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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