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Handicap dance just not funny

Nathaniel Stewart photos-Dancer Shelly Belly, who is flanked by two females, believes the dance is for humour and should not be taken seriously.

Sadeke Brooks, STAR Writer

Dancing is supposed to be fun and in many instances only for entertainment purposes. However, there is a relatively new dance that is referred to as the 'handicap' dance which is not supported by the disabled community.

In this dance individuals pretend as if they have a deformed hand which is shorter than the other and bent at the wrist and elbow. The knees are knocked together in a seemingly permanent manner and the head is leaned to one side. The individual's tongue may stick out during the process.

Checks with several dancers were pointing to Dyema from the Attitude Girls as creator of the dance as she has been seen performing it at various events. She has also been seen doing the dance move on the Extreme Dancehall Channel as well as other events. However, she denies this and points to another dancer HQ as the creator. The STAR tried to contact HQ but was unsuccessful.

Fellow dancer Shelly Belly identified the dance as the one with the 'nook hand' and said it must have been done merely for fun.

"It just mek people laugh when dem see it. Dance weh give joke people love see it. It shot, it a gwaan," he said.

He also pointed to the fact that the creator has not been at various events promoting the dance. Shelly Belly says if this is done the dance will become popular and others will do it too.

serious problem

This dance is offensive to the disabled community, but he says he does not believe this was done to humiliate any set of persons. He says dancers make dance moves off anything in the society.

"You might see somebody a walk and mek a dance off dat. A jus' joy and fun. Wi naah mock nobody. A jus style and creativity," he said.

Another dancer Garth Sample of the Sample Six Dancers says he has seen the dance in Montego Bay but he has never seen it in Kingston.

"Wi naah too do it still 'cause it look a way," he said while not forgetting to mention his new dance Kumina through which he aims to bring women back into the dancehall space.

Valerie Spence who is an administrator and disabilities advocate at the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) says she is disappointed to hear that there is a dance called 'handicap' dance as she has never seen it.

"Obviously whoever does it has a serious problem. If somebody is going to use a person's disability as a dance that person is backwards. People are not handicap they are disabled," said Spence.

She continued, "Disability is not something that people buy in the shop, it is congenital. To make a dance like this shows the level of ignorance that still exists in the society."

Spence also said that persons can easily become disabled by being involved in a motor vehicle accident or by being injured by a gunshot. Hence, she says one might be 'able bodied today and disabled tomorrow'.

She said that it is disgusting and demeaning to make a dance of this nature. She, therefore, urged persons to become more aware of the issues that disabled persons face instead of humiliate them.

March 1, 2008

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