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