Monday, January 25, 2010

Training To Be A Dance Teacher

In October of last year, eleven students of Swan Link Dance Studio in Kuala Lumpur took their professional dance teacher examinations conducted by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), United Kingdom. Of this number, 4 (myself included) took the Ballroom Associate and 1 the Latin American Associate examinations. The rest took the Fellowship examinations - 5 in Ballroom and 1 in Latin American. This was the first time in Malaysia that so many candidates are being examined for the ISTD Fellowship examinations. The examiners from the ISTD were Richard Hunt, Vice Chairman of the Modern Ballroom Faculty (pic, 6th from right) and Yvonne Taylor-Hill, Chairman of the Disco/Freestyle/Rock 'n' Roll Faculty (pic, 4th from left). All but one passed the examinations. The successful candidates were informed by the examiners that the grades and detailed results would be posted to us as soon as possible. It certainly was good news and brightened our day!

Last week I received official confirmation from the ISTD that I had passed (highly commended) the Ballroom Associate examination. Looking back, the training leading up to the examination was tough but rewarding. Those who had signed up with Swan Link Dance Studio for the teacher training courses last year had to commit themselves to attending 60 hours of intensive training under the tutelage of the principal, Chong Kim Yee. The course began in April 2009 and was spread over 20 weekly lessons of 3 hours each. For the Ballroom Associate examination, we had to learn to dance perfectly well the bronze syllabus figures for the Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Foxtrot. We also had to memorize the technical details of each figure, that is; the Feet Positions, Alignment, Amount of Turn, Rise and Fall, Footwork, Sway and CBM. The training included explanations of musical nomenclature such as time signatures, tempi, counting in beats and bars and beat values.

During the Ballroom Associate examination proper, the examinees had to perform routines of the four above-mentioned dances plus the rhythm dance. This was followed by general questions on dance terminology such as poise, hold, CBM and CBMP. The examinees were then required to demonstrate the figures or amalgamations as set by the examiner and answer questions like the alignment, footwork, amount of turn, precedes and follows, etc. for each figure. Frankly, it was a gruelling one-and-a-half hour session of non-stop questions-and-answers 'interrogation' and demonstrations but I was glad I made it through. Swan Link Dance Studio which is located at 4th Floor, Wisma Ho Po, 65 Cangkat Thambi Dollah, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur (behind Berjaya Times Square) will be conducting some teacher training courses again this year. For more information regarding the courses, kindly contact Chong Kim Yee at 012-2215727 or email:

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Jubilations At World Dance Academy 10th Anniversary Celebrations

World Dance Academy (WDA) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala dinner and dance at the Royal Selangor Club at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur on January 10 2010. More than 200 guests turned up to congratulate the co-principals John Lim and his wife Joanne Leong on the auspicious occasion. At the same time they also took the opportunity to wish John, whose birthday incidentally falls on January 10, a "Happy 66th Birthday". The evening began with a welcoming speech by John and the presentation of certificates to the students of WDA who had taken the medal tests conducted by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD) as well as the teacher examinations conducted by the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA).

As dinner was being served, the students of WDA took their turns to entertain the guests with their Ballroom, Latin American and Argentine Tango dances. Among the performers were Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan, the current Malaysia Ten Dance Champions who enthralled the audience with their Waltz, Tango, Cha Cha Cha and Rumba routines. Siblings Kenneth & Coco Tan who performed a Quickstep were a delight to watch. With their elegant poise and fluid movements, I believe they can go far. The show ended with guest performances by 2 couples from the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association: Vernon Choo & Cheah Yen Thing who showcased an energetic Jive, and Alfred Choo & Cecilia Yong who sizzled the floor with their Salsa. Alfred and Cecilia who paired up only recently are certainly one couple to watch!

