Monday, December 28, 2009

The Year 2009 In Review - Part 2

Of the many popular social dances in Malaysia, salsa remains a hot favourite. Salsa aficionados from far and wide came to participate in the 2nd World Salsa Congress in Petaling Jaya from May 1 to 3. Hot on the heels of this event was the 4th Malaysian Salsa Festival in Cherating from July 23 to 26. There was also a 6-days salsa cruise from November 23 to 27 on board the Legend Of The Seas for hardcore salsa devotees. Hip hop continues to be hip with the youngsters with many 'battles' being staged at shopping complexes. Public listed companies Astro, F&N and KFC gave hip hop a shot in the arm by organizing some hip hop events and competitions. Break Out, the much-acclaimed stage dance comedy from South Korea performed to sold-out shows in Kuala Lumpur and Penang during the later part of May.

As for the ladies; line, belly and pole dances were all the rage with many social events and haflas organized. One of the major competitions organized was the 3rd Asia Pacific Dance Explosion held in Kuala Lumpur on July 18 & 19 where more than 300 contestants competed in line, belly and hip hop events. World-renowned belly dancers, Sadie and Nath Neo were here to perform and conduct workshops in Penang and KL. Socialite Puan Sri Chelsia Cheng and her friends put up an electrifying belly dance performance at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Shopping Centre on February 8 and helped raise a cool RM500,000 for charity. Pole dance which was introduced here last year managed to hold its own, with the finals of 2 major competitions - Pole Stars and Pole Idol held in KL on June 6 and October 24 respectively.

Argentine tango managed to attract a following of ardent tangueros and tangueras. The 2nd International Kuala Lumpur Tango Festival from April 9 to 12 and the Extended Weekend Tango With Patricio & Eva workshop held in KL from June 19 to 21 packed them in. As for the other social dances, there were initiatives by some studios to popularize dances like the lindy hop, bachatango and zouk. On the flip side, the popular television dance reality show So You Think You Can Dance Malaysia was axed and the Viennese Ball mothballed. A couple of well-established dance schools in the Klang Valley decided to call it a day. All in all, it was a pretty exciting and eventful year where dance was concerned. To my blog visitors out there, I would like to wish you all a "Happy & Prosperous New Year" and carry on dancing!

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> The Year 2009 In Review - Part 1

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Year 2009 In Review - Part 1

As the year 2009 draws to a close, many people will be looking forward to welcoming in the new year 2010. On new year's eve, Malaysians like many of their counterparts all over the the world will be coming out in droves to party and dance the night away, and ring in the new year. In the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the best places to join in the festivities, watch performances and fireworks displays will be at Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and in the shopping districts of Bukit Bintang and KLCC. The economic slowdown this year may have impacted the spending habits of many but how has it affected the dance activities held here in Malaysia? Let us take a review of the dance happenings here in 2009.

Dancesport enthusiasts were treated to an awesome display of dance artistry by some of the best dancers in the world at the 5th Malaysian International Dance Championship 2009 cum second leg of the Asian Open Dance Championship Tour 2009 at Genting Highlands on February 27 & 28. Among the ballroom competitors who took part were Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Jonathan Wilkins & Hazel Newberry and Roberto Villas & Moreno Colagreco. In the Latin section we had Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, Franco Formica & Oxana Lebedew and Maurizio Vescovo & Melinda Torokgyorgy. Dance maestros Marcus Hilton, Bryan Watson and Carmen Vincelj were among the judges at this competition.

The other major international dancesport competitions organized this year were the 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009 in Kuala Lumpur on August 30 and the 16th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2009 in Georgetown on November 28. In between, several minor dancesport competitions were held in Melaka, Johore Baru, Muar and Kota Kinabalu. Some well-known ballroom dancers like Roberto Villas & Moreno Colagreco, Aleksandr Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova and Barry Winters stayed behind after taking part in the competitions here to conduct workshops and classes at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association. (To be continued. Part 2 of this article will appear next week).

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Days Are Here Again!

With the economy in the doldrums and people struggling to make ends meet, many old timers are yearning for the good old days of the 1960s & 1970s. Those were the days when "living was easy", the crime rate was low and words like global warming, carbon footprint and good corporate governance were not yet in the vocabulary. One person who has fond memories of those halcyon yesteryears and who hopes to help people relive the memories of those good old days is restaurateur Fariz Abdullah. Inspired by the 1970s American sitcom Happy Days, Fariz has opened a Good Ol' Happy Days Diner at 55-A, Jalan USJ 10/1F, Taipan USJ in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Visitors to the restaurant cannot miss the green Holden sports car which is perched above the signboard. The interior decor is done up in a 1970s retro style with black and white chequered floor, upholstered chairs, a jukebox and 2 pool tables. The cuisine is mainly American with burgers, steaks, pizzas and lobsters on the menu. After dinner, customers can have a swinging time and enjoy themselves to rock 'n' roll and pop music as well as music from the 1960s and 1970s. A live band will be in attendance on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The restaurant is open from 11.00 am to 1.00 am on weekdays and 11.00 am to 2.00 am on weekends.

At a launching ceremony of the restaurant held recently, guests had a wonderful time tucking in the grub, dancing and watching the many performances. The resident band kept the guests entertained with oldies music and songs. Datuk Leonard Tan impressed the audience with an Elvis Presley impersonation act. There was also a limbo rock competition to see how low the contestants can go. Showman Alfro Wong, the Malaysian King of Limbo Rock showed what stern stuff he is made of, when; blindfolded he slided under a flaming pole which was placed about 60 cm (2 feet) above the floor! Certainly not for the faint-of-heart and not to be tried at home!

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> Dancing In KL In The 1970s

> Chubby Checker's "The Twist" Named Top Song Of Billboard Hot 100

Monday, December 7, 2009

Donny Osmond Wins "Dancing With The Stars" Season 9

Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) Season 9 premiered on ABC television network in the USA on September 21 2009. The 16 celebrities who participated in this season's show included showbiz entertainer Donny Osmond, Grammy Award winning singer Mya and TV reality star Kelly Osbourne. Donny is following in the footsteps of his sister Marie, who had previously competed in Season 5 of DWTS and who was placed third in that season. Among the well-known professional dancers who took part in Season 9 were Mark Ballas, son of dance legend Corky Ballas, Karina Smirnoff, former partner of Slavik Kryklyvyy and Anna Demidova, the younger sister of World Ballroom Dance Champion Katusha Demidova (partnering Arunas Bizokas).

Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba returned as judges as did hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris. For this season of DWTS, the dances that were performed included the 10 Ballroom & Latin American dances, Salsa, Mambo, Jitterbug, Argentine Tango and Freestyle. In addition, 4 new dances namely the Charleston, Bolero, Lambada and Country Two-Step were performed for the first time in this competition. Through a series of elimination rounds, the contestants were whittled down and 3 contestants were eventually chosen for the finale. The 3 finalists were Donny Osmond, Mya and Kelly Osbourne. As in previous competitions, the winner was determined by a combination of the judges' scores and viewers' votes.

