Reading Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican Reggae Dancehall Dance : Spirit Bodies Moving book cover
1st Edition

Reading Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican Reggae Dancehall Dance
Spirit Bodies Moving

ISBN 9780367539696
Published March 31, 2022 by Routledge
292 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores the genealogy of Jamaican dancehall while questioning whether dancehall has a spiritual underscoring, foregrounding dance, and cultural expression.

This study identifies the performance and performative (behavioural actions) that may be considered as representing spiritual ritual practices within the reggae/dancehall dance phenomenon. It does so by juxtaposing reggae/dancehall against Jamaican African/neo-African spiritual practices such as Jonkonnu masquerade, Revivalism and Kumina, alongside Christianity and post-modern holistic spiritual approaches.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in performance studies, popular culture, music, theology, cultural studies, Jamaican/Caribbean culture, and dance specialists.

Table of Contents


The Blessing – Illustrations/images, plates, and video stills


Introduction: Sanctification

Chapter 1. Warm up: Dancehall literature review

Chapter 2. Old time story: The convergence of African, neo-African and popular dance in Jamaica

Chapter 3. Come back again: Towards a definition of spirituality

Chapter 4. The Massive arrive: The gathering and meshing together of knowledge

Chapter 5. Party Time – Early Vibe: Thick descriptions/analysis of dance in the dancehall space

Chapter 6: Party Hot – Man dem section: The corporeal dancing body creating ‘dancehall spirituality’

Chapter 7. Party Hot Up – Female section: Dancehall spirituality rooted and routed through African/neo-African practices and worldviews

Chapter 8. Coupling Section: Male and female relationships

Chapter 9. Signing Off/revelation: Findings and meanings


Conclusion: Dispersal – recommendations

Bruk Down – Bibliography


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‘H’ Patten is the founder and Artistic Director of Koromanti Arts and ‘H’ Patten Dance Theatre Company. He is an experienced choreographer, filmmaker, visual artist, storyteller, and performer and has developed an international reputation in African and Caribbean arts for over 35 years. ‘H’ has worked with the Jamaica School of Dance, the Jamaica National Dance Company (NDTC), L’Acadco, the University of Technology (UTECH) and the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica (ACIJ). The recipient of several awards including the Jamaican High Commission 50th Anniversary Award for services in Arts, Culture and Entertainment (2012), ‘H’ has choreographed for Stella Maris Dance Ensemble (Jamaica), and the National Dance Companies of Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia, as well as UK companies: Kokuma Performing Arts, Irie! dance theatre and Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble in addition to high-profile projects. Having authored a number of articles he is currently an Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) Independent Scholarship Fellow, hosted by Goldsmiths University and presently teaches African and Caribbean dance as well as popular culture at several Universities.