There are few feelings more human than the eyes-closed, hips-squared euphoria of dancing to a song you really, really love, whether your move of choice is a casual two-step or a complex back-bending, limb-isolating routine. Sean Paul may not be a technically skilled dancer — a friend once joked that his confidence is an inspiration to all people who love to dance and aren't particularly good at it — but his emphasis on incorporating dancehall moves in music videos is an important part of his legacy.
Indeed, Paul had been successfully making dancehall tracks for years before the massive hit that was 's Dutty Rock ; but the combination of Scott's genius choreography and clever directing by the filmmaker formerly known as Lil X put dance at the forefront of his image, and drove his crossover into global pop stardom.
We really pushed a new thing, we really set a new standard that changed music and music videos forever," said Scott, who also coached Drake through his "Hotline Bling" video. She explained some of the most important moves and cultural references in five of Paul's most iconic videos. Dance will never die. That video started my choreography career.
After that, I started getting calls from people. As Sean Paul bloomed and became bigger, everything became bigger: dancehall music as well as the dance. Just as true to dancehall as Sean Paul's lyrics and his music was, I made sure the choreography represented the same exact thing, which is why ["Gimme The Light"] became a huge phenomenon. People were losing their minds because they were like, "What style is this? There wasn't any other element but just the music and the dance.
Beyonce later did it in her "Baby Boy" video, I think. But PonyTailz: that was her freestyling, doing a dance she knew, and she killed it. A strong part of dancehall choreographed dance is you usually have this one meter and everyone follows along, and the second thing is that everyone freestyles. Every video we've ever done, there's always an element of freestyle in it with the choreography. And that's just, 'Okay, everybody come bruk out; it's your time!
The majority of the dances in "Gimme The Light" — not all of them because I did create some — originated in Jamaica. Everything we did was predominantly dancehall dances because I couldn't do anything less. I had to do justice to dancehall. We had just finished shooting and we were like, "That's a wrap! We were all clapping and happy.
That moment was not supposed to be there! We were all excited and I was just dancing and the camera happened to be there. It was not a thing, it was a real moment. X told me I had to get to the guy, to somehow make my way to him, so I figured I would just back up slowly. It was totally intentional but also kind of natural. When you're getting ready with your girls, it's like, Okay, I'm gonna get sexy and nice.
And you're always playing your track to get you in the mood. Instead of having a drink, the music got you there. Men know, but they really don't know sometimes. I don't think they know we take that time to get ready and it's always a moment with our girls. For guys, it's not that serious. Behind closed doors they could be doing the same thing, but it's not in a group. We're more open with dancing and having fun. We move with our hips. That's just the cultural aspect of it, that's just how the drums and the beat hit.
Women when we go out, we look sexy, we feel sexy. I remember that it was Christmastime, when the music industry slow down, and this song was just everywhere. The clubs and the DJs made it happen organically. I wanted to make sure that there was something soft and romantic about it. I wanted to bring romance back to dance. Things like daggering and the roughness that comes with that?
That's why some guys had on the du-rags, it's not like they had on suits. This is kind of a romance to the club. At the end of the night, that's all it is, slow-dancing. We did this one outdoors, in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a place that's amazing for dance, if you're talking about dancehall. It's second to Toronto. The idea was that he's walking through the party and as he's walking through, he's hitting all the popular dances with different groups of dancers, until he gets to the stage.
I had different crews there from New York come out and showcase themselves, their own choreography. There was a lot of movement that were dances created in Jamaica but at the same time, there are some dancehall dances created by New Yorkers.
It was just a big free-for-all. It was really a party on set. That energy that you see on the screen? It resonated so much throughout the whole place. We hit the choreography really strong in this 'party' part. That's a thing that we intentionally wanted to happen; they were like, "If this is an outdoor party, [then] were gonna show outdoor parties. This kind of thing of instructional dances, of calling out dances, it became a trend after Sean. Everyone started doing it in hip-hop, in pop, in every genre.
He made it happen. It's the illusion of how low can you go and still stay in your spot, like a new age Limbo. At that time, everybody would hit the Matrix. The lower you went and the slower you went gave you the biggest props at any type of party, at any type of battle.
You know, the Matrix was the ultimate dance to do because you need strength, you need flexibility, and you need showmanship. A winter basement party, because we didn't party on the streets like you could in the West Indies. For the majority of us, if you weren't in an apartment, you lived in a house and you had a basement.
It's hot, it's small, but that was it. You had the crews down there. You're banging on the furnace because you don't have a blowhorn. It was created in Jamaica obviously. Because Sean loved this song so much he was like, "We just gotta beat this until it's black-and-blue so that we can get it right.
Wacky a. Bogle's dance moves brought dancehall culture to the forefront again, which Sean really finds important. Music and dance goes one-in-one with him, and he wanted to bring dance to forefront, too.
It's looks like he's doing a Heel N Toe, but he's not, it's his on own creation: one leg is going forward, the other is going back, and it's kind of fluid. On tour, we called it, the S Peezy. If you see Sean doing the S Peezy, that's how you know he's really feeling the moment.
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