Dancers' Paradise: Dance chose me - Tara Price equipped to perform
After leaving the Wolmer's High School for Girls, Tara Price joined the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). But after only four and a half years in the position of engineering officer, the free-spirited Price left the JDF at the rank of lieutenant.
"I enjoyed my job immensely. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I would recommend it to any young individual who's unsure of their career path. It is a very solid, humbling and holistic journey that is beneficial to any Jamaican character," said Price.
Price's love for dancing had a stronger force, so the lieutenant turned to the performing arts full-time. She has been a principal dancer of Dance Theatre Xaymaca (DTX) since 2005, and in recent years finds herself exploring her passion and sharing stages with more than just her colleagues at DTX.
"It may sound cliche, but I didn't choose dance, dance chose me. I've been dancing since the age of four. The passion was apparent to my mother, and I'm thankful for her deep involvement and support," Price told Dancers' Paradise.
Price realised she wanted to cross over into dancehall while preparing for DTX's 19th Annual Season of Dance.
"Founder and director Barbara McDaniel invited Orville Hall of Dance Xpressionz to choreograph an authentic dancehall piece, but before any rehearsals, he schooled us on dancehall, it's background, history and significance. It made a great difference in how I viewed the genre of dance," she said.
Thereafter, Price's journey to seriously pursue dancehall began. She has received lead roles in dancehall music videos, such as Turn Me On by Konshens, Be Mine by Dennis Brown Jr and on live shows. Though exposed to sexism under the premise that sex sells, Price embraces it.
"It is not what you do, but how you do it. Whilst seen as a sex symbol or potentially taken advantage of, it has been a benefit as females are being selected nine out of 10 times over males [even if the artiste is also female] for a 'sexier' appeal," said Price.
If you attended the 2017 Sumfest Dancehall Night, you might have seen Price flexing her legs across the shoulders of reggae/dancehall artiste Christopher Martin.
It is part of dancehall culture to highlight a woman, her features and the ability to move her body, but Price shares that the transition from creative dancing to dancehall has been her biggest challenge thus far.
"In many ways, the foundation of both genres are opposite. It is still an ongoing process that my body has to become highly adaptive and attentive to the differences in both genres," said Price.
But Price is not just focused on the art, as she has her eyes on the business side of things.
She is also the sole creator and manager of year-old Dance Equip JA, an online business geared towards providing exposure and accessibility of dance enhancement tools and professional dancewear.
"There are a lot of tools that dancers use, and the aim is to educate persons about the uses and benefits of same. The company is currently working on appealing to the dancehall scene," said Price.