A Step up for Dancehall


Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia is now offering a course in Dancehall; Introduction to Dance Forms, Contemporary and Popular Subject, Dancehall History and Fundamentals.

Jamaica-born, Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer, Mikhail Morris, has embarked on this new venture; the first time for this style of dance to be taught as part of a university program.

mikhail morris

Morris, 28, is teaching “FPA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular Subject: Dancehall History and Fundamentals”, at the Vancouver campus.

The course is a combination of theory and dance.  Morris created the curriculum to teach the socio-historical factors that inspired the creation of reggae and dancehall music and culture.


“Often associated with “low-culture” due to historical political tensions in Jamaica, it has been a challenge for the dance to gain acceptance as a true and valid cultural art form,” SFU wrote on the school’s website. “Thus, for SFU to have created an actual course that teaches the history and fundamentals of Dancehall is a huge step in the right direction. There are very few university institutions that have this kind of programming available for their students.”

Dancehall music can now be found in a large portion of current mainstream music with artists like Drake, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, and others, looking towards the genre for musical inspiration.