World Dance Academy which is located at 25-2 Jalan SS23/11, Taman SEA, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor was established in 2000 by John Lim and Joanne Leong. Both were avid ballroom dance competitors and who are now actively involved in the promotion of dancesport as teachers, organizers of dance competitions & events and also as adjudicators. The annual Crystal Dancesport Championship organized by WDA is one of the looked-forward to events in the Malaysia dance calendar. This year's 8th Crystal Dancesport Championship 2010 to be held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on August 29 promises to be bigger and better than the one held last year. To know more about WDA, contact John Lim at 012-2120326, email: or check out their website at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Amy Dancesport Centre Opens In KL Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park

With her bubbly personality and friendly disposition, Amy Lee Ai Mei comes across as an amicable and gregarious person when you meet her for the first time. The petite Amy was born and grew up in the idyllic seaside town of Port Dickson in the state of Negri Sembilan, about an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur. During her teenage years, Amy took up and fell in love with Latin American dancing. She was soon competing in dancesport competitions in the Asean region with her partner Sidney Wong and winning numerous championships along the way. After winning the South East Asia Professional Latin American title in 1996, Amy soon decided to give up competitive dancing and devote herself full-time to coaching.

Amy then joined her husband Lee Yoke Seong, better known as Y S Lee at his dance school - Y S Dancesport Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Established in 1989 and presently located in Menara UE3 along Jalan Loke Yew in Cheras, Y S Dancesport Centre was one of the earliest dance schools in Kuala Lumpur. It has over the years built up a reputation for training and producing many Latin American dance champions. Y S and Amy have nurtured many of their students into winners and also regularly organize dance competitions in Malaysia. With many of her students constantly urging her to set up another dance studio in the Klang Valley, Amy recently decided to open "Amy Dancesport Centre" in the suburb of Kuchai in Kuala Lumpur.

More than 100 of Amy's friends, students and well wishers turned up to congratulate her at the opening of her new dance studio at No. 1-29 Jalan Kuchai Maju 1, Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur on January 3 2010. The studio is situated along the same row as Maybank, opposite Old Town Cafe. There was general dancing as well as performances by many of Amy's students at the function. Amy also performed a Rumba with her former student Steven Loh. A jolly good time was had by all. Amy Dancesport Centre is having a special promotion for the month of January. For more information regarding her classes, kindly contact Amy at 012-3018668 or email:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association Hosts Year-End Open House

Some 200 people attended the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) Year-End Open House held at its premises in Wisma OCM along Jalan Hang Jebat on December 27. Among those present were Datuk Sieh Kok Chi - Honorary Secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Datuk Cheong Siew Kai - Patron of the KLDA, Datuk Dr Lim Teong Wah - President of the Royal Selangor Club and Teh Keng Hong - President of the Kuantan Dancing Association. C C Lai, the President of the KLDA and ever-gracious host, was at the door to welcome the guests and chat with them. Everyone present had a wonderful time enjoying the company of friends, dancing and watching the performances.

Members of the KLDA entertained the audience with Ballroom, Latin American, Salsa, Hip Hop, Zouk and Argentine Tango performances. Among the performers was Cecilia Yong (pic), the winner of So You Think You Can Dance Malaysia 2008. Dancing a Samba with Alfred Choo, the couple moved effortlessly around the dance floor to wild applause from the audience. South Korean dance instructor Dean Craig Kim who coaches at the KLDA, and his wife Justin mesmerized the crowd with their slick and sultry Argentine Tango routine. Their performance was so electrifying that one of Justin's high kicks accidentally hit a lamp shade overhanging the dance floor! Fortunately, no one was hurt or anything broken.

In spite of the economic slowdown, the year 2009 had surprisingly been a good one for the KLDA. There was a marked increase in the youth membership with many of the youth coming regularly to the KLDA to practise and take dance lessons. More dance classes are being offered at the KLDA now and a few well-known teachers from overseas had also been invited to conduct classes and workshops there. Social events like the potlucks and performances held on the last Sunday of every month attracted big crowds. There was also the spectacular KLDA Gala Ball 2009 where the members put up a dazzling and very entertaining show. The KLDA has in plan, many interesting and exciting events for year 2010.