Dancehall for Change uplifts and empowers Jamaican dancehall dancers and their communities through dance and the development of sustainable career pathways, breaking the cycle of stigma and poverty.
What is Dancehall for Change
Based on the experiences and ideas of Jamaican dancers, Dancehall for Change delivers projects, provides educational opportunities, and advocates for dancehall as a tool to create sustainable employment for Jamaican dancehall dancers, and to initiate positive social change for their communities.
Why the project is needed
Community consultation was conducted through interviews with Jamaican dancehall dancers aged 19 – 27 from community areas across Jamaica.
Four key issues were identified:
1) High unemployment rate (up to 70% in some communities)
2) Violence and crime
3) The lack of opportunities for young people to participate in dance as an extra-curricular activity, and as an alternative to at-risk behaviour
4) The negative stereotypes associated with dancehall dancers and dancehall culture amongst the broader Jamaican community, which creates ongoing socio-economic disadvantage for dancers and their communities.
Dancehall for Change aims to address these issues by creating employment opportunities for dancers to share their skills and knowledge, promote positive community values, and challenge the stigma surrounding dancehall. This will assist in elevating dancers as strong role models for young people within their communities.
The Dancehall for Change community youth group program
Since 2018 Dancehall for Change has employed Jamaican Dancehall dancers to deliver weekly dance classes for youth in communities including Old Harbour, Spanish Town, and Bog Walk. These dancers participated in leadership training which included youth work skills sets, leadership and mentoring, event and project management, teaching methods, safety, best practice, and First aid. To date they have engaged up to thirty young people each week and have seen some real tangible outcomes their community. They have been able to maintain a stable weekly income through their employment in the program and we want to continue this into 2019 and beyond, but we need your help.
Donations big and small are welcomed to help us continue delivering these community dance groups and employing the dancers who have become role models in their communities.
You can follow the project and help us spread the word here: