Dancehall to the World

It is indeed interesting that we haven’t seen any dancehall on the U.S. version of SYTYCD.  Its cool to see it gaining acceptance, but it is a classic question, what is lost when ritual is moved from its space and onto a stage?  What gets lost in translation?  When a rendition of Haitian Yanvalou comes out of a sacred space and is performed on a stage, well as you can image, the essence is perhaps there, but so much is lost.  The idea of the ceremony is there, but the specifics, the nuances and perhaps deeper meaning of the dance are lost.  Look at Rex Nettleford’s work, which took traditional Jamaican culture–Kumina (1971), Pokomania (1963) and seamlessly transitioned traditions to the stage.   He took lesser-known and accepted cultural representations who few Jamaicans followed or ascribed to, and gave them a place of national acceptance.  Dancehall, as the CNN report says, “Reggae’s rebellious cousin” has long fought the same sort of battle, where as a subculture and criticized for its hyper slack content, may now be finding broader acceptance as it is presented on the proscenium stage. Does it become dancehall-inspired as opposed to straight up dancehall?

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