HOLA MI GENTE. Hope everyone had a dope week. My week has consisted of catching up with school work, going to regular work and kicking it with my mini me. Today’s blog post is Part 2 of last week's first ever Rude Boy of the week. This week’s Rude Gal is Judy Madarasz. She is a Marketing Professional who has fallen in love with Dancehall and Jamaican culture and has decided to take this passion and create Ketch Di Vybz. I caught up with Judy to chat more about her involvement in Ketch Di Vybz and Dancehall Theater.
1. First, who is Judy? Background? Values? What is it exactly that you do?
Born and raised in Metro Vancouver, BC. I am a multi-passionate marketer, videographer, and dancer. I value authenticity, integrity, love, culture, and creativity. Right now I am working full-time with Mikhail teaching and training in Dancehall dance, filming videos on Dancehall, producing the first Dancehall Theatre production in Vancouver, BC, and building KETCH DI VYBZ as a production company.
I founded KETCH DI VYBZ (KDV) in early 2015 as my personal endeavor to film authentic Dancehall dance in Jamaica and around the world which will officially debut in 2017. In early 2016 I partnered with Mikhail Morris to diversity KDV into a production company and add the Dancehall Theatre division to the company.
2. What about dancehall dance and culture attracted you to it? How were u first introduced?
I am attracted first to the dance music and movement and how freeing it is and feels. I was introduced to the Dance style and culture when I met Neeks and Noyze a few years ago. They were the only ones teaching Dancehall in Vancouver and doing it professionally. Neeks, for example, was in the Sean Paul music videos shot in Toronto. They hired me for my video and photography skills to help them get professional video and photos for their dance careers. They weren't in Vancouver for long, though - soon after meeting them they moved to Toronto for their careers. My keen curiosity and eagerness to learn more about Dancehall dance and culture grew from there so I would consult with my Jamaican/Caribbean friends to teach me or point me in the right direction.
3 So, your one of the creators behind dancehall theater, what has the process been like thus far?
The process has been fast, transforming, and challenging as one of the producers for the show.
FAST: It is fast because Mikhail and I pulled everything together fast from literally starting from nothing. When Mikhail arrived from Toronto this summer to start this project all we knew was that we were going to do it and that we could do it. We believed in the vision and purpose. So we just organized everything and used all the resources we have to create what we need to have to make the production happen. It is a lot of common sense because we are both skilled in our departments and we quickly realized the most important thing we needed was clear communication and expectations/agreements between ourselves and whoever we deal with. Mikhail is experienced in Dancehall Theatre and dance, and I have the marketing and video/photo production resources and experiences. So we just put our heads together and got to work.
TRANSFORMING: It is transforming for everyone involved. The cast of dancers are training under Mikhail's guidance and I have been able to witness firsthand how they have improved in their movement and understanding of dance. Both Mikhail and I sharpened our business and leadership skills to manage the company and our team, work with various partners, and try new tasks that we never did before but had to do.
CHALLENGING: The most challenging has been work/life balance. We have been working every day since June 2016. Some days we are working morning till night, and we have had some sleepless nights to get work done. We are super grateful to be working on something we really equally believe in and have a great and dedicated cast of dancers who are eager to learn and contribute.
4. Is this a production you want to tour or just solely something for Vancouver to find out all about Dancehall?
Our goal is to definitely have tour our productions across Canada and around the world. We are just starting locally to build our foundation and experience, as well as build a strong, knowledgeable, and passionate community in Vancouver. Touring is definitely in the plan as we create more shows.
5. I'm assuming there has definitely been some difficulty during the process of creating. Has there been anything that can or been executed more smoothly than expected?
I can only speak from my role as producer as Mikhail is the one who can speak about the process of creating the choreography and music (He is Artistic Director/Choreographer). From a producer standpoint, it honestly flowed for both Mikhail and I because where one of us needed more info or help, the other had the experience to explain or figure it out.