The finale was held over 2 evenings - on November 23 and 24. On the first evening, the 3 finalists each had to perform a freestyle dance routine. The next evening, Donny and partner Kym Johnson showcased a slick Argentine Tango performance. Crowd favourite Mya and partner Dmitry Chaplin high-kicked their way into the hearts of the crowd with a high energy Jive routine. Kelly and partner Louis Van Amstel received a standing ovation from the audience for their flawless rendition of the Viennese Waltz. Donny Osmond was adjudged the winner of DWTS Season 9 to the consternation of many who felt that first runner up Mya was the better dancer and clearly deserved to win. The next season of DWTS is scheduled to air in the spring of 2010.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Results Of The 2nd Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2009

More than two hundred competitors from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia participated in the 2nd Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2009 held on November 15 at the SKT Banquet Hall in Muar, Johor. The dancers showcased their skills and talents in the Ballroom Standard & Latin categories before a cheering and appreciative audience. Buoyed by the success of this competition, the organizing Chairman, Siow Boon Wah of SBW Dancesport Centre hopes that this annual championship will attract more top-notch dancers from more Asian countries in future. Here are the results of the major events held that evening:-

Standard - Amateur Open

1 Huchao & Zhangluyao (China)
2 Romeo Alfarius Queri & Triska Tan (Singapore)
3 Eric Labita & Eng Ai Lim (Singapore)

Latin - Amateur Open

1 Wang Xiang & Tian Xin (China)
2 Bernard Lim & Natalie Tan (Malaysia)
3 Vernom Choo & Cheah Yen Thing (Malaysia)

Standard - Amateur Closed (National Ranking)

1 Bernard Lim & Natalie Tan
2 Lai Kim Sang & Zhang Wei
3 Jimmy Yap & Sylvia Yeoh

Latin - Amateur Closed (National Ranking)

1 Bernard Lim & Natalie Tan
2 Vernom Choo & Cheah Yen Thing
3 Derek Yeap & Eunice Ng

Standard - Amateur Rising Star

1 Eric Labita & Eng Ai Lim (Singapore)
2 Nico Darmawan & Yovita Phanjaya (Indonesia)
3 Lai Kim Sang & Zhang Wei (Malaysia)

Latin - Amateur Rising Star

1 Patarasit Lertsoontornpoch & Suveenat Noinoul (Thailand)
2 Vernom Choo & Cheah Yen Thing (Malaysia)
3 Collin Tan & Dawn Tan (Singapore)

Standard - Pre Amateur

1 Tan Kay Leong & Christina Lim (Malaysia)
2 Li Ming & Law Yu Chui (Singapore)
3 Adrian Khor & Bowie Hee (Malaysia)

Latin - Pre Amateur

1 Patarasit Lertsoontornpoch & Suveenat Noinoul (Thailand)
2 Nicholas Yeo & Teng Wei Qing (Singapore)
3 Edmund Teo & Jiang Bin (Singapore)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Krump, Shuffle And Hip Hop Your Way To The Top

KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd is organizing a "Hot Steppers Dance Competition" which will run from November 9 to December 19 2009. To take part in this competition, contestants will have to perform, videocam and then submit online a dance routine that incorporates elements of krumping, shuffle and hip hop. The champion will walk away with a cash prize of RM10,000 while the first and second runners up will take home RM7000 and RM5000 respectively. Consolation and special prizes will also be given away. For more information regarding this competition, log on to

Krumping is a relatively new urban street dance form that was born (circa 2001) in the streets of South Central Los Angeles, USA. It is a fusion of several dance styles popular in the LA area. In addition to hip hop and breakdancing moves, krumping also involves another unique LA style of dancing known as clowning, pioneered by Tommy The Clown (pic). The popularity of krumping has spread to places like Europe, Brazil, Australia and Japan. A krump dance competition was held recently in Japan with the first prize being an offer to battle against Lil' C and Miss Prissy in the USA.

The shuffle, or better 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 variations 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).

Hip hop originated from the Bronx in New York, USA during the 1970s. The four core elements of hip hop culture are - emceeing (often referred to as rapping), DJ-ing, breakdancing and graffiti art. Hip hop dance refers to social or choreographed dance styles danced primarily to hip hop music that have evolved as part of the hip hop culture. Hip hop dance styles include locking, popping, breakdancing, new jack swing and house dance. What separates hip hop from other dances is that it is often freestyle in nature and the dancers frequently engage in 'battles' which are formal or informal dance competitions.

Last year, KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd organized a KFC Hot Rods "Shuffle Your Way To Melbourne" dance competition in which contestants had to perform, videocam and then submit online a shuffle dance routine. Twenty one contestants were eventually selected for the finals. The winner was Fareedzwan bin Saddi who won a holiday package tour worth RM8000 for two to Melbourne, Australia. The prizes offered for this year's "Hot Steppers Dance Competition" are attractive and should attract the top hip hop dancers from all over Malaysia.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dancesport Results of the 2009 Asian Indoor Games Vietnam

The 3rd Asian Indoor Games 2009 which was held in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 30 to November 8 saw the participation of some 2000 athletes from 45 countries/regions in Asia. Athletes came from all across Asia (stretching from East Asia to West Asia) to compete in 25 sports in 215 medal events during the 10-day meet. Among the medals at stake were those for dancesport, dragon & lion dance, atheletics and martial arts. China topped the medal tally winning 48 golds, 25 silvers and 19 bronzes, followed closely by Vietnam with 42 golds, 30 silvers and 22 bronzes whilst Kazakhstan came in third with 21 golds, 16 silvers and 21 bronzes. Malaysia was in 15th place with 3 golds, 5 silvers and 8 bronzes which were won through dragon & lion dance, bowling, petanque and pencak silat (Malay martial arts).

In the dancesport events, medals were awarded for each individual dance. A total of 30 medals - 15 each for ballroom and Latin American were up for grabs. As expected, China and Japan dominated the dancesport events. Vietnam sprang a surprise by clinching third placing in the dancesport medal tally. The results of the dancesport events are:-

China - 5 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze

Japan - 3 golds, 2 silvers, 2 bronzes

Vietnam - 2 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze

Korea - 4 silvers, 3 bronzes

Thailand - 1 silver

Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 1 bronze each

Are we seeing the emergence of Vietnam as a dancesport rising star in Asia? The Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan which was expected to perform well in dancesport could not deliver the goods. At the last games in Macau in 2007, Kazakhstan came in third, bagging 2 golds and 3 silver medals. This time, Kazakhstan could only managed one bronze. Maybe, Kazakhstan did not send their best dancers for this meet. Kyrgyzstan, which lies to the south of Kazakhstan also won a bronze. Like its neighbour Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan also has a sizeable Russian minority. Russians make up 9% or roughly half a million of the country's estimated population of 5.5 million people. Hopefully, the Central Asian countries will be able to bring some excitement and glasnost (publicity) to dancesport in Asia.

