Monday, December 29, 2008

Havana Estudio Celebrates 10th Anniversary In Style

Havana Estudio recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a birthday bash on December 13 2008 at Indochine Bar Savanh in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Those present at the party, themed "Come As Your Favourite Star/Celebrity" included guests, students of Havana Estudio and dance instructors Sharie Dekorte, Sam Sopiee (Salsa Sam), Aisha Mansoor, Stephan Finzer, Kaye Maxey (Kayla), Nancy Bakhshy, Fellast Yan, Toh Kong Eu and Pang Shueh Miin.

The instructors took turns to showcase their dancing skills to those present at the event. Salsa Sam and Aisha performed the salsa, bachata and also paid a tribute to the late P Ramlee and Saloma while doing the twist. Stephan and Sharie put up a scintillating Argentine tango routine while Kong Eu and Shueh Miin captivated the audience with their rhythm tap dance. Flamenco artiste Kayla, belly dancer Nancy and hip hopper Fellast had the crowd in rapt attention with their dazzling dance moves.

A Malay joget dance was also performed by Sharie, Sam, Aisha, Stephan, Kayla, Nancy and the choreographer of the dance, Puzi. Their performance drew loud applause and calls for an encore from the audience. Sharie said that the idea for the joget came from their Argentine tango instructor Stephan, and all the instructors were game for it. Students of Havana Estudio also entertained the guests with some slick salsa and rueda dance routines.

Established in 1998 by Sharie Dekorte, Havana Estudio was the first salsa and street Latin dance school in Malaysia. Besides salsa, Havana Estudio also conducts classes in Argentine tango, rhythm tap, belly dancing, flamenco, hip hop, capoeira and yoga. It has 2 studios in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur - one at 34B Persiaran Zaaba and the other at 56A Jalan Datuk Sulaiman. For more information, contact Sharie at 012-2952890 or check out her website at

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dance, Be Merry And Have A Happy New Year 2009

Today, Christians all over the world will be celebrating Christmas. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Christians especially those visiting my blog "A Merry Christmas". I remembered those days many years ago when I was learning ballroom dancing. During the month of December, my dance teacher would add to the festive cheer by teaching the dances to the accompaniment of Christmas songs and carols. We would often waltz to "Silent Night", do the quickstep to "Jingle Bells" and dance the foxtrot to "White Christmas". It was kind of fun and enjoyable and I in fact always looked forward to the Yuletide season every year so that I could do ballroom dances to Christmas tunes.

Next week, denizens of the world will be ushering in the New Year 2009, the "Year Of The Ox." I guess many of us will be glad to bid farewell to 2008. What a year it was. It really was an annus horriblis (Latin for horrible year)! Let us all pray that the global financial crisis will soon be over and we will all be able to lead normal lives again. It is often said that life goes round in cycles with the good times interspersed with the bad. Someone once said that the good times, or a period of joie de vivre comes every 20 or 30 years. We had the "Roaring 30s", the "Swinging 60s" and the "Discoing 80s". Hopefully the good times or the halcyon days (together with a new fad or dance craze) will roll in again during the 2010s. It's long overdue.

Malaysians, like many of their counterparts around the world will be coming out in droves to welcome the New Year, recession or no recession. The mood may be somewhat subdued and many may tighten their belts, but it's party time nonetheless. In Kuala Lumpur, the places to join the festivities, watch the concerts and fireworks display would include the Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), Bukit Bintang and KLCC. Over in George Town on the island of Penang, the action will be at the Esplanade and Gurney Drive. Down south in Johor Baru, the crowd will be converging at Danga Bay for a night of fun and merriment.

Many hotels, restaurants and nitespots will be having New Year parties. Merry makers will be making a beeline for Jalan P Ramlee in KL to chill out and party the nite away at the many clubs and restaurants there. Some dance schools and associations will also be organizing New Year bashes. The place to celebrate New Year in KL would undoubtedly be at the Royal Selangor Club. Their "New Year's Eve Ball" is an annual event which has been held for more than a century! At the stroke of midnite, the revellers at the club will link hands and sing "Auld Lang Syne" to welcome in the New Year while watching the fireworks display at Dataran Merdeka. Have a "Happy And Prosperous New Year 2009!"

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Monday, December 22, 2008

Benji Schwimmer Wins "So You Think You Can Dance Season 2" Competition

The second season of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) premiered in the United States on May 12 2006 with a new host Cat Deely replacing Lauren Sanchez of Season 1. Auditions for season 2 were held in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Charleston. One hundred and sixteen contestants were selected for a week of training at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. The group were shortlisted down to 41 from which 20 were chosen for the Top 20. The Top 20 were:-

Guys - Benji Schwimmer, Travis Wall, Ivan Koumaev, Ryan Rankine, Dmitry Chaplin, Musa Cooper, Jaymz Tuaileva, Ben Susak, Jason Williams, Stanislav Savich

Girls - Donyelle Jones, Heidi Groskreutz, Natalie Fotopoulos, Allison Holker, Martha Nicols, Ashlee Nino, Jessica Fernandez, Aleksandra Wojda, Joy Spears, Erin Ellis

A very good and varied style of dances were performed in So You Think You Can Dance USA Season 2. All the Ballroom and Latin American dances were showcased. American Swing dances: the Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing were introduced this season. The other genres of dance performed included Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Broadway, Salsa and Disco. All in all, it was a fantastic mix of the various styles of dance and the dancers were entertaining and a delight to watch.

After a series of elimination rounds, the Top 4 were chosen for the Grand Finals which was aired on August 16 2006. The Top 4 were Benji Schwimmer, Travis Wall, Donyelle Jones and Heidi Groskreutz. The eventual winner of SYTYCD USA Season 2 was Benji Schwimmer who received a cash prize of US$100,000, a new hybrid SUV and a one year contract with Celine Dion's Las Vegas Show "A New Day..." Benji once worked as a missionary in Mexico and was a former US Swing dance champion. He and his cousin Heidi Groskreutz were the winners in the Showcase Division of the 2005 US Swing Dance Open Championships.

Related Post

Friday, December 19, 2008

Learn To Swing At KL Swing!