6. As we both know Vancouver didn't really have a big dancehall scene. Prior to you, there was Nicole teaching and then I know before her NEEKS who has gone on to do amazing things. But nothing has really stuck out here or grow into something bigger. How do you and Ketch di Vybz as a company intend to make an impact? Although I must say that doing Dancehall theater is huge already.
We can only speak for ourselves so what our intentions are is to be an exciting, uplifting, innovative, and inspirational company in all the work we do.
The KETCH DI VYBZ legacy and lasting impact will be leaving our students and audiences with the right information to engage with Dancehall dance culture and feel a greater connection to the entire global dancehall movement. We have the resources to provide a comprehensive education and training but we keep current with the industry on a daily basis and work to contribute directly to the Dancehall dance industry. It is in this way that we can be a complete resource for anyone that is curious to learn on both an amateur/hobby and professional level.
7. Let’s talk Divas! In the production, you have majority females. Was that intentional or just sort of how it worked out? I know there's a lack of male dancehall dancers in the city, though, so I understand but what do u think it will take to get more men involved in Dancehall and take it as serious as other styles of dance?
We wanted to work with a cast of people we already knew would all work well together and who were familiar with our work and style. We, therefore, selected from some of our students and some dancers we each had a chance to collaborate with in the past.
The more men are aware of all the male dancer role models and see them dance there is a higher chance they would like to give it a try and/or be inspired. Interestingly, Dancehall dance is mostly dominated by male dancers. So as more guys know that and have an opportunity to learn from a male like Mikhail they can see what it is beyond the twerking and whining. At the same time, I encourage females to not just twerk and whine but also train in the grooves and male steps.
8. Where do you see the company going in five years?
Since KETCH DI VYBZ was created, it has been a platform for Mikhail and I to create experiences for the community to learn authentic Dancehall culture and also better understand the history as well as its connection to West African dance.
We see KDV continuing to create and eventually tour shows across Canada and around the world. KDV will also manifest into having a physical studio space for teaching dance and creating film/photo work. Each year we will build upon our initiatives to spread greater cultural awareness, inspire youth, and create exciting and fun experiences for our communities.
To find out more about Ketch Di Vybz and Dancehall Theater visit ketchdivybz.com and look out for the offical launch coming soon. You can also donate by clicking here and 100% of the proceeds go to Ketch Di Vybz.
Show: Dancehall Theater: Blood Sweat and Tears
Where: Faris Theater, The Dance Center-677 Davie St Vancouver BC
Time: October 28th-29th – Door: 7:30 Show 8- 9pm
Tickets: 25$ Students / 35$ Regular Purchase Online: here
Hello folks. This post is special because it’s our first RUDE BOY since I began this blog. This week I have a special two part interview with the creators behind a new production called Dancehall Theater Blood Sweat and Tears. What’s that? Well this event is taken place on October 28th and 29th, and will be showcasing authentic dancehall movements and take you through the journey of where it all began. I got the chance to Interview Rude Boy Mikhail Morris aka Venom about his journey and what we can expect from the show.
1.First who is Mikhail Morris? Background? Values? What is it exactly that you do?
Mikhail is a strong, hardworking individual who willing to inspire people no matter the cost. I was born in Kingston Jamaica, also a Cultural Ambassador for his country (Dancer, Director, Music Composer and a Leader).
2.Dancehall has really grown over the years and some dancehall dancers feel like a lot of people are exploiting Jamaican culture and not giving back to where the art form comes from. You being a Jamaican yourself what are your personal point of view on that subject.
My personal views on people exploiting Jamaican culture and not given back. I always say anyone can be inspire by someone's culture and they can create their own artistic development from it. My issue will always be if someone is going to do that show the reference/credit that my Jamaican people deserve because my culture was develop out of a painful place as the history speaks for itself I will be disappointed to know if people keep doing that.