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> Kazakhstan - A Rising Star In Dancesport

Monday, November 9, 2009

ISTD Chief Executive Visits Malaysia

Julian Amey, Chief Executive of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) UK, recently visited Malaysia to meet with dance teachers and familiarize himself with the local dance scene. While here, Amey also met up with his colleagues Richard Hunt, Vice Chairman of the Modern Ballroom Faculty and Yvonne Taylor-Hill, Chairman of the Disco/Free Style/Rock 'n' Roll Faculty, both of whom had arrived in Malaysia earlier to conduct the ISTD medal tests and dance teacher examinations. A dinner reception in Shah Alam, Selangor was hosted in their honour by Nelly Tsen, the ISTD examination organizer for Malaysia. The function held on October 31 2009 was attended by about 50 dance teachers and those in the dance fraternity.

In his speech, Richard Hunt spoke of the many interesting programmes planned by the ISTD in Malaysia. In the offing was a plan by the ISTD to conduct workshops for dance teachers and students. Another was in getting dance schools here to organize medallist competitions or medallist festivals. Nelly Tsen later informed me that these competitions are strictly for medallists, that is; those who have taken the ISTD medal tests. Medallist festivals offer lots of different events (up to 100 or more is possible) for different age groups of differing grades. The rules and regulations differ slightly from normal ballroom dance competitions. A medallist festival was last organized in Malaysia in 1994 by Tsen and it is hoped that the festival will be revived soon.

Four dance teachers were presented with mementos by the ISTD in recognition of their contributions and efforts in helping to promote dancing in Malaysia. They were:-

1) Chong Kim Yee - Swan Link Dance Studio, Kuala Lumpur

2) Apache Yong - Le Dance Centre, Petaling Jaya

3) John Chong - John's Dance Centre, Kota Kinabalu

4) Maxine Lau - John's Dance Centre, Kota Kinabalu

Nelly Tsen also took the opportunity to announce the election of Lim Sae Min as the new president of the Malaysian Ballroom Dance Teachers Berhad. Lim, the principal of I Dance Studio in Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya takes over from Jimmy Liew who had helmed the association for a good number of years. After dinner and speeches, it was time for socialising, dancing and karaoke till the wee hours of the morning. A wonderful time was had by all. Those who were seen enjoying themselves that evening included George Lim, the president of Malaysian Dancesport Berhad, C C Lai, the president of Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association and Jimmy Liew, the past president of Malaysian Ballroom Dance Teachers Berhad.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Groove To The Hip Hop Beat At "Tha Groove Session Party"

Urban Groove Dance Network is organizing a "Tha Groove Session Party" this Saturday, November 7 at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA). Do not miss this opportunity to indulge yourself in raw hip hop and funky styles. Watch the dance showcases and performances by students and teachers of Urban Groove.There will also be solo battle sessions for 4 different dance styles: popping, locking, breaking and freestyle hip hop. It will be a fun and exhilirating party for everyone. So spread the word around and make sure you get all your friends to be there! Further details regarding the party is as follows:-

Date: November 7 2009 (Saturday)

Time: 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm

Venue: Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association
Level 2 Indoor Sport Complex, Wisma OCM,
Jalan Hang Jebat,
50150 Kuala Lumpur

Tickets: RM30 for UG students, RM40 for Non-UG students. Avail yourself to free drinks and snacks. There will be no additional charges for battle participants.Tickets are available at all 3 Urban Groove dance studios at:-

1) 45-3 Jalan PJS11/28B, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya

2) 7, 2nd Floor, Jalan 10USJ/1C, 47620 Subang Jaya

3) 31-1 Jalan Prima 7, Pusat Niaga Metro Prima, Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur

For more information regarding this event, kindly call/sms Joel at 012-3896588 or Alyssa at 016-5584466. To know more about Urban Groove, check out their website at

Those who attended the KLDA potluck last Sunday on October 25 were privileged to catch a preview of the hip hop performances by dancers from Urban Groove. Sidney, Ezwan, Joo Neng, Amanda & Lydia from Urban Groove dazzled the crowd with a beautiful hip hop routine. The five hip hoppers had the audience spellbound with their popping, locking and breaking moves. There were some jaw-dropping and eye-popping moments when they executed a couple of somersaults and splits! For those who wish to perform at the potluck Sundays or hold events at the KLDA, kindly contact the president, C C Lai at 012-2029991.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Kazakhstan - A Rising Star in Dancesport

I have heard it through the grapevine that two dancesport couples will be representing Malaysia in the dancesport events at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 30 to November 8 2009. The couples and the events they will be taking part in are: 1) Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan - Ballroom, and 2) Alfred Choo & Carmen Choo - Latin American. Altogether athletes from some 45 Asian countries/regions will be competing in 25 sports in 215 medal events ranging from dancesport, electronic sports, shuttlecock to vovinam (Vietnamese martial arts), among others. This will be the last Asian Indoor Games before it is merged with the Asian Martial Arts Games in 2011.

China and Japan are the dancesport powerhouses in Asia and are expected to dominate the dancesport events at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games. The country to watch is the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan which has a large Russian minority. Russians make up roughly 4.37 million or 28% of the country's estimated population of 15.6 million people. At the dancesport events held at the 2nd Asian Indoor Games in Macau, China in 2007, China headed the medal tally with 6 golds, 7 silvers and 7 bronzes, Japan was in second position with 4 golds, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes, Kazakhstan was third with 2 golds and 3 silvers whilst Thailand came in fourth by taking the remaining bronze.

Dancesport was introduced as a medal event at the 23rd South East Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines in 2005 and also featured in the 24th SEA Games in Thailand in 2007. Thailand and the Philippines have dominated dancesport since its inception in the SEA Games. At the 24th Games, Thailand garnered 8 golds, 6 silvers and 6 bronzes, the Philippines collected 2 golds, 4 silvers and 3 bronzes, whilst Malaysia took the remaining bronze (for Rumba) through Michael Yong & Janet Gooi. Unfortunately, dancesport will not feature in the 25th SEA Games 2009 in Laos. The good news is that dancesport will debut at the 16th Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China in 2010.