KL Swing! will be organizing a Swing dance workshop and social dancing session for Swing dancing enthusiasts. The details are as follows:-

Shall We Dance Studio
12A-2, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur
(between Starbucks and Affin Bank)

December 23 2009, Tuesday

7.00 pm to 8.30 pm - Beginners
8.30 pm to 10.00 pm - Intermediate (knowledge of swing-out is required)
10.00 pm to 12.00 midnight - Social dancing

1.5 hours class - RM30 includes social dancing entry
Social dance only - RM10

Only dance shoes or sneakers at the studio please

At the studio. Just turn up dressed comfortably with your shoes

Social dancing (Aliyaa In The Swing Time) will also be held every Tuesdays at Aliyaa Restaurant at 8 Lorong Dungun, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur from 9.00 pm to 11.00 pm. There will be a 30-minutes taster class for absolute beginners starting at 9.00 pm. The class is free of charge but those attending are requested to support the restaurant with food and drink orders. For more information on the Swing dance workshop and social events, please contact Ming Pang at 6012-6964568, or log on to Happy swinging!

Related Posts

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lacklustre Performances In Strictly Come Dancing China Season 2

After the success of Strictly Come Dancing (SCD) China Season 1 last year, China Hunan TV and Hong Kong's Television Broadcast Ltd (TVB) once again entered into another callaboration to produce Season 2 of the series this year. Strictly Come Dancing China Season 2 paired 20 celebrities (10 guys and 10 girls) with 20 professional dancers in various ballroom, Latin and other genres of dance routines that were adjudicated by a panel of judges and by public votes. Season 2 ran from April 17 to June 18 2008 and was telecast live in China. In an effort to boost its ratings, China enlisted the participation of 1995 World Figure Skating Champion, Chen Lu and 4 entertainment artists from Thailand, South Korea and France. The celebrities from Hong Kong were mainly artistes from TVB. The list of celebrities were:-

China Hunan TV Contestants

Yu Hao Ming

Zhang Jun Ning

Gao Zi Qi

Sira Rattanaphokastit (Thailand)

Lee Seung Hyun (South Korea)

Chen Lu

Niu Meng Meng

Yang Ruo Xi

Anusara Wantongtak (Thailand)

Laetitia Zeppellini (France)

Hong Kong TVB Contestants

Derek Kwok

Timmy Hung

Kevin Cheng

Kenneth Ma

Eddie Kwan

Grace Wong

Nancy Wu

Myolie Wu

Angela Tong

Christine Ng

SCD China Season 2 is currently being shown every Saturday at 9.30 pm over Astro Wa TV Channel 315. During round 1 of the show which was aired on December 13, all the 10 male contestants had to perform a dance each with a professional dancer. The dances that were performed included the cha cha cha, jive, paso doble, waltz, tango, hip hop and jazz. Almost all the male dancers appeared stiff and wooden. They were unable to bring out the character of the dances and many were also out of timing. Several of them did more walking and posing than dancing. Overall their performances were lacklustre and painful to watch. The eventual winners of SCD China Season 2 were Chinese singer Yu Hao Ming partnering Grace Wong (Miss Hong Kong 2007, 1st runner up).

Related Post

> Strictly Come Dancing China Season 1 Premieres On Astro

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jive And American Swing Dances - The Similarities And Differences

The term "Swing dance" is a generic term that covers over a dozen different types of partner dances. The US Swing Dance Council defines Swing dance as follows:- "Swing dance is an American Rhythm dance that consists of 6 and 8 beat rhythms that cover either a circular or slotted area on the dance floor. The dance incorporates underarm turns, side passes, pushes and whips, plus other variations, syncopations and extensions. All styles incorporate the same identifiable moves. If you can define the dance as something other than Swing, it is not Swing". Some of the more popular and well known Swing dances are the Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Balboa and the Carolina Shag.

A meetup group called KL Swing was recently set up by a group of Swing dance enthusiasts to promote Swing dancing in Malaysia. For the past couple of months, KL Swing has invited Sinclair Ang, a renowned Swing dance instructor from JAZZ INC, Singapore to conduct classes and workshops in Kuala Lumpur. As I was keen to know what the similarities and differences between Jive and American Swing dances were, I emailed Sinclair for his views. This was his reply:- "One could say that Lindy Hop/Swing was the original form of Jive, historically speaking, and it is danced mainly to 8 counts. Six-count Swing or East Coast Swing, done to triple steps are a part of a lindy hopper's repertoire of moves but it is always tied-in with the 8 count or Charleston. Six-count Swing is closely related to Jive but the main difference comes in the feel in which they are executed."

Sinclair further elaborated - "I am not an expert on Jive or Rock n' Roll but the general feel of Jive is upwards and bouncy. The bounce or pulse in Swing (even 6 count) is downwards, keeping in closer tradition to its African American roots. And because the swing era music that inspired the Lindy Hop dancers came earlier (1920s to 1940s), compared to the Jive (1940s onwards), the emphasis of the music, and thus the dance, is on the even (off) beats rather than on the odd (on) beats, thereby creating the swing feel. While there is ballroom swing, the original form of Swing/Lindy Hop remains a street dance and ballroom swing would probably have more in common with Jive than the original street version."

JAZZ INC is a collective of dancers led by Sinclair Ang to promote Jazz dancing, from vernacular Jazz to Charleston and Lindy Hop through classes and performances. Sinclair has been a leading figure in the Lindy Hop and Swing dance community in Singapore since 2001. He is known internationally as well, having taught at several workshops and camps across Europe, Australia and Asia over the years. Sinclair has trained and choreographed for several performance groups and has performed for the stage, both locally and abroad. He is currently focused on helping the fledgling Swing dance scenes in Asia grow. To know more about Sinclair Ang and his dance classes, please check out his websites at or

Related Posts

> Can't Stop The Lindy Hop - A tribute To Lindy Hop Legend Frankie Manning

> Swing, American Smooth And American Rhythm Dances

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jazz It Up At Jazzercise Team Dance Challenge 2009

Jazzercise, Remix and Youth Malaysia will jointly be organizing the Jazzercise Team Dance Challenge 2009. Further information are as follows:-

Date: January 9 - 11, 2009

Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur

Prizes: 1st - RM3000, 2nd - RM2000, 3rd - RM1000, 5 consolation prizes of RM500 each

Registration Fee: RM100 per team

The salient Rules and Regulations (please refer to the organizers for the full Rules and Regulations) are:-

1) Each team must have a minimum of 5 and up to a maximum of 20 participants.

2) Participants must be between 15 - 30 years old.

3) Performances must be a minimum of 3 minutes and not longer than 5 minutes.

