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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