Sunday, June 28, 2009

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

The first performance show - the "Top 20" episode of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) America Season 5 was aired over Fox TV on June 10. The top 20 finalists - 10 guys and 10 girls were chosen from thousands of hopefuls from auditions held in 6 cities, namely; New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Memphis and Seattle. The winner of this competition will take home a cash prize of US$250,000 and the title of "America's Favourite Dancer". Cat Deeley returns as the host for this season. The panel of judges will comprise of Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy plus a guest judge during each episode. Well known choreographer and director Adam Shankman was the guest judge in this episode. The 20 finalists who had been paired into 10 couples, performed the following dances:-

1 Philip Chbeeb & Jeanine Mason - Hip Hop

2 Vitolio Jeune & Asuka Kondoh - Broadway

3 Jonathan Platero & Karla Garcia - Cha Cha Cha

4 Evan Kasprzak & Randi Evans - Jazz

5 Tony Bellissimo & Paris Torres - Hip Hop

6 Jason Glover & Caitlin Kinney - Bollywood

7 Brandon Bryant & Janette Nanrara - Broadway

8 Kupono Aweau & Ashley Valerio - Jazz

9 Ade Obayoni & Melissa Sandvig - Contemporary

10 Max Kapitannikov & Kayla Radomski - Samba

Couple number 6, Jason Glover & Caitlin Kinney performed a Bollywood dance routine to Jai Ho, the theme song from the hit movie "Slumdog Millionaire". The couple performed a physically demanding routine which won praises from the judges. Adam Shankman couldn't hide his excitement and shouted "You guys rocked!" He was also impressed with Jason's dance artistry and called him "a little force of nature in this competition". Mary Murphy commended Caitlin on her strength in doing the headstand. The Bollywood dance routine was introduced during Season 4 of SYTYCD and was one of the most memorable dances of the season. America seems to be falling in love with Bollywood. Jai Ho (may victory be yours) to the finalists of So You Think You Can Dance!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Results Of The 1st Melaka Dancesport Championships 2009

Thailand showed her prowess in dancesport by winning several events at the 1st Melaka Dancesport Championships 2009 held on June 14 at the Sekolah Menegah Pay Fong, Melaka. Thai competitors clinched the first 3 placings in the Grade A Open Latin event and took first and third positions in the Grade A Open Standard. To add to their haul, Thailand also grabbed the first 3 spots in the Junior Under-16 Standard event and first place in the Juvenile Under-12 Latin. Guest performers and SEA Games gold medallist winners Wachanakorn & M L Warapan from Thailand, put on a scintillating display of Latin showdance to add to Thailand's night of glory.

Here are the official results of some of the events of the 1st Melaka Dancesport Championships 2009 organized by YS Dancesport Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The results of the Grade A Closed events will be used by the Malaysian Dancesport Berhad (MDSB) as the national ranking for the 3rd Asian Indoor Games 2009 to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam and the 16th Asian Games 2010 in Guangzhou, China.

Grade A Open Standard

1 Apichai Promboon & Pakaorn Kuituan - Thailand
2 Romeo Alfarius Queri & Triska Tan - Singapore
3 Phongsak Patumsrivirot & Manasawee Karaisri - Thailand

Grade A Open Latin

1 Bundit Chaimuti & Nethathai Chaimuti - Thailand
2 Thiarawit Bupphare & Wassita Riyapan - Thailand
3 Kittipat Sakulpat & Krittaporn Manasuth - Thailand

Grade A Closed Standard

1 Wilson Chew & Michelle Hong - Kuala Lumpur
2 Jimmy Yap & Sylvia Yeoh - Selangor
3 Lee Keng Lek & Leong Kah Man - Melaka

Grade A Closed Latin

1 Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan - Selangor
2 Ryan Pang & Shireen Pang - Perak
3 Chan Chian Sing & Villy Chai - Melaka

Master 1 Standard

1 Andrew Yow & Rita Rahardja - Indonesia
2 Jason Wong & Rachel Wong - Singapore
3 Tay Kim Teck & Tay Kah Nai - Singapore

Master 1 Latin

1 Wilfred Glenn Sto Dominico & Gilda C Lim - Philippines
2 Bryan Tan & Nancy Liow - Malaysia
3 Steven Chai & Hitomi Poh - Malaysia