4) Each choreography must feature at least 6 movements as shown in the website
- 2 Basic Aerobic Moves
- 1 Power Legs Move
- 3 Fancy Footwork or Side-To-Side Movements (3 of each category or a mix of both)
(Check out their website to learn the moves)

Basic Aerobics Movements
Jazz Stretch
Attitude Lift
Diagonal Toe Touches
Heel Hop
Knee Lift
Pendulum Lift
Hip Rock

Power Legs
Rock Lunge

Fancy Footwork
Jazz Square
Kick Ball Change
Turned-Out Triplet

Side-To-Side Movements
Half Step Grapevine

5) If props are used, only those that are hand held or worn are allowed (eg. canes, fans, hats & boas).

This event is held in conjunction with the Youth '09 Festival which will be held on January 9 - 11, 2009 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur. For enquiries, please contact the crew at 03-80233352. For more information and online registration, please log on to

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dancers From China Shine At 15th Penang Open International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2008

The 15th Penang Open International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2008 which was held on November 22 at the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) was a resounding success. Organized by the Malaysian Dancers Association (MDA) together with PenEvent, the competition saw some 600 dancers from 22 countries compete in Ballroom Standard & Latin, Salsa and Belly Dancing. Guests were feted to a sumptuous dinner and entertained to a stunning display of dance artistry by the various competitors. This competition is one of the most looked-forward to events in the Malaysian dancing calendar.

The Ballroom Standard Professional Open title was won by the English pair of Warren Boyce, 27 & his wife Kristi, 25. Hailing from Bournemouth, in the south coast of England, this couple are also regular competitors in the Blackpool Dance Festival and have risen very quickly up the world rankings. The other major title, the Ballroom Latin Professional Open was taken by Lu Ning and Zhang Ding Fang from China. Both Lu, 24 and Zhang, 22 are dance instructors at Guangzhou Sports University in Guangdong, China. Second place went to China's Zhao Liang & Gao Xue. Russian couple, Glad & Elena Svanchenko came in third.

China showed her prowess in ballroom dancing by taking two other major titles. The Ballroom Professional Standard Asia Closed was won by Zhang Hao & Song Xiao Rong while the Ballroom Professional Latin Asia Closed was lifted by Zhao Liang & Gao Xue. Dancers from Malaysia also put up a commendable performance. Siblings Louis Haw, 11 and Katryn, 12 from Sabah were victorious in the Juvenile Under-12 Standard and Under-12 Latin Medley categories. Louis & Katryn also came in second in the Junior Under-16 Latin Medley. Both showed great talent and have taken part in many dance competitions in Malaysia before.

We are seeing the emergence of dancing as a hugely popular pastime and sports in China. Visitors to China are often amazed to see multitudes of people practicing Chinese folk or ballroom dancing in the parks and open spaces. Chinese ballroom dancers are now considered the best in Asia and they have brought a breath of fresh air to this art. Every year, they participate in many dance competitions around the world including the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival in England. Hopefully we may get to see the Chinese win the Blackpool Ballroom Professional Standard and Professional Latin titles in the not too distant future.

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Monday, December 8, 2008

Brooke Burke Wins "Dancing With the Stars" Trophy

Brooke Burke, television host and model waltzed away with the mirror ball trophy in the Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) Season 7 finale on November 25. Dancing a Viennese Waltz with her partner Derek Hough to the song Daughters by Joe Mayers, she impressed the judges and television viewers, and scored 88 out of a maximum 90 points. Coming in second was former National Football League player Warren Sapp who did the Hustle with Kim Johnston to the catchy tune of Funky Town. At third place was former 'N Sync singer, Lance Bass swinging the Jitterbug with Lacey Schwimmer to the song Jim Dandy.

Dancing With The Stars is based on the format of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hit television show Strictly Come Dancing in which celebrities are partnered with professional dancers in various ballroom and Latin American dance routines that are judged by an expert panel and by public votes. Season 7 of Dancing With The Stars premiered on ABC TV on September 22 2008 and was one of the most popular television shows in the United States. During season 7, Salsa, West Coast Swing, Jitterbug and Hustle were included for the first time in the show.

The 13 celebrities who took part in Season 7 included singer Toni Braxton, actress Cloris Leachman and Olympic sprinter Maurice Greene. Among the professional dancers were world renowned Latin American dancer Karina Smirnoff (the former partner of Slavik Kryklyvvy), Corky Ballas, the US Profession Latin Champion 1984-1991 & World Professional Latin Champion 1995-1996, and his 22 year old son, Mark Ballas. Mark who danced and grew up in England became the British Junior Ballroom and Latin American dance champion at the age of 10.

The day after being crowned Dancing With The Stars Champion, Brooke Burke's past as a Playboy model was a hot topic on the internet. Burke had been featured on the cover of Playboy twice, first on the May 2001 edition and most recently on the November 2004 issue. No sooner had the champagne bottles been popped that there is already buzz about the next season of the show. Season 8 of Dancing With The Stars is scheduled to premiere on Monday, March 9 2009 at 8.00 pm ET. The celebrities who will be taking part include gymnast and Olympic gold medallist Shawn Johnson, singers Jewel and Belinda Carlisle.

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Friday, December 5, 2008

5th Malaysian International Dance Championship 2009 To Be Held At Arena Of Stars, Genting Highlands

A&C Dynamic Dance Studio of Kuala Lumpur will be organizing the 5th Malaysian International Dance Championship 2009. Further information are as follows:-

Date: February 27 & 28, 2009 (Friday & Saturday)

Venue: Arena Of Stars, Genting Highlands

Events: Ballroom - Standard & Latin, Hip Hop, Line Dancing, Belly Dancing

Closing date for entries: January 15 2009

Participation: Open to the world

The organizers are expecting more than 1000 competitors from 28 countries to compete in 36 events. The first day of the competition will focus on ballroom standard and Latin dances while on the second day, the attention will be on the other dances like hip hop, line dancing and belly dancing. The highlight of the first day of competition will be the Professional Standard Open and the Professional Latin Open where the top 12 couples will compete in each category. This championship will offer cash prizes for these two categories and is part of the Asian Open Dance Tour 2009.

For the second day of competition, the Inter School Team Match Competition will be the main event. This event will see teams from different dance schools competing amongst themselves. Each team will have to perform a three and a half minute dance routine consisting of a single ballroom dance or a medley of ballroom dances. There is no age limit to this category and each school can send in a maximum of two teams to compete. Judging will be based on choreography, synchronization and expression. This is the first time such an event is being introduced in this competition.

