Dancers selling out J'can culture - Keiva

March 10, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Dancer Keiva
File Keiva
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Iconic female dancer Keiva has condemned fellow dancers for teaching dancehall dance moves to foreigners.

She insists that the dancers are selling Jamaica's dance moves for a small price.

Keiva's outburst comes following the release of Justin Bieber's Sorry music video in which an overseas-based choreographer used several Jamaican dance moves without giving credit to the creators. Keiva said that Bieber's choreographer was taught by Jamaicans.

"Mi nuh agree for no Jamaican dancer to teach foreign dancers any dance move. What I think is that foreign dancers should book Jamaican dancers for shows, we perform, get paid, and come a wi yard. I am against it because Jamaican dancers are selling out our culture," she told THE STAR.

"If you notice the girl that choreographed the video for Justin Beiber, most of the styles were from Jamaican dancers, and it's Jamaican dancers who taught her the dance moves. She then went ahead and never even invite one Jamaican dancer inna the music video. She acted like the dances were hers."

Keiva also said that Jamaican dancers hosting workshops in foreign countries were making 'chump change' in comparison to their own students.

"Dem nah mek no money. When dem come back home, dem bruck again, and the Europeans continue to make money. Europeans begin to open their own dance schools and teach our moves," she said.

Keiva said that she was videotaped by foreigners during her formative years on the dancehall circuit. However, she made no profit from those videos, which were later sold to fans of dancehall. She is, therefore, warning her peers against being misled by the glitz and glamour.

"Yes, it looks good on your social media, but think about the longevity. When you teach all you know, what else are you going to earn from when these foreign dancers have all the money, all our culture, and our moves? Jamaican dancers don't practise choreography. We make moves in the dancehall, and these foreign dancers just choreograph the moves and then make it look like it's something new. We need to wake up," she said.

Keiva said that it's time for local copyright agencies to step up and make copyright laws to govern dancing.

"It's a pity we don't have people to stand up for us like how the artistes have agencies. When dancers do moves, they should feel safe knowing that it's copyright-protected, and when dem get old and people use dem stuff, dem can collect money for it," Keiva said.

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