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!

Related Post

> 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.