The principals of A&C Dynamic Dance Studio are Alex Lim and his wife and dancing partner, Carmen Chuang. A&C Dynamic Dance Studio presently has 2 dance studios - one in Jalan Pantai Baru, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur and the other at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort in Petaling Jaya. For more information regarding the competition, call 6012-7008016 or 6012-7028016, email or visit Tickets for the competition can be obtained from Axcess Tickets at or 603-77115000.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pole Dance With Maple Loo

Pole dance seems to be making inroads and getting popular in Malaysia. During the middle of this year, Clorets organized the inaugural Malaysia Amateur Pole Dancing Competition 2008, in which contestants had to submit videos online of them pole dancing. 15 finalists (13 girls and 2 guys) out of 75 contestants were chosen for the grand final which was held at Zouk Club in Kuala Lumpur on September 5. The finalists combined pole dance with various styles of dance ranging from ballroom to Latin American, ballet, broadway and hip hop, to a wildly enthusiastic crowd. The winner of the competition was dance instructor Lilli Ussaraporn Kosin who impressed the judges with her beautiful dance routine and graceful style.

As pole dance is a total body workout involving dance steps and aerobics, the health benefits are immense. The benefits include upper body strength, toning of back, shoulders, arms, midriff and legs. In addition you gain overall flexibility, balance and co-ordination. An average hour long session of pole dancing will help you to burn about 400 calories. Compare this to 210 for dancing the waltz or fox trot, 315 for line dancing and 330 for jazz or tap dancing. Pole dancing is also fun and sensual at the same time. However as pole dancing is quite strenuous and if you intend to take up pole dance, it is advisable to consult your doctor if you have not exercised for a long time.

There are quite a number of dance schools and fitness centres in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor which are conducting pole dance classes. One of these is The Hanging Garden, a pole dance school located at Linda Jasmine Performing Arts Studio in Ampang Point in Ampang, Selangor. The principal of The Hanging Garden is the gorgeous looking Maple Loo, a freelance dancer, choreographer and performer for more than a decade. Students of pole dance are expected to learn the basic movements like the Chair and the Pencil before progressing to the more advanced manoeuvres like the Serpent, Scorpio and Bird's Nest.

The Hanging Garden will be hosting the first ever Asian Pole Summit in Malaysia. To be held on December 6 & 7 2008, the event will bring pole dancing to the forefront as an aesthetic art form that is technically challenging and artistically creative. A lineup of professional pole and dance instructors including world renowned pole fitness instructor, KT Coates from the United Kingdom will be in town to teach pole dancing, women styling, special dance techniques, flexibility, core strengthening as well as exotic dances. For more information on this workshop, contact Maple Loo at 012-2326482 or check out her website at

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Monday, December 1, 2008

'Dancing Pig' Quits "Strictly Come Dancing"

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) political correspondent John Sergeant, nicknamed 'The Dancing Pig', announced last week that he was pulling out of the BBC dance competition Strictly Come Dancing because he is afraid that he might win. Sergeant has been this season's surprise (or rather, rising) star on the BBC hit show despite being harshly criticized by the judges as the worst-ever competitor on the programme. One compared him to a 'dancing pig in Cuban heels' and accused him of not taking the competition seriously. Despite consistently receiving the lowest scores from the judges, television viewers however thought otherwise and have repeatedly voted for the portly Sergeant above more accomplished dancers.

Like its American spin-off, Dancing With The Stars, the BBC show pairs celebrities with professional dancers in various ballroom and Latin American dance routines that are judged by an expert panel and by public telephone votes. Week after week, the judges have lambasted the 64-year old Sergeant for his wooden and clumsy dance moves. In one episode, while dancing the Paso Doble, he inelegantly dragged his partner Kristina Rihanoff across the dance floor thus earning him the sobriquet 'The Dancing Pig'. "It was always my intention to have fun on the show and I was hoping to stay in as long as possible. The trouble is that there is now a real danger that I might win the competition. Even for me that would be a joke too far" Sergeant said in a statement.

Strictly Come Dancing is now into its sixth season and is a top rated show in the UK. This season, 16 celebrities were paired off with 16 well known professional dancers. The professional dancers included Matthew Cutler, Karen Hardy, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. Matthew Cutler, dancing with Alicia Dixon were last year's winners. Cutler was a former 4-times UK Closed Professional Latin Champion. Karen Hardy, partnering Mark Ramprakash were the winners in 2006. Before her retirement from competitive dancing in 1999, Hardy was dancing with Bryan Watson and they had won several world championships. Simone and his partner Cacace are the current UK Professional Ten Dance Champions as well as the World Argentine Tango Show Champions.

It really comes as no surprise that Sergeant has been able to come this far in the competition in spite of, or rather because of his ungainly dance style. Despite appeals by judges to the television audience to vote for the best, rather than the most popular dancer, the viewers had differing views. Many had found Sergeant to be entertaining and had wanted to keep him in the show as long as possible. His unexpected decision to quit prompted an outcry from his fans who accused the BBC of forcing him out. Rumour has it that the rules for the next season of Strictly Come Dancing may be changed to prevent another "John Sergeant" situation. Austin Healey, the former England rugby international is now the favourite to win the show.

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Friday, November 28, 2008

Results Of The 1st Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2008

The inaugural Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2008 organized by SBW Dancesport Centre of Muar, Johor was a great success. Held at the Yuan Shun Restaurant in Muar on November 16 2008; guests were treated to a sumptuous Chinese dinner and entertained by the competitors to a fabulous display of their dancing skills. A special guest performance by Asian Professional Latin American Dance Champions, Alonggod Nutsati and Wanchaya Kumsook from Thailand also had the audience spellbound. Altogether, about 90 couples from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand took part in 22 events in Modern Standard and Latin American dances. The results of the competition are:-

Standard - Master 1
1) Peter Lim & Agatha Lim (Singapore)
2) Vincent Ng & Doris Ng (Singapore)
3) Philip Tan & Jane Foong (Singapore)

Standard - Master Beginners
1) Heng Chia Hwa & Lim Hwee Kheng (Singapore)
2) Jimmy Cheong & Maggie Cheung ( Singapore)
3) Lawrence Tang & Ivy Khong (Selangor)

Standard - Novice
1) Dexter Lau & Ash Shefa (Kuala Lumpur)
2) Vincent Ng & Doris Ng (Singapore)
3) Jason Wong & Rachael Wong (Singapore)

Standard - Pre Amateur
1) Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan (Selangor)
2) Lee Keng Lek & Hazel Swee Su Lyn (Kuala Lumpur)
3) Vincent Ng & Doris Ng (Singapore)