3. So, you’re one of the creators behind Dancehall Theatre: Blood Sweat and Tears, what has the process been like thus far?
Dancehall Theatre (Blood, Sweat, and Tears) the process thus far is going really well and inspiring especially the diverse casts of the show. They really putting in the hard work and I’m proud of everyone who is on broad.
4. Is this a production you want to tour or just solely something for Vancouver to find out all about Dancehall?
Well this was always one of my goals to tour my future productions not just in Canada but worldwide. I have a story that I want everyone to hear and see. Vancouver is the base and I’m proud to start it here.
5. I'm assuming there has definitely been some difficulty during the process of creating. You being a dancer for a long period of time how was the creative process? Going into the production did you already have everything set out in a plan?
Firstly we are all human beings so nothing we do can be perfect so yes the creative process has its moments especially when the dancers have to find the emotion that is affecting humanity. There will be ups and downs especially creating a production that builds around POVERTY IN THE INNER CITY OF JAMAICA. Well, it’s funny you asked that question. Firstly I know I wanted to put on a theater production and in the process, the plan started to fall into place. I've worked with a lot of different dance theater companies so base on the experiences over the years by watching them things started to flow naturally.
6. Being that you came to Vancouver from Toronto I know for sure there is a difference between the Dancehall scenes here compared to that of Toronto. Was it a Shock for you or was it something that you expected. Were you surprised that so many people were interested in the Style?
Neither was I shock/surprised because Jamaica really impacts or impacted a lot of other countries with its music, dance, and culture. I was happy and feel inspired that people here in Vancouver really respects and enjoy reggae/dancehall music.
7. Let’s talk Dancehall donz. When was this group created and how has it been for you guys coming up in the Toronto scene.
Well, Dancehall Donz/Diva it’s not a group/crew so anyone can be a part of it was founded 2 years ago. Dancehall donz is a movement to bring authenticity and culture awareness...to educate youths of society and others who will help to fight for a cause.
8. Expanding on the question of Donz I noticed there are only 2 males in the production. Being that I'm from Vancouver I know it’s hard to find Male Dancehall dancers, but I do find a lot of Men interested in the dance form and willing to take classes or add dancehall steps into their choreography. Was it hard finding men to take part in the production?
In this process, it wasn't challenging to find Males for this production because I already knew who I wanted to use base on the students who keep coming to my classes since I start teaching here in Vancouver.
8. Where do you see the company going in five years? Both Ketch Di Vybz and Dancehall Donz?
In the next 5 years for Dancehall Donz since it’s a movement, it will continue to serve its purpose to help inspire the youths of the community bring culture awareness to others and keep fighting for a cause.
Check out this behind the scenes video.
Hope you guys enjoyed part 1. This show is able to take place thanks to donations and money raised from various events. If you would like to Donate or purchase a ticket to the event be sure to visit www.ketchdivybz.com for more detail. Be sure to check back for part two with co-founder and producer of Dancehall Theater and Ketch Di Vybz, Judy Madarasz.
Social Media Links
This week I had the opportunity to interview Jameel Ghann. one of the co-creators behind Alora. Alora is a jewelry company which creates pieces with a message and gives back to the community.In this interview we talked about the process, working with family and more. Check it out below.
1. What made you decide to start a jewelry company?
I believe that people have always worn jewelry as a way to express their individuality. Unfortunately, my mother and I observed that there was a lot of mass produced jewelry that looked the same and had no purpose other than to be trendy and make the company money. We decided to take a jewelry class, partly to learn a new hobby and partly to make things that we love. We then began handcrafting jewelry with the belief that jewelry should be beautiful, personal and meaningful.
2. You work with your mom and husband. Usually, people say don't get into business with friends or family so how has it been?
It has been a positive experience. We get along pretty well in general. If you don’t already get along with your family going into business with them is a really bad idea. We have different strengths and weaknesses. Working a family makes it easy for us to identify what these strengths are and makes balancing them easier. Furthermore, it is easier for us to take constructive criticism because we believe it is coming from a good place. I really think it is easier to do business with family because you can’t abandon them! You have to work your problems out. I mean, you have to see them at Christmas dinner!