Monday, October 19, 2009

9th Sabah Open Dancesport Championship 2009

Imperial Ballroom Dancing School of 1st Floor, Lot 6, Bornion Centre, Jalan Kolam, Luyang, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is organizing the 9th Sabah Open Dancesport Championship 2009. This competition is endorsed by the Malaysian Dancers' Association (MDA). Further details is as follows:-

Date: December 5 2009 (Saturday)

Venue: 1Borneo Ballroom, 1Borneo Hypermall, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Events: Ballroom ~ Modern & Latin - Amateur (Open), Amateur (Malaysia Closed), Pre-Amateur, Novice, Pre-Novice, Senior Over 50, Senior Over 40, Senior Over 40 Rising Star, Junior Under 16, Juvenile Under 13, Juvenile Under 9, Juvenile Beginners Under 12, Juvenile Beginners Under 12 (Sabah Closed), Juvenile Beginners Under 9 (Sabah Closed), Ladies Event, Girls Under 16, Synchronized Dancing, Beginners, Line Dance

Participation: Open To Asia Pacific Countries

Closing Date For Entries: October 31 2009

The Sabah Open Dancesport Championship is an annual event organized to help raise the standard of dancesport in Sabah. Last year's competition saw the participation of about 300 competitors from some 10 countries from the Asia Pacific region. The organizer hopes to attract more competitors from more countries this year and are pulling out all the stops to make this year's event a great success.

The founder and principal of Imperial Ballroom Dancing School is Antony Keung who is actively involved in promoting ballroom dancing in Sabah, the "Land Below The Wind". For more information regarding this championship, kindly contact Antony Keung at telephone nos: 6088-253090, 6019-8213322, fax: 6088-238785 or email:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tango Granted "Intangible Cultural Heritage" Status By UNESCO

The Tango of Argentina and Uruguay has been granted 'intangible cultural heritage' status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at a meeting in Abu Dhabi on September 30 2009. Both these Latin American countries which had laid claim to be the birthplace of the Tango, had earlier set aside their differences and jointly submitted an application for the dance and music to be considered a world cultural treasure. The Argentinean and Uruguayan tradition of the Tango, now familiar around the world was developed by the urban lower classes in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Rio De La Plata Basin during the early 19th century. The Tango was among the 76 elements inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity this year.

Malaysia's cultural heritage did not made it to the list this year. However in 2005, the Mak Yong theatre from Malaysia was granted 'intangible cultural heritage' status by UNESCO. Mak Yong is a traditional Malay art form incorporating elements of dance, acting, opera, vocals, instrumental music and elaborate costumes. All the characters in a Mak Yong are played by women and it is performed mainly for entertainment or for ritual purposes related to healing practices. Mak Yong, which requires years of training, has traditionally been performed in the northern states of Kelantan and Trengganu in Peninsular Malaysia and in the province of Patani in Southern Thailand. Sadly, interest in the Mak Yong is waning and if there are no serious efforts to promote or revive this art form, the Mak Yong may go the way of the dodo soon.

While many folk or traditional dances from various countries have been included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, this is the first time a popular social dance that is, the Tango has been included in the list. Is there a likelihood for the other popular social dances like the Ballroom, Latin American, Salsa, Hip Hop, Line Dance, Belly Dance, etc to follow suit? In order to be considered for inclusion in the list, the dance should have a fairly long and interesting history and 'cultural value'. Most of the popular social dances have a history of less than one hundred years, with the exception of the Waltz and Belly Dance. I believe these are the two dances that could be accorded world cultural heritage status if there are concerted efforts by the countries concerned to have them inscribed in the World Cultural Heritage List.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Pole Dance In 2012 London Olympics?

The Hanging Garden in collaboration with NEO Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge, Time-Out Magazine and Expatriate Lifestyle Magazine is organizing the Pole Idol pole dance competition. Further details is as follows:-

Venue: NEO Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge,
19 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
(Opposite TGIF, next to Wisma KFC)

Dates: October 9 (Friday) & October 10 (Saturday) 2009 - Auditions
October 24 (Saturday) 2009 - Finals

Time: 9.00 pm

Participation: Open to men and ladies

Prizes: Champion - RM3000 and a chance to attend a workshop by world renowned instructor Bobbi of Bobbi's Pole Studio, Australia at the Asian Pole Summit 2009 in Singapore, plus other exciting prizes
1st Runner up: RM1500 plus other exciting prizes
2nd Runner up: RM1000 plus other exciting prizes

No application is necessary. Just turn up at the venue on October 9 or 10 and be prepared to be judged by a special panel of 'experts'. Or you can follow the action at Entrance to watch the competition is free. For more information please contact Maple Loo, the principal of The Hanging Garden at 012-2326482 or You can also check out her website at

Pole dancing is getting very popular around the world and there are efforts to make pole dance an Olympic event. According to a recent Newslite report, a campaign has been launched to make pole dancing an Olympic sport in time for the London 2012 Games. British pole dance instructor K T Coates thinks the discipline should be on a par with rhythmic gymnastics and figure skating. As such, the 32-year old has started an online petition for people who want to see pole dancing or vertical pole recognized as a competitive sport.

More than 2500 people have already signed up and K T hopes her initiative will help remove the stigma attached to pole dance. Speaking about the petition, K T said "Many of us have decided its about time pole fitness is recognised as a competition sport and what better way for recognition than to be part of the 2012 Games. We believe that like rhythmic gymnastics, the horizontal bar and figure skating, pole dance is acrobatic, gymnastic, technical and takes a great deal of physical skill and strength to master, earning it a place in the greatest sporting event in the world."

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> Pole Dance Workshop "The Asian Pole Summit" .....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Magical Merengue Moments

It's been quite a while since I last danced the Merengue so when Eric Tan of Classic Dancesport said that he was starting a Merengue class at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) on Friday evenings, I took the opportunity to join the class as a sort of refresher and also for the fun of it. The Merengue is a happy and lively dance and is one of the easiest social dances to learn. Because of its simple rhythmic structure, the Merengue is a dance you can dance immediately the first time you learn it. It is the national dance of both the Dominican Republic and Haiti and is very popular in the Caribbean and South America. Dominican immigrants to the United States in the early twentieth century also helped to spread the popularity of the dance in the USA.

The commonly used time signature for the Meringue is 4/4, meaning there are 4 beats in a bar of music. The tempo can be very fast, up to 40 bars per minute but it is normally played at 29 - 32 bars per minute. Depending on the figures, the Merengue can be danced in closed position with the man's right leg in between the lady's legs, or in open position. A dance step is taken on each beat of music. Although the tempo may be fast, the upper body is kept upright and stately and figures are usually danced to four-beat counts. Partners may walk sideways, forward & back or circle each other in small steps. Variations include body drops, underarm turns, alternate underarm turns and the more advanced and intricate moves like the double-hand turns & pretzels.