Standard - Grade B
1) Romeo Alfarius Queri & Triska Tan (Singapore)
2) Terrence Low & Edna Lee (Singapore)
3) Tan Kay Leong & Schlaine Wong (Selangor)

Standard - Rising Star
1) Romeo Alfarius Queri & Triska Tan (Singapore)
2) Terrence Low & Edna Lee (Singapore)
3) Lee Keng Lek & Hazel Swee Su Lyn (Kuala Lumpur)

Latin - Junior Under 16
1) Collin Tan & Dawn Tan (Singapore)
2) Joey Tan & Naomi Anne Ho (Singapore)
3) Alvin Ho Wei Jeat & Teesha Tee Sin Yee (Negri Sembilan)

Latin - Master Beginners
1) Ramus Tan & Ng Peng Hoon (Johor)
2) Ong Teck Guan & Amy Gan (Melaka)
3) Tan Chee Wan & Annie Ong (Singapore)

Latin - Master 1
1) Samuel Chua & Ng Lay Hua (Singapore)
2) Bryan Tan & Nancy Liow (Johor)
3) Ong Yong On & Apple Ang (Singapore)

Latin - Novice
1) Ho Zhi Pin & Tan Chen Yin (Singapore)
2) Joey Tan & Naomi Anne Ho (Singapore)
3) Nicholas Yeo & Tan Wei Qing (Singapore)

Latin - Pre Amateur
1) Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan (Selangor)
2) Tong Song Wei & Lee Wen Ting (Singapore)
3) Lee Keng Lek & Hazel Swee Su Lyn (Kuala Lumpur)

Latin - Rising Star
1) Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan (Selangor)
2) Ekarut Maneechot & Visaporn Tirasawadee (Thailand)
3) Tong Song Wei & Lee Wen Ting (Singapore)

Best Wishes,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rhythm Tappers @ Malaysia Showcase Rhythm Tap At "Tap Raiders" Show

Fans of tap dancing in Malaysia were recently treated to an eye-opening performance of rhythm tap at Schokalart Salon-Lounge at SohoKL @ Solaris Mon't Kiara, Kuala Lumpur from November 14 - 16 2008. The show called Tap Raiders was directed by Toh Kong Eu, the founder and first artistic director of Rhythm Tappers @ Malaysia. Toh, who studied tap dancing in the USA under various masters like Savion Glover, Diane Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Barbara Duffy and Van Porter was an engineer with a petroleum company before giving up his job to become a rhythm tap artiste, choreographer and teacher in Malaysia.

Tap Raiders showcased seven items performed by teachers, students and guest artistes with choreography by Toh, second artistic director Pang Shueh Miin, Diane Walker and Leon Collins. The show kicked-off with an acappella tap performance by an octet of dancers. During an interlude, Toh had the audience in rapt attention with a solo performance. He later performed a duet with Phang (pic) to a beautifully choreographed number done to a funk style with some fusion of swing. Actress, model and accomplished tapper, Jojo Struys who was a guest artist, also performed a duet with Toh. Their improvised routine incorporated elements of street and hip hop.

Tap dance has historically been a highly individualistic dance form that allows the dancer considerable artistic, stylistic and interpretative freedom. As a result, there are many different styles of tap dancing that exist today due to its natural development and growth. Examples of tap dance genres include rhythm, flash, classical and show (Broadway-style) tap. Most tap dances that are performed on the major concert stages in the US today can be considered as rhythm tap. Rhythm tap in itself is also an extremely broad category since elements of other dance forms (and also different styles of tap) are usually present in tap dance.

Rhythm Tappers @ Malaysia aims to promote tap dance as an art from in Malaysia. Their goal is to create awareness, understanding and appreciation of rhythm tap via performances, workshops, lectures, demonstrations and word-of-mouth. Contrary to popular belief, one can tap dance to any style of music or groove. Rhythm tap is essentially looking at tap's original essence - rhythmic expression with an emphasis on the musicality and expression of tap. More importantly the message is that tap can co-exist with alternative music forms like pop, hip-hop, funk and R&B. The aim is to present tap as an exciting and hip dance & music form.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wade Robson Conducts Dance Workshop In Malaysia

Wade Robson, the celebrated dance choreographer of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) USA was in Malaysia last month to conduct a workshop for 80 privileged dancers who had the rare opportunity to train under a world renowned performer. The 25 year old Australian-born, 2-times Emmy Award winner who choreographed Britney Spear's 1999 World Tour at the young age of 16, conducted the exclusive two-day workshop on October 18 and 19 at Celebrity Fitness Studio in 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.

Among the participants at the meet were previous contestants from the SYTYCD Malaysia Seasons 1 and 2 - Alam (champion season 1), Cecilia Yong (champion season 2), Dennis Yin, Jorida Lim, Vivian Chan, Farah Hanan and SYTYCD Malaysia choreographer Boojay of Floor Fever. At the workshop, Wade demonstrated dance routines taken from his latest work in the Cirque Du Soleil/Criss Angel Believe stage show. Wade also obligingly danced his own Sexyback routine choreographed to Timberlake's song together with the Floor Fever dance crew.

Wade Jeremy Williams Robson was born on September 17 1982 in Brisbane, Australia. He began performing as a professional dancer at the tender age of 5 and was a back-up dancer for Michael Jackson during Michael Jackson's Bad Tour of Australia in 1987. Wade and his family moved to the United States when he was nine years old to pursue his career in the entertainment industry. Before he turned 10, Wade had danced and acted in Michael Jackson's music videos (Black Or White, Jam, and Heal The World), numerous commercials, films and TV shows.

In 2007, Wade won an Emmy for a routine called Ramalama which he choreographed for SYTYCD. In the same year he choreographed and danced in a special performance of Dancing With The Stars which turned out to be one of the season's highest rated episodes. Wade will also be choreographing and producing Britney Spear's World Tour 2009 which is slated to begin in March next year. "The tour will be nothing like you've ever seen from Britney in the past seven years. It will be pretty crazy, wild, different, kind of sexy and elegant" Wade enthused.

