LargeUp columnist, newly minted Red Bull brand ambassador and all-around dancer extraordinaire Blacka Di Danca has partnered with LargeUp to drop his first-ever mixtape. For the latest edition in the monthly LargeUp Mix Series, Blacka and DJ Gravy team up for a high-energy Dancehall Warm-Up to help you get the vibes flowing and your moves on point, before you step out at the bashment.
Featuring artwork by Australia-based Jamaican artist Robin Clare, Dancehall Warm-Up is designed as an accompaniment to the dancehall workshops Blacka teaches at dance studios around the world.
“The mixtape is a dancehall workshop to go,” DJ Gravy says. “You can learn these dances at workshops with Blacka Di Danca, and then have this mixtape to rock to, and keep your dance steps tight.”
The mix features dancehall’s most essential dance anthems: instructional tracks (from Beenie Man, Mr. Vegas, Elephant Man and others) inspired by dances created by top Jamaican street dancers like Mr. Bogle, Ovamarz and Ding Dong.
“This mix is a small compilation of some of my favorite songs to warm up to,” Blacka says. “It’s mostly old school to middle-school dancehall, because that is the era I grew up in, and that is the best era to get introduced to, to start loving dancehall.”
Besides for being classics every dancehall dancer should know, for Blacka these tracks also have personal significance. After you download the mix below, read on for his breakdown of each track. You can also check out a playlist featuring the songs from the mix, Blacka’s Danca Anthems, via the LargeUp channel on Apple Music.
Not enough dance for you? This is just Volume 1, in an ongoing series…
This one is all about the foundational movement of the waistline, and the feeling the song and dance gives you. It’s very freeing— one of the best songs to express yourself to. Bogle was the man that really started the whole dancehall dance movement — who gave it the fashion, the style, the flavor, the lingo.
The World Dance has always been a really fun dance for me. I travel the world, and I travel in a lot of the countries that Beenie Man calls out in the song. It’s a dance I can use to help connect the world, and to make everyone feel included.
The Tatie dance is simple and fun to do, and it involves a little bit of acting. You grab your pocket and search for your wallet, or your cell phone. It’s a dance anybody can do. I constantly lose my phone doing this dance.
Harry Toddler – Dance The Angel
Harry Toddler was a part of the Scare Dem Crew with Elephant Man, who brought a different feel to dancehall. I remember doing this dance in clubs in the early 2000s. It’s fun to do simultaneously with a group of friends. For me, it is one of the ultimate party dances.
There are dancehall dances for every person. There are dancers for people who are more expressive and for people who are more timid, and for badman people, who don’t want to move too much but want to show people they can move. It feels right that, when you have a dance that’s highly expressive where people want to go in the spotlight, that you also have a dance for people who want to stay in the corner by the bar and just hold a drink. Gangsta Rock is one of those dances.
“Pon De River” was one of the music videos and songs that propelled dancehall worldwide in 2003. From the outfits to the music to the dancing in the video, it’s a timeless song with timeless moves that everybody loves doing, 13 years later. Elephant Man is a very expressive artist and I love that he is dancing in the video with all of the dancers in the video. It helps relay the message that dancehall is powerful and for everybody.
That’s one of my favorite dances to do, and Beenie Man is my favorite dancehall artist.
Higher Level’s an old-school classic that makes me reminisce on clubs in the early 2000s. It is one of those simple, easy dances that everybody does in groups. Those are always the best.
Badman Forward always reminds me of dancing in Brooklyn. That was one of the most popular dance steps when it came out. The producer is a friend of mine, and Ding Dong is a very influential, energetic dancer and a living legend, an inspiration to me and all dancers worldwide. I don’t know any other dancer who has had as many hit songs and dances as he has had for the last 13 years.
Every time I do this dance, created by Ova-Marz, I remember being in a party, and doing the Nuh Linga so much that my abs were burning me for two weeks. That was one of the dances that helped me win my Dancehall King title in 2008, my first battle. Nuh Linga means not to linger somewhere you don’t need to be around. That’s something my mother would tell me after school — don’t linger around, take yourself home. For me, it brings up memories [of some] really personal situations, where I had to walk away, and friends of mine lingered around, and they got into trouble, and almost died.
Serani feat. Ding Dong -Skip To My Luu
If you can walk or you can run, you can Skip To My Luu. And it’s got another appearance from Ding Dong, who came up with the dance.
Tek Weh Yuh Self means to take yourself away from negativity, and that’s the way I live my life. The dances that I love the most, like Nuh Linga and Tek Weh Yuh Self, have social meanings — the same meanings I heard growing up from my mother about how to live my life and take care of myself in the streets, and knowing when to stay out of trouble.
Bogle created “Willie Bunx” after his friend Willie Haggart was killed in 2001. It’s in memory of him. That dance had a deep meaning for Bogle and Elephant Man. That dance has to have feeling and emotion and not so much high energy.
Voicemail feat. Ding Dong – Wacky Dip
The Wacky Dip was also created by Bogle, I think it was the last one before he got killed. Wacky Dip that is the high energy dance to do. That entire routine to me almost defines a dancehall party. Dancehall is about real-life situations and emotion, and some emotions are negative and a lot are positive, just like life. Dancehall itself is an inspiration to keep living and keep experiencing, so you can continue telling your stories in dance.