The main characteristic of the Merengue is the Merengue action which is a movement of the hips due to the weight change from one foot to the other when stepping on alternate feet. Often described as being seductively attractive, the Merengue action should however be natural and not appear exaggerated. The Merengue action is also used in some figures in the Latin American dances, like for example in the Chicken Walks in the Jive and the Plait in the Samba. In both these figures the man walks back with a Merengue action while the lady does the Chicken Walks or Plait moving forward. The next time you organize a social event, remember to play some Merengue music and listen to the squeals of delight as the couples Merengue on the dance floor!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

A Discourse On The Foxtrot By Aleksandr And Irina

On August 31 2009, which was the 52nd National Day of Malaysia, some fifteen dance enthusiasts gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) in Wisma OCM at Jalan Hang Jebat, KL to attend a dance workshop conducted by Aleksandr Zhiratkov and Irina Novozhilova of Russia. Aleksandr and Irina who were semi-finalists in the Ballroom Professional event at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2009; had on the evening before, won the Ballroom Professional title at the 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009 held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. There at this championship they swept aside the competition and mesmerized the audience with their dance artistry, dazzling power and fantastic floorcraft.

Aleksandr introduced us to the beauty of the Foxtrot and started off by discussing the character of the Foxtrot and contrasting it with the character of the other ballroom dances. He said the Foxtrot is an exquisite dance and has a happy and carefree character. As a comparison, Aleksandr likened the Foxtrot to a Rolls Royce - a car par excellence. He then mentioned the timing of the Foxtrot. Although the 'standard' timing for the Foxtrot is 1 2 3 4, Aleksandr said he preferred the 2 3 4 1 timing as it gives the dance a better rhythmic interpretation. (I'll have to agree with Aleksandr that the 2 3 4 1 timing gives a more rhythmic expression and I believe many advance dancers use the 2 3 4 1 timing when dancing the foxtrot).

The Feather Step, Reverse Turn and Three Step were demonstrated by Aleksandr. For the Feather Step, the first step on the right foot is taken on count 2. Aleksandr also mentioned the left side lead when taking the second and third steps and when and how to 'square' the body when preparing to dance the next figure. Irina demonstrated to the ladies the footwork of the Feather Step and Three Step. She emphasised the there should be a toe release and that the heel should be 'dragged' along the dance floor when moving back. Irina revealed that a common problem among lady dancers is that they tend to 'fall back' when doing the Three Step. She then proceeded to teach the ladies how to overcome this problem.

Aleksandr and Irina then showed us the posture, hold, shaping and the connection between the partners. They also touched on the topic of lead and follow. Both stressed that the man always leads and the lady always follows. Even in the Reverse Wave (which is basically a Three Step and Feather Step) where the lady moves forward and the man back, it is still the man who does the leading, they emphasised. The above were some of the pointers and gems of wisdom that Aleksandr and Irina imparted to us during the two-hour workshop. As a finale we were treated to a superb performance of the foxtrot by Aleksandr and Irina. It was an afternoon well spent for we learned so much about the foxtrot at this workshop.

Related Post

> Dancing The Foxtrot - Mastering the Feather Step And Three Step

Monday, September 14, 2009

2nd Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2009

SBW Dancesport Centre of 48-39A Jalan Sakeh Baru 1/2, 84000 Muar, Johor, is organizing the 2nd Muar Rising Star Dancesport Championships 2009. The Amateur Closed event in this competition will be used as the national ranking for the 16th Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China in 2010. Further information regarding this competition is as follows:-

Date: November 15 2009 (Sunday)

Venue: SKT Banquet Hall, 68 Jalan Sungai Abong, 84000 Muar

Events: Ballroom Standard & Latin ~ Amateur Open, Amateur Closed (National Ranking), Rising Star, Pre-Amateur, Novice, Senior Over 50, Beginners Senior Over 40, Junior Under 16, Juvenile Under 12, Beginners Juvenile Under 12, Beginners, Ladies Event

Participation: Open To Asian Countries

Closing Date For Entries: October 15 2009

Tickets (inclusive of dinner): RM300, RM180, RM150

For more information kindly contact Siow Boon Wah at tel nos. 019-7745871, 012-6232377, fax: 06-9511069 or email:

Last year's inaugural championships saw the participation of some 200 competitors from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand competing in 22 events. This year, the organizer hopes to attract more than 300 competitors from the Asian countries. Dancesport seems to be catching on in the state of Johor as can be seen from the number of competitions organized in the various towns in the state.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fun Days At The KLDA Potluck Sundays

The Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) organizes a potluck at its premises in Wisma OCM at Jalan Hang Jebat, KL on the last Sunday of every month. The aim of this event which is open to members and non-members is to promote a sense of camaraderie among fellow dancers. These events are well attended by many who come to join in the merriment, partake of the smorgasbord of culinary delights and enjoy themselves on the dance floor. At these afternoon gatherings there will also be dance demonstrations by members and guest performers. The guests who had performed at these gatherings included some well known dance instructors from among the many dance schools in the Klang Valley.

Ming Pang and her group of swingers from KL Swing! introduced us to the American swing dances by showcasing the lindy hop and shim sham at one potluck this year. Timothy Low and his associates from SACAsia Sdn Bhd performed a salsa and promoted their "Salsa Cruise Asia 2009" during one recent event. Last month, we were entertained to bachatango and zouk performances by Jenni Tan and her team from New Star Studio. At this coming potluck on September 27, Sai Mun and his crew from SMASH Studio will be putting up a new jazz dance routine. For those who are interested to perform at the monthly potluck events, please contact C C Lai, the president of the KLDA at 012-2029991.

And talking of performances, the showtime at the "KLDA Gala Ball 2009" which was held at the KLDA on August 8 is the talk of the town amongst the dance fraternity. Due to repeated requests for an encore from those who missed the show, there will be a repeat of the show on September 26 at the same venue. The performances will basically be the same except for a couple of minor changes. This time it will be a no-frills event in which finger food will be served, with free flow of mineral water. As usual, there will be general dancing from 7.00 pm till 12.00 midnight. Tickets priced at RM40 each are available from the KLDA or at the door. For more information kindly call 012-2029991, 016-3226168 or 012-3061051.

Related Post

> Spectacular Showdance Performances At KLDA Gala Ball 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eric Tan See Meng And His Passion For Dancing

Eric Tan See Meng, AISTD BB (shown on the winner's rostrum in image) may come across as an affable and easy going guy, but behind the unassuming demeanour and 163 cm stature lies a person with a deep passion for dancing and a strong determination to succeed, first as a dancer and later as an instructor. Eric took up and fell in love with ballroom and Latin American dancing in Kuala Lumpur about 20 years ago. He was soon hooked on dancing and began to compete in dancesport competitions locally and internationally. His love for dancing has taken him to Austria, China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Australia to compete and perform or to learn from the masters there.

Eric was a former ten-times Malaysian Ballroom Amateur champion, and his competition partners included Yokiko Hori, Jasmine Wang and Ivy Por. After "retiring" from competitive dancing, Eric established Classic Dancesport Studio in 1999 to coach students and to impart his knowledge and skills. Eric presently is based at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) at Level 2, Indoor Sports Complex, Wisma OCM in Jalan Hang Jebat, 50150 Kuala Lumpur where he teaches, ballroom, Latin American, salsa, merengue and bachata. Other than the KLDA, Eric also teaches at the Royal Selangor Club, Royal Lake Club, Royal Selangor Golf Club and some other places. His classes are known to be fun and lively.

