Dance forms in the Dncehall Music: A Brief

September 19, 2021
Dance forms in the Dncehall Music: A Brief

Dancehall music is a popular genre and attracted a lot of attention. From the name itself, it’s clear that these songs are mainly played in dance halls and clubs. These are mainly played for enjoyment and having a good time.

Dancehall first came into existence, courtesy of the people from Kingston, especially those living in the inner areas.

Dancehall can also be defined as a precursor to HipHop music. Why? Hiphop borrowed most of the elements from Dancehall, like many of its siblings.

This music style is different from Reggae, and other music styles. Reggae is more socially responsible, while Dancehall doesn’t incline towards it.

Due to sudden changes in the political, social, and scenario, people shifted from Reggae to Dancehall. In the initial stages, it is more targeted towards local consumers. The lyrics were more dramatic, drastic, and violent.

Later, it was brought up to an international level. And the level of violence is dampened to some extent. Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse offered a different style, songs full of humor, rather than violence.

Read Also: Introduction to Reggae and Dancehall: Music 101

With time, more male and female artists contributed to the music and redefined and rediscovered the music. But what Yellowman has created as a Dancehall artist is considered to be a blueprint for many artists to come.

In Dancehall, multiple riddims are used, but the most famous one is Sleng Teng (we have discussed it in a previous blog). It is used in more than 200 songs, which showcases its popularity.

Dancehall is incomplete without dance, and it has inspired multiple dance moves. In a different approach, we will discuss those dances in the next part.

These dance forms are combined using different styles, African, Jamaican, and European. Some of the styles that we will mention today are as follows:

  • Kumina

Kumina is originally a religious dance, performed by various groups. It originated in 1840 and was first modified to some extent in 1860. Since then, it has been modified several times. Now, people dance in this formation at weddings, and other occasions, and it is not strictly religious anymore. Singing songs, and playing drums are a part of these dances. Dancehall artists picked this style to complement their music, and it’s a nice fit.

  • Bruckings

Bruckings combines the concept of European and African dance styles. If you check out Dancehall music videos, you will find this style. Hip movements and thrusts are quite usual with this dance style. It has a rich history too, it is considered to be a celebration of freedom from slavery (celebration of 1st August 1838).

  • Burru

A type of masquerade dance, and you will find some similarities with Jonkonnu. It is originally performed for celebrating fertility, and it has a unique dance form, jumping and bending of knees in a particular pattern.

  • Gerreh

Although the premise of this dance (in the original version) is sad, it can be very lively. If we go by the unaltered version, it is supposed to be played after a person’s death. It has sensual hip movements, if used correctly, can elevate the essence of the music. Again, you can match this dance style with others, and can enjoy all these styles very much.

  • Gumbay

Gumbay is derived from another dance style Myal. It is a form practiced by the Maroon population and has all the popular dance moves, somersaults, and other styles.

  • Quadrille

Quadrille is a dance, and it is performed by both men and women. It is a dance played with songs during times of slavery. However, it evolved and consists mainly of three styles, Ballroom Style, Camp Style, and Contra Style. The best version is the Camp one, and you can dance your hearts out to a song you like.

The Contra Style is mainly played with Mento songs. Whatever your style is, you must pick appropriate music and songs.

  • Tambu

In Tambu, drums play a crucial role, and it’s true for Dancehall too. Performers usually do this dance to entertain their partners and audiences. Dancers usually sashay, which makes the entire thing entertaining to watch.

  • Zella

This is a folk dance, and this is the most powerful Dancehall dance form out there. A bunch of instruments is used in this dance, and it is also a part of the Kumina dance form.

Other dance forms can also be played with these songs. Reggae music also has some dances to go along with it, and as a Reggae artist, I would love to explore it.

We have got various songs that belong to the Dancehall and Reggae categories. If you want, you can listen to either of them.

Various artists have graced the industry, and we are grateful for it.


A little bit about myself. My name is Abby Dallas, I am situated in Jamaica, and I sing songs from different genres, Dancehall, Hiphop, and Reggae.

I started my journey when I was quiet, and it’s been interesting. I have come across several artists and enjoyed working with them.

My inspiration for singing comes from my mother and my family. I have seen so many things in life, that I feel obligated to talk about those things.

And I also draw my inspiration from numerous artists who have paved the way for success before me. I plan to achieve a position in the industry, just like they have.

I have released a bunch of songs, you can listen to all of them. I would love to check out the feedback and improvise.

I will be launching a series of new songs soon. You can check out the website to learn about the latest releases and launches.

You can also keep an eye out on social media handles for more information.

However, there are different dance forms that we have not covered yet. We will do that in the next blog, and let’s learn what you guys would like to read next.  I love exploring new topics every day.

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