Dancehall in Sweden??? Yes, guys, there is a Dancehall scene in Sweden. When I think of Sweden I think about the cold, a rapper named Denz and I know the capital, Stockholm. But thanks to Instagram and Youtube I can see a Dancehall scene that has been growing over the last couple of years.
With international Dancehall Queen Competitions happening all over the world, touring Dancehall teachers and the endless supply of steps Via Youtube it's no surprise that Dancehall has become a growing movement in Sweden now.
This week's Rude Gal got introduced to Dancehall through International Artist Sean Paul's Music. To be honest, he is probably a lot of peoples first introduction to Dancehall on a mainstream level outside of Jamaica. (For me it was Shabba Ranks and Beenie Man) . Her Passion for Dancehall is pure and real, she even did her final thesis paper in University about Dancehall and the culture. If that isn't a love for Dancehall I don't know what is! This week is none other than DHQ Johanna 'Monkey Jo' Enough.
Who Johanna Enough? How and When did you first discover Dancehall?
I'm a Dancehall dancer from Sweden. I started dancing in 2008, but I had been listening to Dancehall music for a few years prior. I first learned the dance from Melpo Mellz who was one of the very few people who was dancing Dancehall in Sweden at that time. Like many others, it was Sean Paul who made me know what Dancehall music was. After I discovered the genre around 2004 it escalated from there and within a few years, I was exclusively listening to Dancehall music. First time dancing with Melpo in 2008 I was completely taken by the spirit of the dance and I became obsessed. Since then I have turned Dancehall into my everyday life. I also focused my university studies on Dancehall. I was studying social Anthropology and I wrote my masters thesis on Dancehall Dance in Jamaica.
Obviously coming from Sweden I don't imagine Dancehall was a very popular style of dance when You first started.But now looking at class videos it looks like it has grown a lot. What would you say has changed from when you started till now with Dancehall in Sweden?
Everything has changed. Now we have a whole community keeping the dance alive. A lot of dancers and crews. It's still mostly underground and most Dancehall dancers don't teach at official dance schools, but rent our own studio time and promote classes through social media. We are not a part of the other dance communities in Sweden. Many of us travel to Jamaica regularly. We have promoters booking artists and keeping parties.
Over the Summer you caused a commotion on the internet over a video of you dancing while pregnant. 2 years ago I was in the same shoes, dancing while pregnant. I really didn't see the problem with your video but some people didn't like it.How important for you was it to keep Dancing during that period of time?
The only thing that would stop me from dancing is if im physically unable to move. Before I got pregnant I broke my foot and had to go through a difficult surgery with a long recovery time. I was 3 months pregnant when I could walk on my foot again after 7 months of hopping on crutches. The pain in my foot limited my dancing, and as my pregnancy progressed my pregnancy also limited my ability to move. I was happy for the little dancing I was able to do. In my opinion, the reaction to my dancing was totally out of proportion. I was shocked to know that people thought dancing could be harmful to the baby. I had never thought that being pregnant should be a reason to stop dancing, and I still don't. I'm convinced that dancing is always healthy as long as you're connected to your body and feel your limitations. I did not see my pregnancy as a problem. It was a wonderful time that I'm happy I got to experience. I don't miss nausea though! That was awful 😅
Congratulations to you and JR on the birth of Baby J. When did you guys first meet? Was it an instant connection.?
I met Jr in December 2012 while I was doing my fieldwork to my master's thesis. I spent almost 4 months in Jamaica and my study was focused on Black Eagles as a dance group. I followed them in their everyday life and I spent 24 hours a day with the group. A month into the fieldwork Jr and I found ourselves getting really close. We were drawn to each other and it happened without words or force. Since then we've lived together and separate, but we always found ourselves in the same connection that we felt from the start.
You get the opportunity to travel and teach in a different place. Is there anywhere you haven't taught yet that you would love too?
I'm so happy that dancing has made me see so many places. Some places I had never thought of visiting before I actually got booked to go there. But I don't really think about where I want to be booked next. I'm just happy when it happens. Like the next place, I'm going is China, which is one of those places I would never think about going. Actually, I've never been to Asia, so I'm really excited.
What are some of your goals and plans in Dancehall that we can look forward to?
I don't think much about the future actually I'm trying to live in the now. I believe that if I do what I love and feel is right, things will work out for the best. I don't like to force things, I like when things flow 😊I don't think I will ever stop dance though. I'm sure you will still see me shake my booty when I'm 70.
What does Dancehall mean to you?
😁😁 It sounds like a cliché but Dancehall is everything to me. Its what my whole life revolves around. Its how I structure my everyday. The dancing specifically but also the music, and traveling to meet people who are also involved in Dancehall, to participate in events and most importantly to always go back to Jamaica to be in the Dancehall. Because it is actually a real cultural space that exists in Jamaica. What we do in other parts of the world is trying to recreate it, but the real Dancehall is in Jamaica. So I'm constantly following whats going on in the Dancehall through social media and music, and I re-create it in Sweden and other places I go to. I always try to be true to the source and tell people about the original Dancehall from Jamaica. I want to uplift the Jamaican Dancehall, I don't want to steal it, I want to cherish it, and I want all Jamaican Dancehall creators to get more credit for the amazing Dancehall that they create.
Be Sure to Follow Johanna On Social Media