As a council member of the Malaysian Dancesport Berhad (MDSB), Eric is actively involved in helping to promote and raise the standard of dancesport in Malaysia. He is often called upon to adjudicate at dancesport competitions and also help out at charity events. Eric confessed to me that the desire to compete still burns strongly inside of him and he misses the thrill of taking part in dancesport competitions. He is presently looking for a partner to compete in the Ballroom Professional or Pro-Am events. The Pro-Am or what is known as the Professional Amateur event is one in which one of the partners is a professional (usually a teacher) whilst the other is an amateur (usually a student). Eric can be contacted at 012-3213083, email:

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Record Entries For 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009

The 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009 which was held on August 30 2009 at the Shangrila Hotel in Kuala Lumpur saw the participation of a record 620 competitors from 14 countries. This competition was also used as a trial to select dancers to represent Malaysia in the dancesport events at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in October 2009. For the first time in this championship, a Malaysian Amateur Ten-Dance event was introduced and the organizer hopes to have this as a permanent item in future competitions. Due to the overwhelming response to, and success of this championship, the organizer, John Lim of World Dance Academy plans to have a bigger 3-day championship cum dance festival next year whereby top coaches from around the world will be invited to come to Malaysia to conduct workshops and lectures.

The most exciting event in this competition was undoubtedly the finals of the Standard Professional Open which was won by Aleksandr Zhiratkov and Irina Novozhilova (aka Popovic) of Russia. Aleksandr and Irina swept aside the competition and mesmerized the audience with their dazzling moves, power and fantastic floorcraft. The couple who are presently dancing for Hong Kong, were semi-finalists in the Ballroom Professional and the runners up in the Ballroom Professional Rising Star events at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2009. Here are the official results of the major events of the 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009. To view the results and images of the events, kindly log on to

Standard - Professional Open

1 Aleksandr Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova (Hong Kong)
2 Stefeno Soldati & Annalisa Longo (Italy)
3 Shui Qing & Ma Yan Yan (China)

Latin - Professional Open

1 Andy Huang & Mandy Yang (Taiwan)
2 Yoshio Hirooka & Tomoko Osanai (Japan)
3 Wei Bin & Liu Xiao Ting (China)

Standard - Amateur Open

1 Wang Chun Yen & Chiang Hsin (Taiwan)
2 Romeo Alfarius Queri & Triska Tan (Singapore)
3 Chalongrat Thienwattanachot & Arissara Sastaravaha (Thailand)

Latin - Amateur Open

1 Dorin Frecautnu & Roselina Doneva (Russia)
2 Loke Tze How & Su Li (Malaysia)
3 Wang Chun Yen & Chiang Hsin (Taiwan)

Malaysian Amateur Ten-Dance

1 Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan (Selangor)
2 Kenneth Tan & Coco Tan (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Louis Haw & Katryn Haw (Sabah)

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Serendipitous Encounter With Felicia

I started this blog in May 2008 partly to promote dancing in Malaysia and partly because I enjoy dancing and blogging. This blog has enabled me to make acquaintances with many dance enthusiasts from around the world. About sixty five percent of the visitors to my blog are from Malaysia and the remaining thirty five percent from overseas, mainly North America, Europe, Australia and South East Asia. Among the regular visitors from overseas are some Malaysians who are working or studying abroad. A few of them have informed me that they follow my blog to keep abreast of the dance scene in Malaysia. Through my blog I had the pleasure of getting to know Dr Felicia Yap, originally from Kuala Lumpur and now domiciled in England.

Felicia, who is a lecturer in history at Wolfson College in the University of Cambridge is an avid ballroom dancer. Sometime last year, Felicia emailed me to inform that she would be back in Malaysia for a holiday in December and enquired about the places in Kuala Lumpur she could go to for some ballroom dancing. I recommended her the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) which has a big dance hall at the Wisma OCM in Jalan Hang Jebat. Unfortunately I was unable to meet up with her at the KLDA then due to some pressing matters I had to attend to. After returning to England, Felicia emailed me to let me know me she had a great time dancing at the KLDA with her partner, Alexander Plekhanov, an economist with a European bank in London.

Sometime in July of this year, Felicia informed me that Alexander and she will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur on August 15 for a holiday and also to compete in the 7th Crystal Dancesport Championship 2009 to be held at the Shangrila Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on August 3oth. She said they will be going to the KLDA on August 16 for a practice session and whether I would be free to meet up with them that day. I did meet up with them this time and we had a cordial tete-a-tete. Felicia and Alexander (image) come across as a tall, matching and attractive dance couple. I kept them posted about the local dance scene, the activities organized by the KLDA, etc. whilst they told me about the dance happenings in the UK, the Blackpool Dance Festival and so on.

Felicia and Alexander have been dancing together since 2004 and they compete regularly in the UK and USA. Both were in the Cambridge Dancesport Team and which recently defeated the Oxford Dancesport Team in the universities' annual dance competition. Felicia and Alexander who were also voted the best couple in the competition are thinking of competing in the Amateur Ballroom event in the Blackpool Dance Festival next year. We at the KLDA were delighted when they performed for us a waltz followed by a foxtrot. We wish Felicia and Alexander all the best and hope they will visit us more often at the KLDA and compete in local dance competitions whenever they are back in Malaysia for a holiday.

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> Spectacular Showdance Performances At KLDA Gala Ball 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aleksandr Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova To Conduct Workshop In Kuala Lumpur

Aleksandr Zhiratkov and Irina Novozhilova of Russia will be in Malaysia to conduct a workshop on ballroom dancing. Further information is as follows:-

Date: August 31 2009 (Monday)

Time: 3.30 to 5.30 pm (2 hours)

Venue: Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA)
Level 2, Indoor Sports Complex,
Wisma OCM,
Jalan Hang Jebat
50450 Kuala Lumpur

Tickets: RM150 (inclusive of refreshments) can be obtained at the

For more details, please contact Janet Lim at 012-3233839

Aleksandr Zhiratkov and Irina Novozhilova have been dancing together in the Ballroom Professional category since 2008 and are registered as a couple in Hong Kong where they are ranked as number 1. They were semi-finalists in the Ballroom Professional event at the Blackpool Dance Festival held in England in May 2009. According to, they are currently ranked number 15 in the world. Their best mark in their database is getting into number 2 in the Professional Rising Star Ballroom event in the 2009 Blackpool Dance Festival.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Sunday, August 23, 2009

16th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2009

Malaysia Dancers Association (MDA) is organizing the 16th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2009. Further details are as follows:-

Date: November 28 2009 (Saturday)