Warmest Regards,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Friday, November 21, 2008

Party The Night Away At Penang Street Dance Competition & Street Dance Jamboree 2008

Danzity Dance House ( of Penang will be organizing the Penang Street Dance Competition 2008. The details are as follows:-

Dates:- December 20 2008 (Preliminary), December 27 2008 (Final)

Venues:- Preliminary - New World Park, Final - Queensbay Mall

The prizes offered are:-

  • Champion - RM2000 (Cash & Gifts)

    1st Runner Up - RM1500 (Cash & Gifts)

    2nd Runner Up - RM1000 (Cash & Gifts)

    Consolation - 5 X RM100 (Cash & Gifts)

The Rules of the competition are:-

  • 1. Three to six members per team

    2. No offensive or revealing costumes permitted

    3. Maximum 4 minutes on stage for each team

    4. No offensive or foul content in songs selected

    5. No use of cigarettes or drugs permitted in the events premises

    6. Participants are to arrive 1 hour prior to the competition

    7. Competition is only open to non-professional teams

    8. Closing date for registration is November 15 2008

    9. Late entries are subject to approval of organizers

    10. Registration fee RM20 per person. Late registration RM30 per person

The Penang Street Dance Competition 2008 is part of the Penang State I-Dance Campaign 2008 organized by Danzity Dance House. The campaign will showcase dance related programs and activities aimed at creating awareness and promoting interest in dancing as a healthy activity to the youth of Penang. Among the activities promoted are dance classes, workshops, roadshows and performances. The campaign will culminate in a Street Dance Jamboree on December 28 2008 at New World Park. For more information kindly contact Grace (012-4129272), Sean (012-4861699), email: or log on to

Best Wishes,

Dance Aficionado

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shuffle Your Way To Melbourne

KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd has recently launched the "Shuffle Your Way To Melbourne" Contest. Some of the salient terms & conditions (please check out their website for the full terms & conditions) of the contest are:-

1. The contest is open to all Malaysians aged 12 and above.

2. The contest period is from November 17 to December 7 2008.

3. Participants are allowed to submit as many videos as they wish. All entries must show the participants 'shuffling' with the KFC Hot Rods.

4. The duration of each video should be a minimum of 40 seconds and a maximum of 1 minute.

5. Contestants have a choice to select their own music to 'shuffle' to as long as it is free from explicit content.

6. All entries must be submitted via YouTube.

7. All video submissions will go through a short-listing stage where 20 finalists will be selected by the judges for the Grand Final.

8. The Grand Final will be held from December 8 to December 12 2008 where the video entries will be open to public votes.

9. The Grand Prize of 1 holiday package to Melbourne, Australia will be awarded to the entry from the Grand Final that receives the most number of votes followed by the next 9 top voted entries who will be awarded the special prize. The next 10 entries that follow will win the Consolation Prize.

10. Registration closes on December 6 2008.

There are 2 ways of participating in this contest - 1) Online or 2) On-Ground. For the online participation you will basically have to record yourself doing the Shuffle Dance and then upload your video on YouTube. For the on-ground participation you will have to check out the on-ground location schedule from Fly FM and Hot FM. Be there, and the crew will record your moves on camera. They will then submit your dance video online. The on-ground locations are in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang.

The shuffle or what is more popularly known as the Melbourne shuffle is a dance style created in the underground parties in Melbourne, Australia during the early 1990s. The basic movements are a fast heel and toe action with a style suitable for various types of electronic music. Some variants include arm movements. Melbourne shuffle footwork is based on Celtic dance, in particular Irish dance. Since the days of the Gold Rush in Australia, there has been a large Celtic population in Melbourne, mainly from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Spain (Iberia) and France (Gaul). The Melbourne shuffle is gaining popularity in many countries around the world due in no small part to the many shuffle videos that have been posted on YouTube.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Zumba - A Fusion Of Dance And Aerobics That Is Taking The World By Storm

Zumba is a fitness programme that is fast becoming a worldwide craze. The fitness programme combines Latin rhythms with cardiovascular exercises to create an aerobics routine that is fun and easy to follow. Participants often comment that it is so much fun that they don't think of it as a workout. There are presently more than 20,000 Zumba trained instructors in 35 countries and millions of Zumba Fitness DVDs have been sold worldwide. Zumba enthusiasts all over the world are discovering the joy of dancing and the benefits to their health all at the same time.

Colombian fitness trainer Beto Perez stumbled upon the concept of Latin inspired fitness in his native country of Colombia in the mid 1990s. He introduced a fitness programme which he called Zumba and which soon became very popular in his class. The word Zumba is Spanish slang for "to move fast and have fun". In 1999 Perez brought the class to the United States where he was approached by Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create a global company based on the Zumba fitness philosophy. The three young entrepreneurs then set a goal to offer Zumba classes all over the world. In 2007, Zumba was introduced to Mexico, Japan, China, Britain, Italy and Spain.

The fun workout comprises of approximately 70% Latin dances (eg. cha cha cha, samba, mambo) and 30% of other dances from around the world (eg. flamenco, calypso, hip hop). "We utilize the the principles of fitness interval training and resistance training to maximize caloric output, fat burning and total body burning. It's a way of mixing body sculpting movements and easy-to-follow dance steps" says Perez. "It's fun and addictive. It's wonderful to see so many people having fun while getting fit. I think the terrific Latin rhythms in the programme have taken the 'work' out of "working out" he added.

Perez was here in Kuala Lumpur in March 2008 to help lay down the groundwork for starting the Zumba Fitness programme in Malaysia. He, along with fellow fitness trainer Tanya Beardsley gave a series of master classes to other fitness trainers at California Fitness which is currently offering Zumba classes at its fitness centres. California Fitness presently has 4 fitness centres in the Klang Valley - Menara Standard Chartered, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Mid Valley Megamall all in Kuala Lumpur and Sunway Pyramid in Petaling Jaya.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Experience Hip Hop Culture At Kuala Lumpur Hip Hop Festival On November 15 2008

The inaugural Kuala Lumpur Hip Hop Festival will be held on November 15 2008 at Modesto's at Lot 46652 off Jalan Bukit Kiara, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (telephone number 603-62017898). Hip hop artists from the United States of America, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia will be getting ready for a showdown this Saturday at this restaurant in the popular entertainment enclave of Sri Hartamas/Mon't Kiara where the local and expatriate communities often gather to chill out.

With a theme called "Rhyme For A Reason", those attending the festival can expect great entertainment and a wonderful time. Proceeds from the sales of the tickets will be channeled to Stop Violence Against Children; a non-governmental organization. Fans and enthusiasts will be treated to live performances by both professionals and amateurs who will showcase the four core elements of hip hop culture - emceeing (often referred to as rapping), DJ-ing, breakdancing and graffiti art.

Artists who are expected to perform at the festival include Akil from Jurassic 5, Phlowtron, Reefa, MC Samir, KLG Sqwad, 4Dub, Sould ID, Diplomats International featuring Vandal, Tech 1, Rudi Twisted and Ras Muhamad and Phatnatrix. The emcee for the event will be Altimet, a popular local deejay, songwriter and publisher( Workshops will also be conducted for those wishing to experience or learn more about the hip hop culture.

