‘Dancehall Adventures’ with Latonya Style takes on a new meaning of nature therapy | Way of life
Finding a river head and walking to its end, where it meets the seabed, is the ultimate form of therapy, shares professional dancer Latonya Style. As far back as she can remember, there was always a voice in her head telling her to embark on unknown adventures like dancing a daring dive or chasing waterfalls, all for inspiration.
The “staycation” lifestyle has created the perfect landscape for many Jamaicans like her looking for entertainment, relaxation, adventure or a bit of all three, and she has turned adversity into opportunity. Revisiting a business model she launched in 2017 called Dancehall Adventures, Latonya Style finds new purpose by combining her previous experience in the hospitality industry with an advocacy for dancehall music, dance and nature therapy. .
“I’ve been immersed in a culture of hospitality and travel throughout my professional career,” says Latonya Style, whose first job was entertainment coordinator at a popular hotel, “providing service and going above and beyond. expectations by giving customers not only what they want, but what they need or don’t have or maybe don’t experience where they come from”.
She added: “At one point, requests for classes dropped significantly as people could participate virtually and visitors went straight to hostels that offered private dance sessions.”
She is aware that while she wishes to hail Latonya Style as a master dance instructor, many might be hesitant to hail her as an adventurer, to which she offers, “It all started with the team members of DanceJA Academy, with whom, I would visit local hotspots to film dance instruction videos and choreography to promote our work while showcasing our beautiful island.”
The famous dancer adds: “It also turned into my personal adventures, especially in places with water activities. I don’t remember my first trip as I would have been a pre-teen, but through The ASHE Company, as a teenager, then touring with artists, dancing was my ticket to see other countries . I’ve always been a nature lover, (so) when my own students started asking me to take them to local tourist attractions, it always triggered something in me.
Over the years, she adopted an attitude of adventure to get the most out of life and her career, and held to the mantra that “adventures aren’t just for the rich, the accomplished, or the tourists”, instead everyone – foreigners or residents – should take simple breaks from normal daily life, “to explore everything around you and discover new places that make you one with nature”.
Recalling a trip to Japan, the dancer-turned-tour operator said she had firsthand insight into nature therapy and how serious it was for people in other countries.
“Soaking in a natural stream or a hot bath and having massages outside took on new meaning – this counts for me as one of the most memorable trips and taught me that it was important as a way to take care of me Nature therapy is as simple as sitting in the shallow area of the beach as the salt water relaxes the muscles, hiking to the falls and dancing in the water. “water to help your muscles. Instead of going dancing every night, get away and catch a fresh breeze in the countryside, and you can take your music with you,” she says.
Asked about her latest personal adventures, she will tell you that, for three years, her inner hodophile has been awakening to take steps towards unknown heights. She has created one-day packages that cover up to five locations at once. Since the beginning of the year, she has made about four excursions with visitors from Chile, Spain, Germany and France, for which she has invited other Jamaican dancers to act as “tour guides of dance “.
“I also check out some places, but I like the idea of including some of these authentic outdoor spaces that promote reggae and dancehall. Some [people] like the falls and botanical gardens, while others love the sun, sea and sand that brings out their creativity, and the packages involve a dance class at a beach or any location, transportation, as well than the experience of hiring local dancers,” she explained. “With my Chilean group, we went to five hotspots in St Ann: Margaritaville, Konoko Falls, Ocho Rios Jerk Center and White River for the rafting that transitioned to the beach in one day. For a trip on Ash Wednesday, myself, Dyema Attitude, Monsta Boss and Energy Kidd went on an adventure as Jamaicans for the holidays. It showed me that I could take classes outside rather than being confined to the DanceJA studio.
She speaks passionately about dancehall and its potential to be more than a genre of music and a space for entertainment. Embedding the Jamaican experience through dancehall, dancing and exploring the island’s outdoor offerings makes her and all she has engaged through Dancehall Adventures very happy to participate, he said. she stated. She combined entertainment with gardens, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, boat rides and rafting adventures.
“The tours are authentically dancehall because people are exposed to the culture of music and dance. Tour guides are born and raised Jamaican dancehall practitioners on the island with years of knowledge and experience, and we educate our guests. The adventures are not only for foreigners visiting the island but also for locals who want to enjoy their own country. But the goal is the same at all levels, to encourage more people to come here, to teach them to appreciate dancehall not only by partying, and to help broaden the visibility of the places visited,” concluded Latonya Style.
Check out Latonya Style’s five best things to go on an adventure:
3. Water shoes
4. Sunscreen/insect repellent with SPF 30
5. Good atmosphere