Venue: Bayview Beach Resort, Batu Ferringhi, Penang

Events: Ballroom - Standard & Latin ~ Open Professional (ADC Ranking), Asian Professional Rising Star, Open Amateur, Pre-Amateur, Novice, Senior Over 50, Senior Over 40, Ladies Event, Junior Under 16, Juvenile Under 12, Beginners, Open Pro-Amateur A, Open Pro-Amateur B, Medley Under 16, Salsa, Belly

Participation: Open To The World

The closing date for entries is October 20 2009

Tickets (inclusive of dinner): RM500, RM350, RM300, RM200

The Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship which was inaugurated in 1994 is now into its 16th year of competition. It is one of the most looked-forward to events in the Malaysian dance calendar and attracts top dancers from all over the world. Last year's event drew some 600 competitors from 22 countries. The Ballroom Standard Open Professional title was won by the English couple of Warren Boyce and Christi Boyce. Lu Ning and Zhang Ding Fang from China took the Ballroom Latin Open Professional title. For more information regarding this competition, kindly contact Malaysian Dancers' Association (MDA) at telephone numbers: 6012-4713266, 604-2619547, fax numbers: 604-2619547, 604-2263807, or email: You can also check out their website at

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

"The Merchants Of Bollywood" Enchants

The Merchants of Bollywood - The Musical which premiered on July 14 2009 at the Istana Budaya (National Theatre) in Kuala Lumpur and which ran to packed houses for two weeks, held its last performance on July 26. Those who attended the finale included Her Majesty the Queen of Malaysia Tuanku Nur Zahirah, the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Agriculture & Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Noh Omar and many other dignitaries.

The Merchants of Bollywood is produced by Mark Brady, directed by Toby Gough, with music by AR Rahman and choreographed by leading Bollywood choreographer, Vaibhavi Merchant. Known as the Queen of Romance in the industry, Vaibhavi is from the dynastic family around which the legend of The Merchants of Bollywood is woven. The show has been performed more than 600 times over the past 4 years to rave reviews in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Australia. This is the first time the musical is being staged in Asia. Besides Malaysians, the show also attracted tourists from Europe and the Middle East.

With a storyline revolving around the Merchant family, ambition, sacrifice and love, the musical showcased dances which ranged from Bollywood, Indian traditional, disco, hip hop, street and funk. The cast danced their way into the hearts of the audience with their eclectic routines, colourful costumes and enchanting performances. The audience were caught up with the music and many were seen dancing at their seats and in the aisles to the tunes of It's Time To Disco and Shava Shava just before the curtains came down. After the show, Datin Seri Rosmah went on stage to meet the cast and present bouquets to the lead members as a token of appreciation.

Namaste & Jai Ho,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thriller Fever Sweeps The World!

Fans of Michael Jackson all over the world plan to celebrate what would have been his 51st birthday on Aug 29 by organizing Thriller dance performances as a tribute to the King of Pop. The fans will be doing the zombie dance and recreate the moves from his 1983 mega hit Thriller. Starting in Mexico, the performances will be held in Mexico City at the Zocalo, the city's main square which can reportedly hold up to 100,000 people. The organizers of this event in Mexico City hope to break the official Guiness World Record for simultaneous Thriller dancing set in May 2008 by 242 students in Virginia, USA. Celebrations in honour of Michael Jackson are expected to continue around the world and culminate in a Thrill The World 2009 event to be held on October 25. It would be frightful if this event were to be held on October 31, which is Halloween's Day, instead!

The Thrill The World 2009 event is set to begin at 0030 GMT on October 25 in several countries including Canada, USA, England, Israel , Singapore and Malaysia. This dance festival was started in 2006 by Ines Markeljevic of Canada, a dance choreographer and diehard fan of Michael Jackson. The first event which was held in Toronto attracted 62 dancing zombies and set a Guiness World Record for Thriller dancing. The following year, the event drew 1722 participants in 52 cities from around the world. Last year's event attracted 4179 dancers from 72 locations in 10 countries, namely Canada, USA, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia! However, according to the organizers, it is not recognized as the the largest by Guiness as it did not adhere to specific guidelines laid down by Guiness.

The organizers of Thrill The World 2009 hopes to unite the world through the joy of zombie dancing. Participants are encouraged to turn their local Thrill The World gatherings into fund-raising or charity events. already lists 74 registered dance locations for this year's event and are hoping to set a new Guiness World Record by drawing an astounding 270,000 dancing zombies worldwide! The Thrill The World 2009 event is set to begin at 8.30 am local time on October 25 in Malaysia and Singapore. Please however reconfirm the time and locations with the organizers. Speaking of world records, do you know what is the record for the world's largest simultaneous dancing? The current Guiness World Record is 197,569 elementary school students dancing the hokey-pokey in 681 locations across Canada on March 22 2002!

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> A Legend Passes Away But Lives On In Our Hearts - Tribute To Michael Jackson

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spectacular Showdance Performances At KLDA Gala Ball 2009

More than 350 people turned up at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) Gala Ball 2009 which was held at its premises at Wisma OCM in Kuala Lumpur on August 8. Among those who were present that evening were Datuk Sieh Kok Chi the Honorary Secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Datuk Cheong Siew Kai the patron of the KLDA, Barry Winters renowned ballroom dancer from England, and several well known dance teachers from among the many dance schools in Malaysia. While having their dinner at the Fame Hall, the guests were entertained to Chinese traditional music by the Dunhuang Ensemble. After dinner, the guests proceeded to the Superstar Hall for general dancing to ballroom, Latin American, salsa, merengue and bachata music.

In his welcome speech, C C Lai, the president of the KLDA thanked the guests for their patronage and continuous support. He said that the money collected from this event will be channeled to the KLDA Scholarship Project which was set up to assist young talented dancers who are members of the KLDA by way of subsidizing their dance lesson fees. With this intiative it is hoped that more youth would be encouraged to join the KLDA. After the speech, it was time for the show to begin. The show started with a Malay traditional dance by C K Lee and his wife Elayne. Dancing an inang to the tune of Inang Cina, the couple incorporated elements of ballroom and Latin American styles in their routine, in a dance meant to symbolize unity in diversity.

The next event was a wonderful Viennese waltz performance by Samuel Sum & Chew Su Fen. Samuel and Su Fen were one of five couples in the Viennese Ball 2008 Kuala Lumpur chosen to attend the Vienna Opera Ball in Austria in February 2009. Rising stars Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan then glided onto the dance floor to fascinate the audience with their foxtrot. It was then time for a ballroom formation dance. The five couples calling themselves "Happy Feet" performed a simple yet lovely medley of the waltz and tango with choreography by Eric Tan See Meng. The following two Latin American dances, a rumba by Alfred Choo & Carmen Choo and the jive by Vernon Choo & Cheah Yen Thing had by then raised the temperature in the dance hall by a few degrees!

