Jevaughn McConnell inspired by rejection
Dancer Jevaughn McConnell lists his appearance in Usain Bolt's GH Mumm champagne commercial in 2017 and directing the choreography for the YVA's in 2015 as the two highest points in his career so far.
Totally immersed in hip hop, pop, and urban dance movements rather than dancehall, McConnell had been invited by the Jamaican casting director to be part of the group that auditioned.
He says that being selected was not only a feather in his cap, it also led to other corporate offers, and the exposure was second to none. The commercial was shot in Jamaica.
"There were dancers there from Italy and France, and we had to learn and present the moves within a specified time. The director was very impressed with me, and she said she would fly me to Spain if she could," he toldDancers' Paradise.
The self-taught dancer, who hails from Mandeville, said he has been dancing since the age of six, when he got hooked on watching Michael Jackson's dance moves and those of the various boy bands that he saw on television.
Always practising to perfect his craft, and confident that he was at the top of his game, he decided in 2010 to enter KFC's 'On The Verge' dancing competition.
However, things didn't quite turn out as he had hoped. McConnell was told very politely to come back again.
For the Knox College graduate, rejection inspired him to work even harder. However, by 2012, he had left Mandeville to further his studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and it was there that he gained exposure to the world of promotions and all that is associated with it.
He lamented that dancers are both underpaid and underappreciated, but he acknowledges that promotions, despite paying low wages, is a good way to get your name out there.
"When I got the call for the first promotion I was excited, but after doing a couple such events, it just wasn't adding up. You had to be at Half-Way Tree at 6 a.m. and spend the entire day on set then take a taxi home, and all you get for your hard work is between $4,000 and $5,000," he said.
But having graduated, in a sense, from that aspect of the job, McConnell is now enjoying his part-time job teaching at two dance studios; and he is also very active on Instagram, where he shares video clips, which, he admits, don't get as many 'likes' and views as he would want.
"That's primarily because it's not dancehall, but that scene is just too crowded," he explained. But likes or not, he says he will continue to rep for other genres.