<b>1. Can you tell us about your background, who is Donnaray?</b> <br></br> I am a dance choreographer, development coach, artistic director, marketing director, born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a true Montegonian, yes, proud Jamaican. Growing up in the heart of Jamaican culture was all about foundation and roots and that is what has grounded me. As a child, I was spiritually nurtured and that has definitely shaped the "business woman" I am today. I was brought up in challenging situations. Nevertheless, time has taught me strength and how to survive the obstacles of life. After migrating to United States, I studied at the City University of NY, and earned a degree in Nutrition. I also studied Marketing at the Arts Institute of ATL. Living in the melting pot of New York City has enhanced my cultural diversity and life experiences. This diverse background has elevated me to where I am today; to truly embrace and foster my cultural roots. I consider myself a Jamaican cultural ambassador. It is my duty and passion to share Jamaica’s culture and dance with communities all over the world. <br></br> <b>2. You are the founder of Rockerz Jamaica, and (DUN) Dancehall United Nations, please tell us about these organizations and what they represent?</b> <br></br> First let me "big up" the other talented DUN partners; Jahliveyah Allen, Franz Wiggan, Stephanie Gyles Elliott, Latesha Brown, Fabian Allen, Jason Leng. Rockerz, Adam French and Dane Plummer, all are important to the to the mission. Jamaica & Dancehall United Nations (DUN) under the theme of ”Bringing Out Greatness” are two cultural empowering organizations. Both designed and established to share with many countries the roots and expressions of authentic Jamaican culture, music and dance. <br></br> Let me share a few points about what is special about the "Dancehall United Nations." Our mandate is to unify dancehall enthusiast in countries that value our Jamaican art and culture. My mission is about preserving Jamaica’s culture and roots for the future generation and to represent an official cultural product of Jamaica. I am focused on cultivating major cultural exchange between Jamaica and world; simultaneously building a world class competitive dance platform. We are sharing, educating and building opportunities for our global audiences. We have also developed and organized numerous platforms for dance, such as the "Dancehall world Cup Championship Battle" (DUN DEM) Dancehall Battles and Championships, Jamaica Dance Band. Dancehall products, and Culture of Jamaica. I am very proud of Rockerz Jamaica: “The Dancehall Art Foundation” this is a foundation created to foster professionalism and strengthen the performing arts, while nurturing talents to reach their dreams of becoming world class performers. Rockerz Jamaica was formed to strengthen the vitality of the performing arts while branding Jamaica as the home of Dancehall/Reggae dance. <br></br> <b>3. When did your love affair with urban dance expression begin?</b> <br></br> My love affair with urban dance started early, dance was already in my DNA. However, understanding the fundamentals of the art comes after throwing all energies into the art from for many years. I have directed and choreographed for major productions and created platforms that have allowed me to envision my true potential. I am still evolving and have not yet given the opportunity to manifest my full creative potentials. Nevertheless, dance and choreography flows through my veins and that flow continues to “bring out greatness”. <br></br> <b>4. So, tell us about your big break as a dance choreographer and artistic director?</b> <br></br> As far as a break I have not seen it yet. Opportunities come yes, big ones oh yes yes…Paving ways for others yes. I have set the standards high and my expectations are far higher than breaks. Production and theater means the world to me so regardless of all my accomplishments that big break is yet to come. <br></br> <b>5. You're busy as an organizer of international dance competitions, tell us about “The Dancehall World Cup Championships (“DUN DEM”)?</b> <br></br> The Dancehall World Cup Championship Battle (DUN DEM) is an official Dancehall PRO Championship competition. Dancers across the globe vie for a chance to represent their country at the World Finals. It is a fantastic opportunity for top International dance crews to have a chance to compete on "The Dancehall World Cup Championship Battle”. We also organize the Jamaica International Dance Fest (JIDF); this is a concert and 3-4 day conference featuring international performances, workshops, dance championships and battles. We are raising the bar for Dancehall dance education, providing educators with the proper tools to elevate their teaching methods. JIDF is setting professional standards for dancers to be acknowledged as professionals and contributors to art form. We are providing the necessary tools for dancers to take their career and Jamaica's dance culture to its next level. <br></br> <b>6. Where have you held the qualifying rounds in the competition so far?</b> <br></br> We had the qualifying rounds in Sweden and Germany. However, we are still seeking sponsorship to continue the qualifying rounds in other parts of Europe, United States and Jamaica. <br></br> <b>7. Donnaray you are a passionate ambassador of Dancehall culture, what has been the impact of your work on dancehall culture internationally?</b> <br></br> I would definitely say taking our authentic culture to a global mainstream audience, and providing professional platforms of solidarity. Preserving the roots and paving the way for many dancers on all levels. <br></br> <b>8. As a successful certified dancer/choreographer, how can you help encourage awareness for the safety of young female amateur dancers. We see many YouTube videos of what seems like physical abuse faced by some dancers?</b> <br></br> First of all, our art form is no where near abusive. We don't acknowledged any of that to be dancing of any form. They just use the dancehall space to act out this type of behaviors. It's actually a slap in the face of what our roots, and founding elements were built on. As for these new age dancers, both women and men, they need to be more creative and operate with more dignity and discipline. As far as being abused these are young adults that are conducting themselves in a rebellious manner and they choose the dancehall space to act out. I can only encourage them to be responsible adults. The Dancehall is a place for expressions not only through dancing but also lyrical. Hopefully through our successes, those involved in negative actions can be inspired to take pride in art form. <br></br> <b>9. Mr Wacky AKA Bogle is one of the godfathers of urban dance culture in Jamaica, was he a mentor and inspiration for you?