With extraordinary energy and moves that packed tonnes of explosive force, the long-running Charles Chocolates Dancin’ Dynamites wrapped the national leg of its fourteenth season last Sunday with resilient crowd pleasers Too Kool being crowned the 2019 national champions, copping the coveted first-place title and over $1.5M in cash and prizes.

‘Mad and Mean’ was the theme and promise for this season, and the dance crew comprising Shawn Corrodus, Damoya Grant and Michael Thompson thrilled the live audience and television viewers islandwide as they showcased their winning moves to the intersecting rhythms of the West African Afrobeat musical genre.

“It was a very complicated competition,” Damoya Grant, the group’s only female member, shared. “It was very stressful, but words can’t express our [happiness to] win, and we’re more than ready for next week when we take on the international dancers.”

Having earned bragging rights of emerging as national champions after a week of public voting leading up to part one the finale staging, the crew will advance to part two of the finale on Sunday, May 19 where they will face off against dancers from Colombia, Cuba, and St. Lucia at the Jamaica College auditorium.

Too Kool, New Era and Legend Squad, who each placed first, second and third respectively, performed prepared and impromptu routines with the latter guided by an exciting judges’ challenge, where the teams created routines on spot.

Roxanne Brown, Brand Manager for the annual show’s title sponsor Charles Chocolates, said this season’s winners were indeed apropos. “The winners are deserving. They have been consistent throughout this season, and we expected that they would come out on top, and they delivered,” she commented.

For Brown, the entire 14th season theme captivated viewers and show lovers by living up to expectations. “It was a challenging year because other dancers were good, but Too Kool stepped away from the rest and showed true determination, they are deserving winners. It was incredible because we went above and beyond to deliver exceptionally well. The dancers had challenges where they were either ‘mad’ or ‘mean’ with the cash prizes, and we’re just so grateful.”

Executive Producer, Jennifer ‘Jenny Jenny’ Small shared similar views, while outlining that the champions had a long and exigent path to their victory. She said, “Too Kool had entered so many times. Some of them, they’ve been entering since they were at Iona High School, and they’d say they’re not stopping until they win. So, for me, it’s beautiful. It shows resilience; it shows ‘stick-to-it-tivity’; it shows you can be a dynamite. Just never give up on a dream.”

In addition, Small shared that the show has, in many ways, taken on a more incumbent cultural role in providing an intervention in the lives of youths who may be predisposed to violence. “[The rewards] are going to young men who could have otherwise been gunmen – young men who could and have done bad things, and this, for me, is not television. It’s rehabilitation; saving lives.”

Charles Chocolates also used to the occasion to launch their 50-gram Rum and Raisin chocolate bar while treating mothers to roses as part of Mother’s Day celebrations on their blue carpet entrance.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange was in attendance, and recording artiste Kemar Highcon provided musical stylings for the evening.

Brown said, “Next season will be more challenging because, of course, this is how we grow, this is how we captivate our audience, and this is how and we remain relevant. We have to evolve. We must ensure that challenges are new and exciting for Jamaica to keep watching the number one dance show: The Charles Chocolates Dancin’ Dynamites competition.”

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