“rubber girl”, DHQ 2023: Dancehall is freedom of expression

“as a dancer, I can say that I danced before I was born“, holds Kaitlyn Sandoval (27), “rubber girl”, contest winner Dancehall Queen Chile 2023, a competition that took place last 15 July at the Jammin’ Bellavista Neighborhood Club.

Kaitlyn is a professional dancer, Graduated as a Dance Performer with a mention in Entertainment from the Modern School of Music and Dance, although since he can remember he remembers dancing. Nevertheless, consider that before the 10 years he started his career, when they enrolled her in the Valero dance academy.

At the age of nine, my career as a dancer began., because I took it more seriously. In fact, one day I asked why at that age and not before and my family told me that at nine is an age where the child already knows more or less what he wants to be., can be projected onto something, you can take it seriously and professionalize it and give it your all. Then they waited until I was really sure about dancing and as soon as they asked me I said yes.”, remember.

Dancehall in your life

His first approach to dancehall was in meetings that took place in Plaza Baquedano in the middle of the last decade., about 2013 O 2014, where the style caught your attention.

“The first Dancehall Queen I saw and was shocked by was Leona at events in Plaza Italia many years ago when battles were held and people went there to give their all. That girl was going with her dancehall queen flow and gave it her all”, commented.

After that he attended his first DHQ Chile contest. “A friend opened the event and invited us. It was wonderful, I have never seen so much euphoria in so many women, so much empowerment, I was very shocked. That's when I started watching more videos., to study it little by little, but as more for entertainment”.

“Now I love dancehall, I am super committed to this, but I'm still training other things to continue nourishing myself and also continue nourishing myself like Dancehall Queen”, emphasized.

The contest

A few years passed and Kaitlyn felt ready to participate in this year's contest and related that the preparation of her routine began with the musical mix she presented in her dance prepared by one of her DJ friends., Chain.

“When (el mix) I was ready, I fell in love with the song., that was essential, that made sense with what I wanted to show. With that I developed a concept which was to be a doll that looked very mechanized., very structured, and she suddenly becomes empowered and changes her clothes and ends up like an empowered Barbie”, manifested.

As an infidelity, he said that the day before the competition he did the first part of the choreography and rehearsed it many times without stopping., although with the music ready about two weeks before the competition, he had already been putting together the structure of his routine.  

And on Saturday morning, the same day of the contest, he finished his choreography and rehearsed it several times, leaving room to improvise, which is one of her strengths as a dancer. “What I wanted was to surprise”, assured.

“I feel that the show I presented was linked to my entire history as a dancer, everything I have learned, everything you have trained for many years, I dance from 9 and I have 27. I feel like it's something I've been developing for a long time., I felt overly prepared for this., mentally and physically”, held.

Dancehall make “make women feel more confident with themselves

The dancer also shares her vision of dancehall as a way in which women have been able to feel good about themselves, independent of the corporality of each person, something that in the world traditional dance is not so like that, where certain stereotypes still prevail.

“Although there are now more open minds, that they don't question you so much, With dancehall any body can dance and the bigger it is, better (…) I feel like it also made women feel more confident in themselves., to be able to feel that freedom that I have talked about all the time and for me that is dancehall, a freedom of expression, a way to free my body, free myself from certain social tensions”, Kaitlyn expressed.

“We are a country that suffered a very big blow - the Coup d'état of 1973-, we are children of that, We are grandchildren of that and I think that dance in general is a great revolution. This is personal, Everyone lives it how they want and it is rich when it can be shared.”, emphasized.

He is currently part of the dance group Almeyda of the Riddim, makes custom classes, heals classes - dancing in heels- and dancehall classes, for what he dedicates himself 100 percent to dance.

He also takes street jazz classes. “because it is another world of dance” and also ballroom classes, style in which he has competed and has won three national titles with the Ikigai group led by Haruko Tsukame.

How did you see the other contestants of this version of the DHQ?

—I feel that the girls are nourished and study a lot. Sassy, for example, She studies dance and has also taken many classes with the other girls.. Collie, on your side, despite being from the region, It also feeds a lot, she is super acrobatic. A Spicy I didn't know her that much, but I still saw that it had a super good level and I loved it, I feel like there was a lot of creativity in all the shows., that was like the beautiful thing. With the Princesses it happened to me that maybe there wasn't as much acrobatics or agility as the other Queen girls, but their presentations were very dynamic, so it made her very entertaining to watch. Cammy G-yal, the winner, I was very captivated because I felt that she showed everything she knew and exploited it.

What goals have you set for yourself??

—I want to continue massifying what I am doing, my classes, I want to project myself to new opportunities in dance, not only as a teacher but also as a performer. I want to take advantage of the dance that I have now because even though I have a lot of energy, I know that in five more years I will not be able to move in the same way., because I do very strong things physically, So I've already had injuries and that's something that's talked about a lot too., so my advice to the queens’ take care of themselves. I have not been injured by dancehall, I have been injured by dancing, I have only danced in my life. I eat dance, I sleep dance. I had my first sprain at 15 years later it became chronic, that is, as, What if I don't take care of myself?.

How did your nickname come about? “rubber girl”?

—A very close friend, my best friend, the Sebi, I think he uploaded a story or a post and put like: “I love you very much, my rubber girl” me too “Yeah, rubber girl, I like Rubber Girl” for my flexibility. Like it made a lot of sense..

What did you think of Girl Polet's participation?, with his third place at the DHQ in Jamaica, and also Lil Pink?

—A lot of admiration, I hope I can step on that stage just like them., representing my dance representing the dancers. I felt there was a lot of passion, a lot of work, a lot of rigor, above all discipline, super important in all areas, take care, work the body, not only dance training, but also strengthen the body, feed Good.And I value, your present, I feel like they are giving everything. I love how empowered they look and I feel like it was a beautiful experience for them. I mean, what I can observe from the outside and I also hope to have that opportunity and for that I am trying to be in this world of dancehall in general.

A closing message…

—I mean that sometimes what you do looks easy., but that is just commitment and perseverance of each one, how far I want to push my body and push the limits too, mental limits above all. Get rid of those prejudices. I think beyond dancehall in general, which also allows you that freedom, We also have to allow ourselves as people to enjoy those new things that we want.. Don't limit yourself to fulfilling your dreams, goals, because the limit is something that developed socially in the history we have as a country, We are a country repressed for a long time and it is time to start freeing ourselves.