The festival will start at 12.00 noon and will last till about 2.00 am the next morning. Tickets priced at RM55 are available at all Modesto's outlets and the office of The Reach Events in Plaza Damas, Sri Hartamas. You can also get them at the door on the day of the event for RM65. For more information about the KL Hip Hop Festival, call 603-62031051 or 6016-3279945. For those intending to drive there, it would be advisable to car pool due to the traffic congestion and parking problems in Sri Hartamas.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

World Celebrates Obama's Victory In 2008 US Presidential Elections

The whole world rejoiced in the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the Unites States Of America on November 4. Never before has a US presidential election being so closely watched and followed by the world. Not since the days of new president John F Kennedy has the world's heart been so open and filled with good feelings for the United States of America. The magnitude and emotion of the world reaction illustrated the international character of the US presidency. Many look to Washington as the place where the global issues of war and peace, prosperity or crisis are decided.

In Kuala Lumpur, Americans and non-Americans gathered at the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel to watch the elections. In Rio De Janeiro, Brazilians partied on the beach. In Jakarta, Indonesia, hundreds of students at his former elementary school poured into the school courtyard and danced in the rain when the results were announced on television. A national holiday was declared in Kenya - where Obama's father was born - in honour of the first black US president elect. The biggest cheers for Obama outside of the United States probably came from the residents of Obama in Japan.

Obama, which means "small beach" in Japanese lies in the Fukui prefecture and is about 4 hours train from Tokyo. The Obama campaign had brought an air of excitement to this sleepy hollow which has a population of approximately 30,000. Local leaders had hoped to promote tourism by latching on to the connection and giving a fillip to the economy. An "Obama for Obama" supporters group attracted 1500 members. A hula dance group called the "Obama Girls" was also formed in honor of Obama's Hawaiian heritage. When their namesake's victory was declared, the residents of Obama were ecstatic and dancers performed on stage in the city hall.

When president elect Barack Obama visits Japan, hopefully next year I wonder whether he will visit the town of Obama to thank the residents there for their support during the White House campaign. I am sure the residents of Obama will be thrilled to meet him and will roll out the red carpet to welcome him. They may even make Obama an honorary citizen of Obama. The mayor of Obama has recently announced that he intends to commission the erection of a statue of Barack Obama to be put in front of the city hall "as a token of the great historical moment for the name Obama". In addition he has declared that November 4 be made an annual holiday in the city.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

"Evolution Of Dance" The Number 1 Most Favourited (All Time) Video On YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, share and view video clips. The company was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 and is presently headquartered in San Bruno, California, USA. Unregistered users can watch most videos on the site while registered users are allowed to upload an unlimited number of videos. YouTube reported that in January 2008 alone, nearly 79 million users had made over 3 billion video views. YouTube also bestows numerous awards on the videos including the "Most Viewed, Most Favourited, Most Discussed and Top Rated".

As far as video clips go, Evolution Of Dance by American motivational speaker and comedian Judson (Jud) Laipply is undoubtedly one of the most popular of video clips to have appeared on YouTube. The six-minute video posted on YouTube by Laipply in 2006, features him dancing to a soundtrack that plays through various popular songs by various artistes ranging from Elvis Presley (Hound Dog) to Chubby Checker (The Twist), Village People (YMCA), MC Hammer (U Can't Touch This) and Michael Jackson (Billie Jean & Thriller).

Evolution of Dance was the finale to Laipply's 2002 show called Inspirational Comedy. Laipply said he came up with the name Inspirational Comedy to help describe what he does. He wanted people to know that he was going to try and be funny but also give them things to think about and try to inspire them all in the same experience. During its initial rise in popularity, the video amassed over 10 million views in under two weeks. It was also featured on CNN, MSN, E!, USA Today, Good Morning America, The Today Show, AOL, Google and many other websites.

Evolution Of Dance is currently the Number 1 Most Favourited (All Time) Video, Number 2 Most Viewed (All Time) Video and Number 6 Most Discussed (All Time) Video on YouTube. The video has been viewed over 103 million times as at October 30 2008. It had the most all time views for just over 2 years before being replaced by the music video for Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend which also had more than 100 million views. Anyone who has watched Evolution Of Dance is bound to be bombarded with flashbacks, for the better or worse, of a particular period of their youth so characterized by the iconic dances which accompany the songs.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Friday, November 7, 2008

Viennese Ball 2008 Kuala Lumpur - 5 Lucky Couples Chosen To Attend Vienna Opera Ball

The Viennese Ball 2008 which was held on October 25 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre was a truly spectacular event. More than 700 persons amongst them royalty, dignitaries and socialites attended the social function. Those present included the Royal Patron of the ball, Yang Amat Mulia, Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja'afar, Regent of the State of Negri Sembilan and His Excellency Dr Donatus Koeck, the Austrian Ambassador to Malaysia. The ball was held in aid of the Yayasan Tunku Naquiyuddin and Pure Life Society charity foundations. This is the second time the Austrian Embassy in Malaysia is organizing the ball ( after the resounding success of the one held last year.

At the cocktail reception there was a performance by young musicians from the Ann Perreau Music Studio, Austria who charmed everyone with a splendid show despite their young ages. During dinner, there was a haute couture fashion show by Malaysian designer Melvin Lam. This was followed by a piano recital by Austrian pianist Professor Johann Turek. Renowned soprano Marcelo Cerno, accompanied by the Ambassade Orchestra Vienna also gave a splendid performance. Josef Dolinsky and Raffaela Pegani, two of the principal dancers from the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera delighted the audience with a polka, waltz and czardas (Hungarian dance) performance.

