THE LOVE OF THE GROOVE keeps him moving.
Damien Jordan long held on to an interest in dance, but only worked up the courage to pursue it in 2005. Almost a decade later, the 30-year-old has worked with some of the biggest names in local soca, including Blood, Mr Dale and Biggie Irie.
And he enjoys every minute of his work.
Along with carnival dance, Damien also performs African and folk dance, and has also dabbled in jazz, ballet and contemporary dance. It goes without saying that Damien’s busiest time of the year is upon him, but the multitalented man is up for the task.
“When Crop Over starts, my sleep goes and I am in rehearsals sometimes every day, or have several rehearsals in a day. But my body just makes the switch when it comes to Crop Over because it knows I have to push. The sleep hits me at the end of the season. When it comes I have to work, so I do what I have to do.”
The Louis Lynch alumnus prepares by getting as much sleep as possible before the season, as well as running, walking and going to the gym. Of course, mental preparation is also necessary, “because there is all of this work that I have to do, so I will do it.”
“Failure is not an option, so I must make sure that the audience is happy, the performer and choreographer are happy. If you put your all into it and you love it, it is not work. I love dancing and performing and it comes out in what I do on stage”.
And it is much more than wukking up on stage, the dancer made sure to note.
“Sometimes [the moves] do not always come easy and you have to learn them. Technique is required for some of them, but it is not all wukking up. If it was, it would be a lot easier,” Damien said with a laugh.
The dancer has also tried his hand at choreography, charting out moves for Coopa Dan, Red Man and Mr Vilan. His eventual aim is to become a touring dancer, with eyes set on working with the likes of Alison Hinds or Machel Montano on international performances.
“ . . . I believe that soca is getting more and more global and I would like to be performing on . . . stages backing a soca artiste. That is one of my main dreams in terms of dance,” he said.
Damien got a taste of the regional stage as a backing dancer for Blood at the 2011 International Soca Monarch in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I enjoyed that thoroughly. The crowd is massive and the energy that comes off of them helps to push you, so that was one of the greatest dance experiences of my life. I would do it again and again, and again,” he said with a smile.
Damien has earned most of his dance credentials as a member of various dance companies, starting with Riddim And Groove and working with Dancin’ Africa.
“I also joined . . . Danse Tropicale and did some hotel work with them . . . and I have also done a lot of work with Geraldine Lynch and Dance Strides, mainly during Crop Over . . . [as well as] Narada Thorington from Dance Machine.”
Add to this repertoire working with famed Jamaican choreographer L’Antoinette Steins, among others from outside Barbados. Currently, Damien dances with the dance company of DL Productions, along with doing freelance work. And even though formal training is something he deemed necessary, he admitted it would be something he would have to consider “in the future”.
Damien shares his love of dancing with his love for track and field, and also works as a trainer. Additionally, he has recently started artiste management for up-and-coming Farmer Ubu, something he hoped to “pursue further and see where it can go”.
“Once you are happy with what you do, it doesn’t always feel like work,” he reiterated.