3. Your company’s mission is to encourage and empower women to reach their dreams and goals. How would you say your company does this and do you think you've reached your dreams and or goals?
We do this in three major ways
1) Each piece of jewelry has symbolic positive meaning attached to it- love, forgiveness, family, and believing – so that you can be reminded of your values and intentions each time you wear the pieces.
2) We release two collections a year where a portion of the sales goes to organizations that empower disadvantaged women to rise above poverty.
3) We organize numerous community events throughout the year focused on empowering women through skills training, story sharing, mentoring, etc. Some of the events include, free jewelry making workshops for disadvantaged women and networking events where we connect influential women and disadvantaged women.
I don’t believe we’ve reached our goal yet. It’s a big and ambitious goal, but it is why we do what we do. Fortunately, we are starting to see some impact. We believe that by continuously doing little things to make a difference, we can be a part of a greater good.
4. I love how the majority of your pieces are unique and different from a lot of other companies what would you say makes you different from other companies similar to yours?
I believe we are more than just a jewelry company. We are about strengthening our community and encouraging you to live a purposeful life. When you wear an Alora piece, not only are you encouraged to set an intention, the jewelry is there to act as a reminder of that intention. In addition to that, through your purchase, you are helping to make a difference in someone’s life. I would say the story behind each piece and our commitment to our community are what makes Alora what it is.
5. I was reading up about your process and how your pieces are created. Seems like a lot of work can go into something like a bracelet, which to some people may be easy. Was it hard when you were starting out with the creations or was it something that kind of all fell into place?
It was a mix of both. There is always a learning phase. Starting out, I definitely had some challenges. I was learning how to come up with new designs, how to use new tools, and I was experimenting with different techniques and materials. It was a steep learning curve. I look back at some of my earlier designs and say to myself, “I can’t believe I made that” (not in a good way!). To this day, creating a new design or making a new piece can be time-consuming at the beginning. There is a lot of trial and error, but by continuously working on focusing on it, I’ve gotten better.
6. The beautiful glass beads you use to make pieces are created in Ghana, which I think is amazing. With that being said would you say that your culture influences a lot of your pieces?
Thank you and yes, we are heavily influenced by Ghana. After all, our materials are rooted in Ghanaian culture. The recycled brass is a truly African concept: creating beautiful items from recycled materials. The glass beads have a very rustic feel and we are really drawn to the craftsmanship and vibrant colours of the beads. We also want to tie in our heritage to our designs and glass beads are a great way to do that. I think that being Ghanaian and Jamaican had enabled us to put forward bold, bright style and be unapologetic about out design choices.
7. Being a mom and balancing a business can be a difficult thing is it something you had to adjust or did you have a lot of help in balancing both out?
I’ve absolutely had to make some adjustments. One of the biggest ones has been to just let some things go. For a long time, I wanted to have a regular schedule, you know work for 8 to 10 hours a day. Start at a specific time and end at a specific time. Well, I learned pretty quickly that my children (one is 4 and the other is ten months) have their own schedule, and more often than not, their schedule clashes with mine. I definitely had to learn to be flexible and do things like work when my baby is asleep. Another thing that has been extremely helpful is that my mom and I are next door neighbors. This has made babysitting a whole lot easier!
8. Educational wise what led you down this path to go into business for yourself?
I mean I have a degree in business which was one of the catalysts for going into business for myself. But more than that, after I graduated university, I took a year off and worked in insurance. The grand master plan was to go Law school. It just so happened that I got pregnant that year. I really began to reflect on what I wanted in life and if I should follow some grand plan or do something meaningful that I am passionate about. I have always made crafts and have volunteered quite a bit in my community. Merging these two passions together is really what get me down this path.
