Jason Ricardo Leslie aka Slim-Jay is 26 years old and team member of Xqlusiv Dancers from St. Thomas, Jamaica. Xqlusiv dancers do a style of dancehall they call freeflow dancehall because it's all about feeling the music and going with the flow. I first met Slim-Jay in July of 2014 at my friend Charlotte's house in Kingston. Him and his friend and fellow dancer, Zidan, were staying with us so we could all go to Uptown Mondays that night. Slim-Jay spent the earlier part of the evening showing me some Xqlusiv steps - Free flow, Winner, Popsicle, and R1 - I loved these steps. They were big, expansive, grounded, flowy, and reminded me of my Haitian training. These guys are prolific dancers, they continually make and create new steps and epic videos for all to enjoy. I hope you will check them out - you can find them easily on FB, IG, & Youtube, Xqlusiv Dancers.
Here is Slim-Jay's inspirational interview:
1. When did you first start going to the dancehall (DH)? How old were you? What was that like? What did you see? If it's been years since your first party, what is it like in comparison to that first time?
I was born in dancehall so i didn't get into it... From the day i was born i love dancehall music and just would move to the beat whenever i hear the music!! Dancehall doesn't feel any different it's the same in my opinion... It just evolved as do everything else do with the time!!!!
2. Who is your favorite DH artist? Why?
My favorite dancehall artist is Vybz Kartel!!!! Why is my favourite artist is because of the vocabulary and intelligence and also the metaphors in his songs is just the best in dancehall music!!!! He brings a different vybz to the music when i hear a song from him i would just be dancing because of the vybz and energy in his songs!!!
3. What is your favorite DH step? Who created it? Why do you like it? Can you describe it?
My favourite dh step is from my dance group (chillzone) It was created by Xqlusiv Dancers!!! I feel free and the flow of the music when doing it!!! It just makes my body flow with motion from the songs or songs!!!!
4. Which DH steps have you created?
I created chillzone, lack chat...
5. What inspires you as a dancer?
Well i just love dancing over all... Even if i don't have anything, i know i got a talent to dance and bring joy to people whenever they see me performing for them!!!!
6. Who is your favorite dancer other than yourself and why?
My Favourite dancehall would be Bogle aka Mr. Wacky!! Why? Because he is the creator of dancehall dancing and dance moves without him there wouldn't be a dancehall genre of dancing to inspire dancers worldwide!!!!!
7. What do you think about the international DH following?
If asking about the dancers or foreigners that do dancehall steps... I would say i appreciate the love they have for our culture and all but for jamaicans dancers who really want to make a career from dancing it's kind of difficult for us... Why because most international Dancers come here once just to learn and then they go back home to teach it... Not saying i don't appreciate the fact that they share our culture but when they do that it limits the opportunity of dancers getting the chance to travel and teach dh... But it's already the way it is so it just what it is.... I will always be dancing though no matter how hard it is to get the bigger opportunities...
8. Do you have any insights or advice for other/future dancers?
My advice for all dancers would be... No matter how hard and how tough it gets never stop dancing, one day all your hard work will be recognise and appreciated!!!
Right on Slim-Jay!! Never give up!!! Never settle!!! Always forward, never backwards!!!