This month our chosen teacher to feature is Pareesha!

Pareesha Valentina

Classes Pareesha teaches:

What’s your dance background?

I am a Professional Dancer and Teacher who specialises in a variety of cultural dance styles like Dancehall and African Dance. Since the age of 5 I remember dancing with my sister and cousins in my mums living room to the latest Spice Girls song, and joined my first gymnastics team when I lived in East London. As I grew my passion for dance grew stronger and I joined RJC Dance Company in Leeds at the age of 12 where I learnt breadth of knowledge and skills in Street Dance, Reggae, Calypso and more. I had the opportunity to travel across the UK and Europe with the company, dancing in Sweden, the Olympic Torch Relay, Breeze Festival and our annual carnival celebrations.

To expand my dance experience I joined Phoenix Dance youth academy at 17 as I had an interest in Contemporary dance and wanted to explore where it could take me. That experience taught me so much about me as a dancer, the way my body moved and as a person. But the experience didn’t end there – At university I began to explore and find where I fit into the dance world and it was then that I found my love for Dancehall. Dancehall is a Caribbean dance style that comes from the streets of Jamaica. It’s very groovy versatile style that incorporates the movement with the feeling of the atmosphere around, vibing to the music and feeling free in the expression of movement. It was during my time at Manchester Met University that I started my Dancehall journey, teaching a section in my dance squad competition choreography, contributing towards us taking home 1st and 2ndplace in the intermediate category at Manchester University dance competition and Go Hard or Go Home in 2015 and 2016.

After finishing university, I continued to train myself in dancehall by watching youtube and Instagram videos from dancehall steps creators like Black Eagles, Overload Skankaz and Xqlusiv Dancers, as there were no classes in or around Leeds. Due to this I decide to share what I was learning with others and bring the world of dancehall to life in Leeds, starting with my own class at Koby Studios. Every Thursday I turned the studio into a party, #Tunupthursdays, and people came from around Leeds came to learn different dancehall moves and embrace the culture. Now I have become the Dancehall teacher of Leeds and maybe the North, teaching at other dance studios like Studio 59, Dance Fusion Studio, and my main home Dance Studio Leeds. I hope to keep spreading the dancehall spirit, knowledge and vibes. In addition to Dancehall, I have also trained in Urban Dance, House, Street Dance and AfroFusion with King Kompany and Jemma Mae Dance, which gave me the confidence to enter Standout UK competition in 2018 where I placed 4th in the Intermediate category. I also got scouted to become a resident teacher on Leeds City Colleges University Dance course teaching Popular culture dance.

With all my knowledge and skills, at the beginning of 2019 I started my own dance company called Vybz Dance, where I train and share experiences with my students, and run projects to support the growth of within my community. I am still at the beginning of my journey, and the beginning is already phenomenal, so I can’t wait to keep growing, inspiring, learning and sharing with everyone around me, whether that is in Dancehall, Soca, Afro, Street or more!

What’s your favourite style?

My favourite style of dance is Dancehall and Afrobeats, and not only because I teach the styles, but because the vibes, feel and expression you get when your dancing to the music and watching other people dance is so uplifting and enjoyable. These uplifting styles allow you to freely express how you are feeling and bring out your personality, whether that’s being cute and flirtatious or groovy or as extra as you want to be – there is no limit!

If you weren’t a dancer what would you be?

I also do other things in addition to dance, like I’m a carnival costume artist and a full time accountant, but if I had to choose I would have loved to be an actress, especially on Hollyoaks, which is my favourite show. It would be so cool to be a part of something that is going to be watch for generations, where I can travel and meet amazing people and be in movies like Fast and Furious and Girls Trip! Oh and hopefully meet Vin Diesel and Michael B Jordan!

Where can we find out more about your classes?