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pole Dancers Perform For Charity

Viva Vertical ( recently organized a pole dance competition called "Pole Stars", to promote pole dancing and at the same time raise funds for the Women's Aid Organization and World Wildlife Fund. The organizers of this competition which is open to both female and male pole dancers, hoped to showcase the two popular styles of pole dancing - Fit Pole and Exotic Pole. Preliminary judging was based on video entries submitted online. Of some 50 entries received, 10 contestants - 9 girls and 1 guy were eventually chosen for the finals.

The finals of the competition was held on June 6 at Saigon Bar in One Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. The finalists were required to perform a solo self-choreographed routine. In the Fit Pole category, the champion was Curtney Wee Hooi Shee (picture) who won a RM2000 cash prize plus other prizes worth RM3000. Wee, who hails from Kuala Trengganu has a background in ballet and contemporary Chinese and Malay contemporary dances and took up pole dancing only 3 months ago. The runner up was John Ti Yi Hong who has been pole dancing since July last year.

Kerry Ann Khoo, a professional dancer with Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical was adjudged the winner in the Exotic Pole Category. Khoo said she never took any formal pole dance lessons and had to learn to choreograph the routine herself. Second place went to Monique Milan who started pole dancing in February. The guest performer at the event was Fiona-Jane Gomez who was one of the judges of the competition. Gomez, a dance instructor as well as a director of Talent Hub, mesmerized the crowd with her dazzling pole dance performance.

Last year, Clorets organized the 1st Malaysia Amateur Pole Dance Competition. The competition attracted a remarkable 75 entries, out of which 15 contestants: 13 ladies and 2 guys were selected for the finals. Dance instructor Lilli Ussaraporn Kosin emerged as the eventual winner at the finals which was held at Zouk Club Kuala Lumpur on September 15. She bagged a RM5000 cash prize and a one-year gym membership with Celebrity Fitness. It seems there won't be a 2nd Malaysia Amateur Pole Dance Competition this year. Which is such a pity really!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tango With Eva & Patricio In Kuala Lumpur

The Tango Club of Kuala Lumpur is organizing an "Extended Weekend Tango With Patricio & Eva" workshop from June 19 - 21 and a "Stars of ZAIA" Grand Milonga on June 20. Both these events will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) at Wisma OCM in Jalan Hang Jebat. Private tango lessons with either Patricio or Eva will also be held at Piso Tango on June 22 and 23. Patricio Touceda and Eva Lucero from Argentina have been dancing and teaching together for several years and had been performing the Argentine Tango in the Cirque du Soleil Show at the Venetian Hotel in Macau. The married couple are now holidaying their way home and KL will be one of their stops where they will be teaching and performing.

The Argentine Tango was first "introduced" to Malaysia 6 years ago by Marguerite Brodie, an accomplished social dancer, performer and teacher. It was through her efforts and dedication that the Tango Club of Kuala Lumpur was formed in 2003. The nascent group of tangueros and tangueras initially danced and practised at Little Havana in Bukit Ceylon. In the years gone by, the Tango setting in KL has developed from an easy beginner's class to weekly Practicas, spontaneous Sundays potluck Milonguitas, and monthly Milongas held at various locations in KL. The Tango Club of Kuala Lumpur also organized the First International Kuala Lumpur Tango Festival in 2008 followed by the second one in 2009.

Little Havana is presently undergoing renovations but the Wednesday class and Practilonga will continue at The Magnificent Fish & Chips Bar at 28 (Upstairs), Cangkat Bukit Bintang. Tango lessons are also being conducted at Frangipani Restaurant & Bar at 25 Cangkat Bukit Bintang and at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) in Wisma OCM, Jalan Hang Jebat. Guided practicas conducted by Andreas Lehrke are also held almost every Saturday afternoons from 4.00 to 6.00 pm at Piso Tango in 10-6 Menara Bukit Ceylon, 2 Jalan Ceylon. For more information regarding the schedules and events, check out

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Billy Elliot The Musical" Named "Best Musical" At 63rd Tony Awards Ceremony

Billy Elliot The Musical was the toast of Broadway when it won 10 Tonys at the annual 63rd Tony Awards ceremony held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, USA on June 7. Billy Elliot was voted Best Musical, and the three teenage actors who play the title role - David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, were all named Best Actor in a musical, the first time three actors have shared an award. "We want to say to all the kids out there who might want to dance, never give up" Kulish remarked after receiving the award. The musical is based on the critically acclaimed movie about the trials and tribulations of a miner's ballet-dancing son in a coal mining town in Northeast England. Singer and composer Sir Elton John, who suggested the film be adapted for theatre, wrote the music for the production.

Billy Elliot is the triumphant tale of one young boy who reaches beyond his place in the world to follow his heart's desire. It is the heartwarming story of eleven-year-old Billy Elliot from a working-class family who discovers a passion that will change his life forever. Billy is being taken by his miner father for boxing lessons when he stumbles upon a ballet class. Billy secretly joins the class and his raw talent takes flight under the guidance of his teacher Mrs Wilkinson. But when his father discovers his son's ambitions, Billy must fight for his dreams and destiny. Billy Elliot is a joyous, exciting and feel-good celebration of one boy following his heart and making his dreams come true. I especially like the tagline of the movie - "Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it!"

The Tony Awards were established in 1947 and are named for Antoinette Perry, whose nickname was Toni. Perry who passed away in 1946 was an actress, stage director, philanthropist, and a founder of the American Theatre Wing. The Tonys are presented by The Broadway League (formerly known as the League of American Theatres and Producers) and the American Theatre Wing and are voted by around 750 people from the entertainment and press industries - from actors to producers, directors and journalists. There are presently 27 categories of awards plus, several special awards. The Broadway League estimates that the 39 theatres in the famous district contribute about $5.1 billion (RM18 billion) per year, on top of ticket sales to the economy of New York and support 44,000 jobs.

Best Wishes As Usual,

Dance Aficionado
Dancesport Malaysia

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Riverdance Artiste On Doomed Air France Flight 447

Brazilian and French search ships in the Atlantic Ocean about 650 km (400 miles) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast have recovered more bodies near the spot where the Air France Airbus A330 is believed to have gone down more than a week ago. Air France Flight 447 disappeared and likely broke up in mid-air in turbulent weather May 31 during a flight from Rio De Janeiro to Paris with 228 people aboard - now all presumed dead, and making it the world's worst air disaster since 2001. Among the 216 passengers on Flight 447 were 61 French nationals, 58 Brazilians, 26 Germans, 9 Chinese and 9 Italians. A lesser number of citizens from 27 other countries were on the passenger list including 2 Americans and 3 Irish lasses.

The 3 young Irish doctors, Aisling Butler 26, Jane Deasy 27 and Eithne Walls 28, all close friends, were enjoying a two-week vacation together in Brazil. They had boarded the flight from Rio De Janeiro to Paris after a reunion with a larger group of alumni who had graduated in 2007 from Trinity College Medical School, Dublin. Walls (picture above) was working in the Eye And Ear Hospital in Dublin. Before embarking on her medical studies she worked full-time as a dancer in the famed Riverdance troupe in 1998 and continued to perform part-time during her six years in medical school. Messages of condolences for Walls have poured in on the internet and Riverdance website, and the family of Walls intends to hold a memorial service in Northern Ireland to honour her.

Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish step dancing, notable for its fast and intricate leg movements while the body and arms are kept largely stiff. Riverdance was first performed as an interval act during the Eurovision Song Festival in Dublin in 1994 where the dancers took the stage by storm and brought with them an energy and sensuality never seen before in Irish dance. The first full length performance of Riverdance premiered at the Point Theatre in Dublin on February 9 1995. The show has since been performed around the world to rave reviews. Currently there are 3 Riverdance troupes performing around the world - one playing Ireland each summer, one touring North America, and a third company touring Europe and the rest of the world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Can't Stop The Lindy Hop - A Tribute to Lindy Hop Legend Frankie Manning

Dancers from around the world gathered recently in New York, USA from May 21-25 to pay tribute to legendary Lindy Hop dancer, the late Frankie Manning (image) who would have been 95 on May 26. Manning who passed away from complications of pneumonia on April 27 2009 at Lennox Hill Hospital, New York was considered the world's authority on the Lindy Hop. Held over the Memorial Day weekend, the FrankieFest '95 included social dancing, tribute performances, video presentations, panel discussions, walking tours, workshops conducted by internationally acclaimed teachers, and a Hellzapoppin' dance competition.

Frankie Manning was born in Jacksonville, Florida on May 26 1914 and moved to Harlem with his family when he was 3. He was a leading dancer at the legendary Harlem's Savoy Ballroom where during the swing dance era in the mid-1930s, he revolutionized the Lindy Hop with his innovations including the Lindy air step, also known as an "aerial" and synchronized ensemble Lindy routine. As a featured dancer and choreographer he performed in several films including Hellzapoppin' (1941), and entertained on stage with jazz greats like Ethel Waters, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway.

When interest in swing dancing began to wane in the 1950s, Manning took a job in the Post Office where he worked for 30 years until his rediscovery by a group of swing dance enthusiasts in the mid-1980s. Since then he was much sought after to teach, choreograph and perform globally. In 1994, a weekend-long celebration was held in the Big Apple to commemorate his 80th birthday. For his 86th birthday, a gala was held in Tokyo, Japan in his honor which included workshops conducted by the master Lindy Hopper himself. Manning was actively dancing until last year, when he fell during an overseas trip and suffered lingering complications.

The Lindy Hop was a huge phenomenon during the swing era (1920s to 1940s) just as Hip Hop is today. We are seeing a resurgence of interest in this dance in this part of the world too. Here in Malaysia, KL Swing! in Kuala Lumpur and Outcast Dance Studio in Petaling Jaya conducts Lindy Hop classes. Down south in Singapore, Lindy Hop has caught on there, with dance studios like Jitterbugs Swingapore and JAZZ INC actively promoting this swing dance. Manning had made several visits to Singapore, his last one being in 2008 for the SEA (South East Asia) Jam. Rest in peace, Manning. You will be dearly missed.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Street Dancers "Diversity" Win "Britain's Got Talent" Final

Street dancers Diversity were the surprise winners of the Britain's Got Talent 2009 Final held in London, England on May 30. Formed in 2007, the group of 11 dancers hail from Dagenham, a suburban town in east London. The multi-ethnic troupe consists of three sets of brothers aged between 12 to 25 and they were the UK Street Dance Champions 2007. Diversity showcased a street dance routine choreographed by 20-year-old Ashley Banjo. Judge Simon Cowell described their performance as "utter perfection". "If I had to give marks on that, that is the only performance tonight I would want to give a 10 to" Cowell added. Diversity won the top prize money of 100,000 pounds (RM565,00) and an invitation to perform before Queen Elizabeth in the Royal Variety Performance in December.

Susan Boyle who was the favorite to win the competition came in second. For the final she reprised the song she had sung in the audition and which had made her famous - I Dreamed A Dream from the musical Les Miserables. Putting behind her jitters and less than perfect rendition of Memory in the semi-final last weekend, Boyle put on a polished and perfect performance this time. Judge Piers Morgan called it "the greatest performance I have seen in the history of Britain's Got Talent - you should win the competition, I loved it". Fellow judge Amanda Holden said, "I have never heard such powerful, confident vocals". Following her performance, a bashful Boyle who wore a modest grey sequined long dress said she wanted to thank people for all the support they had given her.

Britain's Got Talent has been seen by millions of viewers around the world. Besides actress Demi Moore and rock star Jon Bon Jovi who are fans of Susan Boyle, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson also watched this show. Jackson was so thrilled with the win by Diversity that he now wants them to join him on stage in his upcoming This It It UK shows. It means that Diversity could be dancing alongside the Thriller star who is set to play 50 live gigs at the O2 Arena in London beginning next month. Jackson's performances are as much about the dancing as they are his singing and Diversity could add to the magic and help pull in the crowds. Choreographer Kenny Ortega (who will be directing the remake of Footloose) who is putting together the This Is It show is also keen to include Diversity in Jackson's show.

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