One of the highlights of the Viennese Ball was the introduction of the 53 debutantes and the opening dance by the debutantes and their partners. A debutante was by tradition an upper class girl in Europe who had come of age and is to be formally introduced or who makes a debut at a ball to announce her eligibility to other men. The debutantes who were immaculately dressed in white ballgowns and their partners who looked resplendent in tailcoats danced the Polonaise, Quadrille and the Viennese Waltz. Five of the best couples were chosen to attend the Vienna Opera Ball in Austria in February 2009. They were:-

1. Jonathan Fam & Ellya Sam

2. Samuel Sum & Chew Su Fen

3. Jan Zwiefelhofer & Theresa Ahrens

4. Syed Amir Faisal Syed Ali & Sasha Leong

5. Surendaran Chandra Sekaran & Alicia Thooi

Debutante co-ordinator Selma Skriegner said - "We weren't just looking at how well they did the Viennese Waltz. We also had to see if they were good dancers, whether they could do the other dances like the Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Foxtrot and Rock & Roll. Dance instructor Reinhard Polt who was very pleased with his charges, quipped - "They performed very very well. And I think they loved it, they've enjoyed this Viennese Ball!" His Excellency Dr Donatus Koeck said he hoped that the Viennese Ball will be a yearly event here and that Malaysians can get more interested in organizing it. "Its quite a huge task for a small embassy like mine" he added.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Antimo Russo Of Italy To Conduct Latin American Dance Workshop In Malaysia

SBW Dancesport Centre of Muar, Johor will be organizing a dance workshop which will be be conducted by Antimo Russo of Italy. The details are as follows:-

Date: November 15 2008 (Saturday)

Time: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm

Venue: SBW Dancesport Centre
48-39A, Jalan Taman Sakeh Baru 1/2
Taman Sakeh Baru
Muar, Johor

Tel. No: 019-7745871 (Mr Siow Boon Wah)

Fax. No: 06-9511069


Fees: RM80 for a 2 hours workshop

The dances and the topics that will be touched upon and discussed by Antimo Russo at the workshop are:-

Cha Cha Cha - development of rhythm, balance and changes of body weight, check position in the New York action and split Cuban break, differences.

Rumba - appropriate technique in the walks (forward & backward), application of a rotation to a walk, lead & follow, change of the rules.

Besides teaching Latin American dances in Hong Kong, China where he is currently based, Antimo Russo also teaches Argentine tango and salsa. Russo, 27, has taken part in many world dancesport competitions including the Blackpool Professional Latin American Dance championship. He is presently dancing with Ee Phei San of Hong Kong. For more information on Antimo Russo, please check out

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Monday, November 3, 2008

Line Dancers Converge On Christmas Island For 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Christmas Island is a territory of Australia and lies in the Indian Ocean. It is located about 500 km south of the Indonesian island of Java. With an area of 135 square kilometers, Christmas Island is approximately half the size of Penang Island. Captain William Mynors of the British East India Company gave the island its name when he arrived on the island on December 25 1643. In 1887, phosphate was discovered on the island which led to the annexation of the island by the British Crown on June 6 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s using indentured labour from China and the Malay archipelago. Sovereignty of the island was transferred to Australia in 1958 and Territory Day is celebrated on October 1 every year with much gusto by the islanders.

This year, Christmas Island celebrated its 50th year of being a territory of Australia. The celebrations somehow attracted the attention of a group of more than 100 Malaysians comprising dancers, marathon runners as well as friends and family who cleverly combined the idea of a holiday, anniversary celebrations, dance workshop and half marathon all in one. On Oct 3, the group flew to Christmas Island on a chartered flight. The next day the dancers took part in a line dance workshop conducted by Australian dance instructor Chris Watson who had come to Christmas Island with three of his dancers from Tamworth, New South Wales. Watson belongs to a dance group called Dare To Dance ( which conducts workshops around the world.

The group of line dancers comprised mainly of dancers from two studios in Selangor, namely Jasz Dance and Studio 33 who meet regularly for parties and workshops in the Klang Valley. (For more information on their line dancing activities, contact Jasz Dance at 012-6551164 or Studio 33 at 012-3880315). The runners from Malaysia and their Christmas Island counterparts also took part in a half marathon. The 21 km "JW Flora and Fauna Fun Run" hosted by the CI Cricket and Sporting Club ( took the runners through the woods and roads of the beautiful island. Scott Fischer, president of the CICSC said the club hoped to organize a full marathon in future.

The population of Christmas Island stands at about 1000; made up roughly of 70% Chinese, 20% Europeans and 10% Malays. The island is noted for its lush tropical rainforest, amazing flora & fauna, birdlife, beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes. It is also famous for its red crabs and robber crabs, known elsewhere as cocunut crabs. The annual red crab mass migration to the sea to spawn has been called one of the wonders of the natural world and takes place every year around November. More than 60% of the island is now under the protection of the Australian Parks Authority. The park on the island contains the last remaining habitat of the endangered Abott's booby and the only nesting sites of the Christmas Island frigate birds

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Dancing The Foxtrot - Mastering The Feather Step And Three Step

The foxtrot is often considered the most beautiful as well as the most difficult to learn of all the ballroom dances. The dance is characterized by long, gliding and controlled steps to give it a drifty and unhurried appearance. The foxtrot is not named after the so called trotting movements of a fox as is sometimes mistaken but is named for its inventor Harry Fox who premiered the dance in New York, USA in 1914. Not surprisingly, this dance is called the fox step (fox as in vulpine) in China. When this dance was first introduced to China, the Chinese translated the word "fox" literally, and the name has stuck since.

The time signature for the foxtrot is 4/4 meaning there are 4 beats in a bar of music. The first & third beats are accented and the tempo is normally set at about 30 bars a minute. The dance figures consists of various combinations of "Slows" and "Quicks". Each "Slow" has 2 beats of music while the "Quicks" have 1 beat each. Beginners learning to dance the foxtrot are well advised to master 2 basic figures; namely the Feather Step and the Three Step. Once you have learned to dance these 2 figures well and coupled with good technique you will really enjoy dancing the foxtrot and find it not so difficult a dance to learn after all.

The Feather Step is a four-step figure with a SQQS timing. For the man the first step is taken with his RF forward. On the second step he places LF forward preparing to step outside partner, left side leading. On the third step he places his RF forward in CBMP outside partner. The fourth step is taken with his LF forward. The stepping outside partner on the third step has to be done correctly and "shaping" is important here otherwise an ugly hip movement will result. For the lady who is moving backwards, it is important to release the toe of the front foot from the floor as it commences to move back towards the supporting foot.

The Three Step as the name suggests is a three-step figure with a QQS timing. For the man the steps are - 1. RF forward, HT; 2. LF forward, TH; 3. RF forward, H. The figure should be danced with a slight right side lead on steps 1 and 2. For the lady the steps are - 1. LF back, TH; 2. RF back, TH; 3. LF back, T. A slight left side lead is used on steps 1 and 2. It is important to release the toe of the front foot from the floor as it commences to move back towards the supporting feet. If the foot moves back with the toe of the front foot in contact with the floor, the movement will be seriously restricted and not be smooth. Happy Dancing!

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> A Discourse On The Foxtrot By Aleksandr And Irina