Japanese expatriates, Mr and Mrs Osamu Sakai then mesmerized the audience with their beautiful waltz and tango performance. Lim Sae Min next took to the floor to sing Edleweiss while his partner Nathalee Owyang did a ballet routine and handed out roses to the ladies. Sae Min and Nathalee (image above) then executed a potpourri of dances such as the waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz and polka to songs from The Sound of Music. Alfred, Carmen, Vernon and Yen Thing returned to sizzle the dance floor with a paso doble. Samuel & Su Fen also came back to delight the audience with a quickstep. This was followed by two line dance performances: one by the Dance Habitat Dancers led by the emcee Bronya Bishorek, and a solo by Sae Min.

David Chieng brought the house down with his slick impersonation of Michael Jackson. Dancing to Michael's hit Dangerous, David thrilled the crowd with the moves MJ was famous for: the slides, fast multiple swivels and of course the moonwalk. The finale to the show was an explosive Latin formation dance performance by five young couples known as the "KLDA Idols". The high energy routine which was choreographed by Dean Craig Kim of South Korea was an interesting mix of the cha cha cha, rumba, jive, samba and jazz. What an awesome show it was! One guest who enjoyed it so much suggested that the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association rebrand the show as "KLDA - The Musical" and stage it at the Istana Budaya (National Theatre)!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mason Wins "So You Think You Can Dance Season 5" Competition

The finale of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) America Season 5 was telecast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles on August 5 & 6. The host for the show was the bubbly Cat Deeley, and judges were Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Mia Michaels, Tyce Dioro, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen and Lil' C. Competiting in the finale were the top 4 finalists, namely, Jeanine Mason, Brandon Bryant, Evan Kasprzak and Kayla Radomski.

Jeanine Mason, a 18 year old contemporary dancer from Pinecrest, Florida was voted as the winner of So You Think You Can Dance America Season 5. With that she also won the title of America's Favorite Dancer as well as a cash prize of US$250,000. During the finale, Jeanine performed two jazz routines, a contemporary dance, the paso doble and a solo in her own style. The runner up was Brandon with Evan and Kayla coming in third and fourth respectively.

The dances that were performed during Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance America included ballroom (waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango & Viennese waltz), Latin American (cha cha cha, rumba, jive, samba & paso doble), hip hop, contemporary, Broadway, jazz, disco, Argentine tango, Bollywood, pas de deux and Russian folk dance. This is the second time the Bollywood dance and pas de deux are making an appearance in this TV reality dance competition.

These two dances were introduced during Season 4 of SYTYCD in 2008 and were one of the most memorable dances of that season. The Russian folk dance was showcased for the first time in this season of SYTYCD. Surprisingly,the American swing dances, mambo and the krump which were shown in previous seasons and which were highly entertaining were not shown this time around. Season 6 of SYTYCD will premiere on September 16 2009.

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> "Jai Ho" To The Finalists Of So You Think You Can Dance America Season 5

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dancing The Waltz With Style And Technique

The Waltz is a popular social dance and is the dance many beginners of ballroom dancing would usually want to learn first and which most ballroom dance instructors would start teaching to beginners anyway. The Waltz had its origins in the 18th century Austrian folk dance known as the Landler and which had evolved into the Modern Waltz as we know it today. In 1921, a conference of dance teachers was held in London, England to discuss issues affecting the Waltz which had seen a decline in popularity then. At this conference the standard "walk-side-close" technique was adopted. Because these fundamental developments of the Waltz took place in England, the Standard Waltz is sometimes also known as the English Waltz.

The time signature for the Waltz is 3/4, meaning there are three beats in a bar of music. The first beat is accented and the tempo is normally played at 30 bars a minute. Each step of the Basic Waltz equals one beat of music. The basic rhythm is counted as 1, 2, 3 and corresponds with the "walk-side-close" movements of the Basic Waltz. The Waltz is characterized by a rise and fall action of the dance. Rise and fall is the elevation and lowering which the dancer feels as he or she moves onto the toes of a foot and then relaxes through the knee, ankle and toes to end on a flat foot. The rise must be gradual and felt throughout the dance; the full extent of the rise being reached when the feet are closed on the third step.

When dancing the Waltz, it should be remembered that the first step is the strong step, meaning your whole weight should be on that foot, whether it is the right or left. Some dance teachers even mention that when dancing the first step you should feel as if you are pressing down onto the dance floor with all your strength. The first step should not be too big because if you take too big a first step you will have difficulty doing a wide second step. The closing of the feet on the third step must be controlled by keeping the inside edge of the toe on the closing foot pressed gently to the floor. It should never be lifted and allowed to close quickly. The closing of the feet should be neat, with the feet placed together and in line with each other.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Elvis Presley Remembered

Fans of Elvis Presley across the world will be pulling out all the stops at events to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of his death, come August 16. It was on this date in 1977 that Elvis passed away at the age of 42. There will of course be the candlelight vigil at Graceland in Memphis, United States of America where the King of Rock 'N' Roll was laid to rest. Thousands of fans will be flocking to Graceland for the pilgrimage that day. All over the world, Elvis impersonators will be coming out in full force to sing his songs and imitate his dance moves at many Elvis Tribute Artistes events. In the United States there is even an Elvis cruise which will sail from Tampa, Florida to Cozumel in Mexico.

Over here in Malaysia between fifteen to twenty of Malaysia's own Elvis Tribute Artistes will be gathering at the Ol Skool Bistro at 125 Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, (telephone: 016-2066444) on August 16 to perform and pay homage to the greatest singer and entertainer of them all. Ol Skool Bistro, situated opposite the EPF Building is a favourite hangout and watering hole for the fans of Elvis. The tribute to Elvis has sort of become an annual event here. The festivities which will kick off at 3.00pm and continue till 3.00 am the next morning will bring together Elvis impersonators from Penang, Melaka, Seremban, Selangor and Sarawak who will be belting out the songs of Elvis from the 1950s to the 1970s.

I remembered that an Elvis Presley impersonation competition was held at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur a couple of months after Elvis passed on. The event attracted about a dozen Elvis wannabes. Rocky Teoh, the then reigning Elvis Presley of Malaysia, was there as a guest artiste. The contestants who took part in the competition were actually quite good. Not only did they sing like Elvis, some even looked like Elvis from afar! The competition was won by Eddie Francis who did a mean impression of the King. After Eddie won the competition, he received so many offers to perform at functions and events that he resigned from his job to become a full time Elvis impersonator.

Back then during the 1970s, there was an Elvis Presley Fan Club which had its headquarters at a bungalow at 1 Jalan Sultan Ismail in KL. I went once to this place to have a chat with William Honda Tan, the president of the club. William knew Elvis like the back of his hand and regaled me with interesting snippets about Elvis. He also showed me his collection of Elvis records. William used to organize bashes on the anniversary of Elvis's birth or death and he would often turn up at these functions in his jumpsuit complete with cape, scarve and sunglasses, a la Elvis. The bungalow at 1 Jalan Sultan Ismail is there no more. It was reported that William left the building sometime in the 1990s to join Elvis.

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