This all-women dance crew sets the stage on fire using Jamaican and African beats
Meet the crew of Afrontāl, an assemblage of five vivacious and 20-something happy dancers. Maryann Vincent, Anjaly Ariyanayagam, Divya Easwaran, Nivitha Krishna and Alisha Ajit all dance to the popping beats of Afrobeat and Dancehall, two very distinct types of dances from Africa and Jamaica.
United and inspired by the riddims (Jamaican pronunciation of the word "rhythm") and grooves of Afrobeat and Dancehall, they say its all about liberation, freedom and positivity. "Their moves and music were formed out of everyday actions and stories they had to tell," says Maryan. "It was also their fight for freedom from political issues. It's really beautiful. In Dancehall, every move has a story behind it and it's completely mind-blowing how instantly happy their music makes you feel." While some of the crew members started watching dancehall videos as kids, others jammed in office after work hours before they finally started Afrontāl.
Raising spirits quite instantly, the crew describe the dance form as 'something that your body experiences on many levels.' "It's all good vibes, and that what Afrontāl follows and thrives on too," says Maryan. And true to every word, the group's videos induce an inevitable head bob and the need to move your legs. Some of the signature dance moves are the bogle, zip it up, gully creepa, the paperbag, baddawave and follow di leadah.
Afrontal has a workshop series called In Da 'Fro where they cover three cities in a span of two weeks. "We successfully completed our first edition in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and we're looking forward to the 2nd edition!" says Maryan. " As for classes, we take regular classes in Chennai at Madras Dance Arts. Banglore has a two-month module focussing on dancehall and Afrobeats at ARDS, Tippasandra." 2018 will haveAfrontāl hosting International dancehall choreographer Blacka Di Danca who happens to the crew's biggest inspiration. "We will be having workshops for this and then we kick-start our 2nd edition. However for this month we have a performance at The Humming Tree in Bangalore on December 3 and a pre-party to the Goa Reggae Sun Splash, India's first and only Reggae/Dancehall festival, hosted by the Reggae Rajahs)
Watch their videos here: