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Dance (Lens) — Graveyard Riddim: Jamaican dancehall on screen

Dance (Lens) closing party

Xqlusiv Dancers. Photo by Nickii Kane.
8:30pm, Sat 15 July
— Doors open 8pm
— Talk and screening from 8.30pm
— DJ and dance floor from 9.30pm

On Demand (13—31 July): $35.34

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For the closing event of Dance (Lens), join screendance maker and producer Kim Suree Williamson in conversation with Graveyard Riddim music producer Monkey Marc, Graveyard Riddim featured dancers Rasta Huxx and DHQ GizzMery and Jamaican visual artist and Graveyard Riddim collaborator Robin Clare, followed by the special premiere screening of Graveyard Riddim.

Then join Melbourne’s best dancehall dancers for a dancehall party powered by Melbourne’s own DIY HiFi Solar Sound System and legendary selector Jesse I (Chant Down Sound). Theme: Dancehall fashion. Bring the colour to the party!

Graveyard Riddim
— Official Selection Dance (Lens) 2023

Legendary dancehall musician Ninjaman recorded the track ‘Badness’ in Kingston, Jamaica, with Australian music producer Monkey Marc, before receiving a life sentence in prison for murder. The track showcases Ninjaman at his most political, denouncing a life of guns and crime for the first time in his long career.

The Graveyard Riddim track is a refix of the ‘Badness’ track, in a collaboration between producers Monkey Marc and UK dubstep pioneer Pinch. It uses Ninjaman’s message as the foundation for a new take by another 16 reggae, dancehall, hip hop and grime artists from Jamaica and UK on a juggling riddim, including reggae legends Ritchie Spice and Turbulence and UK grime dons Rico Dan and Killa P.

The Graveyard Riddim short film brings these artists together with 70 dancers from Jamaica’s intense and dynamic dancehall dance scene. Music and dance are inextricably intertwined as two core pillars of dancehall, with both holding an equally important place in the nightly parties across Kingston that are a way of life, a workplace and a hotbed of creativity, competition and energy.

The dancers in Graveyard Riddim include dancehall crews from the urban centres of Kingston and Spanish Town and the rural parish of St Thomas, as well as some of Jamaica’s most famous dancehall dancers who have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers around the world.

Embodying the positive side of the project’s message, many of the dancers come from ghetto communities and have built international careers for themselves, despite limited government support for dancehall or acceptance from wider Jamaican society. They are often adored as heroes in their communities, living lives of exhilarating glamour and success through dance.

The Graveyard Riddim short film was created by a community of dancers and musicians over many months. Recorded in studios across Jamaica and UK, shot in locations across Kingston by Dameon Gayle (Warrior Films JA), one of Jamaica’s leading filmmakers and frequent dancehall music collaborator, and edited by James Gillot (Jurassic Melbourne). Outfits were sourced from Australian designers, Bangkok markets and Hong Kong and US streetwear brands in a styling collaboration with Lucille Loveday, carried to the island via Melbourne by dancers Rasta Huxx and DHQ GizzMery and via Miami.

An unreleased limited edition 7” vinyl of ‘Badness’ feat. Ninjaman and ‘How You Bad Suh’, the final track on the Graveyard Riddim, will be available for sale on the night. ‘How You Bad Suh’ features Wayne J, Ritchie Spice, iotosh, Wayne Senior, Aza Lineage and Inezi.

Please join us in the official premiere of this historic dancehall project and celebration of Jamaican dance.

DANCE CREWS: Xqlusiv Dancers (St Thomas), Black Dice (Spanish Town), Ultimate Girlz (Kingston), Hectic Dymondz (Kingston), Xtreme Pushers (Kingston), Unruly Skankaz (Kingston), Donn Skankaz (St Thomas) and Clinical Team (St Thomas).

SOLO DANCERS: Dancing Rebel, Shelly Belly, Kimiko Versatile, Killa Bean, Energy, Godzilla, Shakespear, Pretty Pretty, Chin Powa, Shantii, Rasta Huxx, DHQ GizzMery, Jukeboxx, Kiss Kiss, Remi Remi and more.

SINGERS: JA: Ninjaman, Richie Spice, Turbulence, Sanjay, Aza Lineage, Inezi, Wayne J, Wayne Smith, Stacious, iotosh, Sashae, Don Husky and Snatcha Lion; UK: Soom T, Riko Dan, Soom T, Irah and Killa P.

Photos by Nickii Kane.

Graveyard Riddim has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Dance (Lens) 2023 is supported by the Besen Family Foundation.

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