A dancehall queen is the life of a party, fierce and fearless and empowered by her own aggressively sexual dance moves and command of her body. Her performances aren’t about technical skills but raw energy, and going hard, and stirring the crowd into a frenzy, likely while standing on her head, legs spread, gyrating her hips and trading twerks between each ass cheek before slamming down into a ground-grinding split, thrusting and bouncing deeper into it.
“When I hear a song, it’s uncontrollable. I’m not even aware that I’m moving my butt. Sometimes it goes off without my consent.”
That’s Danger, one of the women profiled in new Kickstarter-funded documentary, Bruk Out!, about the culture of dancehall and more specifically, the magnetic and energetic queens at its heart. The movement started in Jamaica, but has spread all over the world and draws a diverse array of practitioners, represented in the film by dancers from Spain, Poland, Japan, Italy, America and the island nation itself who are gearing up for the International Dancehall Queen competition in Montego Bay.
These are women from different backgrounds, of different ethnicities, with different motivations. None of them are the gold-digging stripper portrayed in Major Lazer’s “Bruk Out” track, but all are addicted to the dance that brings them joy, comfort, and release, that gives them a positive sense of self-worth, that serves as a vehicle of self-expression, and that motivates them to get up every day and take on the world despite all life’s obstacles that stand in their way.
We could all learn a thing or two from these women, not to mention pick up a few dance moves.