9. What’s been some of the benefits and the downfalls of working for yourself?
I would say the biggest benefits of working for yourself is you have control over your time, flexibility to do some of the things that matter (like being able to spend a weekday morning with my girls) and an increased sense of accomplishment.
With regards to the downfalls, I am definitely working longer hours than I would if I was working for someone else. There is also the added risk which can be stressful at times. With all that been said, I wouldn’t trade owning and running Alora for anything
10. Is there any advice you’d like to give to any aspiring “rude gals” or boys who want to go into business?
I would say get out of the building and start making it happen. Whatever idea you have, start testing, experimenting or doing whatever takes to talk to your potential customers. Too often, it is easy to get stuck in the idea/research phase. One of the best advice that has stuck with me is “you don’t know what you don’t know. Start doing and get feedback, ASAP!” Whatever idea you’ve got, the only way to truly be successful is to start now. Talk to people, create a prototype and get it to market. Your customers will guide you, not the other way around.
Be Sure to check out her brand by clicking the link below. You can see more information on product and the process of what it takes to create these beautiful pieces.
Recently a video has come to my attention. Although It has now been taken down and the Show, which airs in Canada , UK, and Australia still airs on TV so I’m pretty sure it will air again on TV one day.
“What show am I talking about?” you ask? Well, the Next Step. Here're a few things you should know about this show.
After crying my pain away from watching the video I took some time to reflect and thought of 4 dancers 1 crew who they should have brought in to teach these kids or be a special consultant for this episode.
1.Tanisha Scott : Tanisha is a Toronto Native so this basically should have been there first go to person to make sure they were getting all the facts. She’s danced in plenty of videos and has Choreographed to Dancehall and Hip-hop so I'm pretty sure she could have told the producers what the difference is and giving these kids a better explanation. Here’s a video from Sean Paul. Gimmie the Light was Fully Choreographed by Tanisha. THROWBACK!!!!
2.BLACKA DI DANCA!! Another popular dancehall dancer. He’s work with Major Lazer/ Diplo, Collie Budz , Shaggy and even Bad Gal RHI RHI (Rihanna). He has his own unique style and represents the culture and community to the fullest any time he gets the chance . Since I originally saw him post about the video its only right he is included in this. One of my favorite dancers who know how to mix the Dancehall moves and steps to today's Dancehall/Edm influenced tracks. Check out his Choro to Major Lazer Ft Justin Beiber and MØ Cold Water along with the rest of his amazing team.
3.Now if they wanted some real authentic dancehall, I'm talking straight for Jamaica authentic. All they really had to Do is call up Kieva the Diva!!!! She dance along side Bogle (God Father of dancehall) for god sake.HELLO!!!!! Here's a video of Keiva dancing down at Dance Ja (which is another place this production could have found plenty of dancers).
4. Global Bob is probably another one of my favorite dancers. Originally known as Spongebob which was the name given to him by Bogle ,he is the creator of many well-known dances such as Scooby doo. He knows what he's doing and has taught dancehall and has given many lectures on Jamaican culture around the world.Check out this video about his experience traveling overseas and teaching. Side note the lady doing the interview is so excited she so funny hahaha ha ha haha.Also, check out his girlfriend's clothing line @deluxe.couture.dc its super clean.
5.Lastly, let's talk about the New Generation of dancehall dancers. Black eagles are probably one of the most well known (all though there is plenty more who are amazing). Everyone in the crew is amazing and would have been great to give feedback on the show and show these kids what the new generation of dancehall is all about. Here is a video of few of the members along with another amazing crew who would have been great as well , Overload.
Big up all the dancers. There are tons that I wish I could have mentioned but I'm sure throughout my blog, you will see me mention different people. I Leave you with the don,the daddy the man , the legend MR Wacky , BOGLE doing what he does best! Dance. Real Dancehall in Foxy Brown ft Baby Cham –Tables turn.