Remembering Gerald 'Bogle' Levy
"Gerald "Bogle" Levy, a leading dancehall choreographer......"
The above snippet, taken from one of many headlines that circulated internationally one year ago, underscores the impact of the late Bogle, who will be remembered later today, on the anniversary of his death.
Dancehall choreographer Levy may not have had the benefit of formal instruction in dance movement, but when it comes to a textbook, well, it's certainly arguable that he wrote it, or at least demonstrated it.
Though not the first individual to accompany dancehall artistes, Bogle more than any single figure helped to move dance moves from the fringes to its present position at the forefront of the dancehall culture. He was a major influence on breakout artistes such as Elephant Man and Beenie Man, earning direct mentions in the songs they crafted around his innovative sequences and featuring heavily in the music videos.
From the Bogle to the Urkel (so named for the proto-nerd lead character Steve Urkel on the TV series Family Matters) to the World dance, Levy spun out countless other dancehall-defining moves on an almost daily basis from the Lincoln Road area that still serves as the base for his remaining dance confederates.
As fluid as he was in action, Bogle was as well recognised for his non-dance sayings and antics, which earned him the additional moniker of Mr Wacky. Among the most telling were his exclamations "Crime Scene!" and "Forensic Report!" which would prove eerily and tragically prophetic in the wee hours of January 20, 2005.
While at a service station in Half-Way-Tree, Bogle was shot by two men who rode up on a motorcycle and opened fire on the dancer's F-150, killing him and wounding the other occupants of the vehicle (one of whom subsequently died).
The funeral, at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston, was all but a self-contained dance (much to the chagrin of church offcials), complete with mourners in their up-to-the-minute dancehall garb, chrome-laden SUVs, luxury sedans and coupes(Bogle himself was known to sport a red bentley convertible), wild cheering, singing and, yes, dancing.
The mourners ran the gamut from entertainment and political luminaries to his own compatriots, like Ice, who along with Boysie, and Cullo-Cullo and others are holding up his legacy.
Ice, who grew up in the Jungle area, watching his idol perform, repeats a particularly trenchant -indeed "Bogle-ian" observation. "is like Mr Wacky say, everybody a dance but nuh everybody a dancer."
Source: Michael A Edwards, Observer