative practices carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean since the 1980s. We compile the stories of those who, without necessarily calling themselves artists, have developed aesthetic strategies to fight against the violence and fear of their social and political context.

The traditional artistic education in Mexico and Latin America is usually focused on western artistic production, in which our local searches and needs are reduced to complementary narratives to European art history. By taking the initiative to research and self-publish, we aim to encourage this self-determination in others, understanding that we have the responsibility of taking control of the narrative of our own stories.

FIEBRE has published five books and, at the same time, has developed different pedagogical and exhibition activities, and participated in discussion forums and independent publishing fairs in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, the United States, Belgium and Argentina.

Carla Lamoyi and Antonio Medina with Chilean Artist Patricia Dominguez in Bolivia in 2019