A tour de force: Blacka Di Danca brings dancehall to Europe

A tour de force: Blacka Di Danca brings dancehall to Europe
Dancehall to the world: Blacka Di Danca is touring Europe in a partnership with Red Bull, bringing dancehall styles and history to different cultures.
Justin Pallack

He is busting a move from Crown Heights to the Continent!

Famed local dancehall instructor Blacka Di Danca just jetted off on a seven-country tour of Europe. The choreographer rose to stardom creating instructional dance videos on YouTube and says he is excited to now have the opportunity to spread the popular Jamaican genre and dance style around the planet in person.

“Having a bigger platform to tour is another opportunity to change the perspective and for people to understand the dancehall scene and promote Jamaica,” said Danca, who played the first date on his tour on Nov. 2 in Italy. “And it’s just another day to live my dreams — I’m really excited.”

The Crown Heights native will teach dancehall classes and workshops in Italy, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic — all countries with new and growing dancehall scenes, he said.

He expects to run two classes in each country, and will school participants about the dance style’s political and cultural roots as well as his signature moves.

“My focus on new scenes for this tour is to build understanding of the culture,” said Danca. “I try to make my classes a history lesson so I teach them about the social and economic issues of dancehall.”

Danca is particularly excited to return to Siberia — where he has been three times before — because it is so surreal to see dancehall in one of the coldest places on the planet, which he remembers seeing in James Bond films as a kid.

“Being from Brooklyn, growing up watching ‘007’ movies and to know I’m going to be teaching the willie bounce — it’s really mind-blowing,” he said.

Energy drink giant Red Bull is sponsoring Danca’s tour — the first time the big beverage brand has backed a dancehall artist, which Danca says is a historic moment, because it shows the wider world is finally recognizing the Caribbean influences in mainstream entertainment and because it offers a gateway for other dancehall artists to pursue similar sponsorships.

“How many movies use fake Caribbean accents and our music, utilizing the lyrics, and the rhythms?” he said. “I think everyone should finally look into how important and influential the West Indian community is to the world. I think it’s the right step every brand should take because it’s long overdue for dancehall and Caribbean culture.”

Danca’s tour ends will wind down in early December, and after returning stateside, he plans on creating a dance program for Jamaica.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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