Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lighting up' Jamaican dances

With dance moves that remain the hottest commodity around, Choreographer Tanisha Scott has been blazing trails, and bringing Jamaican dances to the forefront of the world.

While many may not recognise her name, most have seen her in all the hypest music videos such as Sean Paul's We be Burning, and I'm Still In Love With You, Ludacris' Money Maker, Ne-Yo's Stay and countless others.

Born in Toronto, Canada to Jamaican parents, Scott has kept her Jamaican link close to her heart visiting yearly as much as possible.

She exploded on the dance scene with Sean Paul's Gimme Di Light video. It was Scott's first time meeting the then striving DJ and her first time choreographing as well.

"My friend Little X, the director, called me and asked to choreograph it. I was nervous and scared but it worked out. I built my reputation wid Sean, he loved my energy, after that I did all his videos. People saw the video and saw my work, that's how I expanded in the business" she said.

With a vivacious personality, energy and an natural skill at dancing Scott has expanded to work with the Caribbean and United States' biggest artistes such as Beyonc?, Jay-Z, Mary J Blidge, the late Aaliyah, Craig David, Ne-Yo, Mya, Fabulous, Kevin Lyttle, Rupee, Elephant Man, Tami Chynn, Shaggy and many others she was never professionally trained, dancing was something she had always wanted to do.

"From when I was born, I used to tell my mom I wanted to be a belly dancer. I joined a dance troupe in university. I was never professionally trained. I used to dance at this club back home," she said while laughing.

While some have credited Scott with 'bussing' Sean Paul, since it was the Gimme Di Light video that really drew attention to him as an artiste, she says it was just the right time for them both.

She says, "Jamaican dance is a hundred per cent energy, it represents what Jamaica is, the whole Bob Marley One Love free spirit. Anyone can do dancehall, the steps are easy but its the vibe that really carries it off. Everyone from Africa to Japan, Europe are seeing the moves and want to do them. Look at Dutty Wine, everyone from men, to women, children, even my grandmother wants to do it. Its a great phenomenon and a girls dance. Finally the girls have something for them, I rate the Attitude Girls."

Scott just finished co-choreographing the movie Bring It On: All Or Nothing, the fourth movie in the Bring It On series. She also choreographed and starred in How She Moved to be released next year. Scott plays a role not far off her person: a Jamaican girl who moves to Canada and becomes a dancer at her high school.

Despite all her achievements, Scott remembers the moment that inspired her to never stop dancing.

According to Scott, on a visit to Jamaica, dancehall's most famous dancer Bogle came up to her and praised her work. "He told me how I had helped bring dancehall to the forefront, how proud he was of me. That's the greatest thing, no matter what I'm gonna keep opening doors for Jamaican dancers. I want to see a dancehall movement, make a mark. Where you have jazz and tap as dance forms that are studied, I want to bring dancehall to that level, where it is respected and taught, its a culture. Its not about Tanisha but about Jamaica and dancehall" she said.


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