</b> <br></br> Absolutely, he was both mentor and inspiration, and still to this very day, even though he is not here with us in the physical. His way of dance expressions were magical; his techniques and styles are what we embrace as dancers today, fusing our African roots with contemporary urban dance movements. Bogle's movements are all about roots and he embraced an institution of traditions full of truth, which is what all my organizations are built on. He is an exact blueprint for what our expressions ought to be. I wish all these who do not embrace the roots of our dance culture can come to their senses and draw from his great legacy and keep our culture/roots alive. <br></br> <b>10. You are originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, what makes this city special?</b> <br></br> Montego Bay is the tourist capital of Jamaica and represent the beauty of what Jamaica is all about. Land, wood and beautiful water, and of course the amazing people. The city of Montego Bay is a special city full of serenity. I would encourage more of the world to go and experience the magic of the place. <br></br> <b>11. You have travelled extensively to help implement dance projects and programs, how has the response been in the countries you have visited?</b> <br></br> Yeah, definitely great response, worldwide we have been embrace and loved. Most of the compliments and support have come from international media organizations, corporate companies and, also Jamaican entities. However, there is a also negative side as well. Unfortunately, I emphasize "some" European dancers and dance productions companies are fighting against us defending our birthright and what we created to benefit our own Jamaica. These are the same persons who continuously exploit cultures, fighting for turf, who are now changing what our authentic dance form and culture was built on. It is the reason we emphasized Dancehall United Nations. We are here to bring unity among dancers everywhere to compete on a dancehall world stage. I have to give love and respect to those in Europe who rally and support our Dancehall world Cup Championship Battle. <br></br> <b>12. You have worked with major international stars like Nicki Minaj, tell us about your experience working with her, and what other well known artists you have collaborated with?</b> <br></br> Yes, I had the honor of working with Nicki Minaj and many A list Artist like Mavado, Shaggy, Joe, Kelis Elephant Man, Bennie Man, and Sean Paul just to name a few. Working with Nikki and Mavado on the hit video "Give it all to me" was a fantastic opportunity to choreograph a mixture of Caribbean, Pop and Dancehall dance movements. Mavado is a humble dancehall artist who is very giving and passionate. He's also a "culture god" and what I love about him is that he gave opportunities for us to freely express our creativity. <br></br> <b>13. VOGUE, GQ and other major magazines are now paying attention to Jamaican style, music and culture, give us your opinion of this new trend?</b> <br></br> I think this is great for our culture. Recent features like the "Reggae Revival: Inside the New Music movement" (Vogue) and Bob Marley’s Family Reunites come to mind (GQ). This interest means that what we have created in Jamaica has greatly influenced the American Pop culture and entertainment scene in big way. <br></br> <b>14. Do you see yourself gravitating more towards fashion design than performing arts in the future?</b> <br></br> There’re no limits to my future. I ask my creator to direct me in many fulfilling endeavors; performing arts, fashion and more. <br></br> <b>15. What more can the Jamaican Ministry of Culture or the private sectors do to support the creative industry in Jamaica?</b> <br></br> Certainly, the Jamaica's Ministry of Culture and the private sectors can do more to create infrastructures to support the arts, providing strong resources for organizations such as Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and “The “Dancehall Art Foundation” “Rockerz Jamaica." For example, the enhancement and development of dance facilities for the numerous communities across the island. <br></br> <b>16. How would you like to make a difference in the world?</b> <br></br> All my passions are to give back, and to empower our youths to “bring out greatness” and create a richness of wealth for many generations to come. <br></br> <b>17. Have you got a list of countries you'd like to visit?</b> <br></br> It's an ever-expanding list, however, to put it in perspective, so many countries in Africa; Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana. The wold is a big place and I love traveling. What is your proudest achievement? I am proud of all my achievements no matter how big or small they seem. However, as I look forward my proudest achievement is yet to come. <br></br> <b>18. As an urban dancer and choreographer in New York City have you experienced the works of traditional contemporary dance movements like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (New York)?</b> <br></br> Absolutely, The Alvin Ailey Dance theatre is a huge influence on my creativity, vision and direction. I am always a lover of Alvin Ailey's works and organization. That is the level of modern dance excellence I am aiming to accomplish. <br></br> <b>19. Tell us what you are up to at the moment, any new collaborations?</b> <br></br> My partners and I are now developing and structuring platforms to support our culture, talents and youths. Collaborating with those of excellence to bring forth greater opportunities for Jamaica and for the amazing talents out there. <br></br> <b>20. What are your goals/dreams for the future?</b> <br></br> My goal is to fulfill my purpose here on earth. My dream is to help great talents to become world class performers. <br></br> <b>21. What's on your playlist these days, and who are your favorite reggae/dancehall artists?</b> <br></br> I love foundation music and artistry of excellent reggae/dancehall. My list is a mix between 80s,90s classics and contemporary reggae artist such as Chronixx, The Marley's, Jesse Royal, Busy Signal, Bounty, Kartel, Bugel, Nesbeth, Christopher Martin, Spice, Mr Vegas and I-Octane. <br></br> <b>22. What else would you like people to know about you?</b> <br></br> I am a driven woman and I am exactly what the Rock stands for in the great book: "The Bible."