A few months ago, Blacka Di Danca, powered by Red Bull, took over Ivy League campuses in the USA to teach students – or anyone interested – some dancehall moves. The Brooklyn-based dancer danced on the promenades of Boston University, MIT, and Harvard in an effort to spread dancehall culture.
Now the dancehall educator plans to try his hand at realising local dancer earning potential right at home. “I don’t want [Jamaican dancers] to always have to fly to Europe to make money. For me, it’s insane that the dancers from Kingston have to fly to Europe, and, hopefully, get a visa, and, hopefully, get a passport just to teach, when dancehall is from Kingston. It’s in your own backyard,” he told The STAR.
Blacka has started the Little Danca after-school programme at the St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Gordon Town, St Andrew. Currently, the school utilises one teacher who instructs in multiple styles of dance. “But the thing is I wanna hire the local dancers as teachers. I want to help them start careers as teachers. Let’s say a Tuesday, I have Shakespeare teaching and he can teach 4 p.m. at a Gordon Town school and then he teaches 6 p.m. at another. That’s where my vision is, leading for it,” Blacka said.
Blacka started travelling in 2013 and visited Jamaica to choreograph the music video for Major Lazer’s Lose Yourself. During that time, he met up with his mother’s penpal, school principal Fay Buchanan. “She is a penpal of my mother for the past 30 years,” he revealed. The two ladies have not met face to face.
“When I started travelling in 2013 my mother was in contact with her and she started to tell her about me travelling and teaching Jamaican dancehall,” Blacka said.
Buchanan then expressed her desire to start a dance programme in the school. That year, Blacka began producing and selling Danca merchandise, offering 10 per cent of the profits to the school to fund the programme. However, it wasn’t enough. A few weeks ago, Blacka launched a GoFundMe account to raise enough money to run the programme into 2019.
“The goal right now is raising enough awareness and money to have this programme run. I don’t know how to ask for more. I don’t want it to ever stop. I want this to run for the next 50 or 100 years. But I don’t know how to do things like this. I have an idea and I’m just trying something,” he admitted.
LargeUp recently released a documentary on YouTube, which shows the dancer interacting with Little Dancas at the school. “What I do wanna see in the future is see as many Little Dancas programmes in as many schools as possible. If we can get this programme in more schools, that would be amazing,” Blacka said.