Monday, April 26, 2010

Dance Scene In Hong Kong

Recently I visited, the website of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) to browse through the results of the Dance Teacher Examinations for 2009. I was interested to know the number of successful candidates from Asia in the Ballroom and Latin American dance styles. Last year, the three largest number of successful candidates from Asia in these dance styles came from Hong Kong, South Korea and China. The ISTD Dance Teacher Examinations seem to be getting very popular in Hong Kong, a former British colony and now a Special Administrative Region of China.

In status-conscious Hong Kong, dancing is a much sought after social skill. Hong Kongers are willing to pay good money to engage the services of top dancers to coach them and take part with them in Pro-Am events in dance competitions. A few years ago it was reported in the media that a female banker there had in 2004 agreed to pay a former world Latin champion and her husband a whopping HK $120 million for ten years of unlimited dance lessons and competitions. Apparently they had a falling out in 2006 and the banker then sued for the return of HK $62 million in advance payment.

Among the dance maestros who had teaching stints in Hong Kong are Gaynor Fairweather, who together with her previous partner Donnie Burns were 14-times winners of the Professional World Latin Championships, which is a world record and former 9-times Professional World Latin Champions Bryan Watson & Carmen Vincelj. The other recent notables include 2009 Blackpool Professional Ballroom semi-finalists Aleksandr Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova and Professional Latin American quarter-finalists Ilia Borovski & Veronika Klyushina. Both couples are now based in and dancing for Hong Kong.

Many VIPs in Hong Kong are well known for their prowess on the dance floor. One such personality is taipan Stanley Ho Hung Sun who is as famous for his moves in the boardroom as he is for his moves in the ballroom. An accomplished dancer and patron of the arts, Ho had in the past often been called upon to perform dances, especially the Argentine Tango at society events to help raise funds for charity. Ho met his fourth wife Angela Leong On Kei who was then a dance instructor in Macau and love blossomed for them on the dance floor. You could say he swept her off her feet, literally speaking!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Rumba At The Royal Lake Club

More than 120 guests attended a dinner and dance cum workshop at the Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur on March 27 2010. Organized by the dancesport section of the club, the function was held at the cosy Recreation Hall. The guest-of-honour was Dato' Abdullah Sani A Karim, the President of the club. George Lim, the President of Malaysian Dancesport Berhad, his wife Janet and many dance teachers from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were among those present. In his welcome speech, Dato' Abdullah said he was pleased with the good turnout and hoped that more of such events would be organized. Dato' Abdullah also regaled the guests with funny anecdotes of the ballroom dance activities of the club in the past.

The Rumba workshop was conducted by Amy Lee Ai Mei, principal of Amy Dancesport Centre, Kuala Lumpur and former South East Asia Professional Latin Champion. Amy explained to the participants the character and interpretation of the dance. She went on to elucidate the basic figures of the Rumba such as the Basic Movements, Progressive Walks Forward & Back, Side Steps, Cucarachas and Spot Turns. Amy also touched on the techniques of the dance, footwork, transfer of weight and the lateral and rotational hip movements. A simple dance routine was choreographed by Amy and the participants were then put through their paces. It was a fun-filled evening and a jolly good time was had by all.

The Royal Lake Club (founded 1890), Royal Selangor Golf Club (established 1893) and Royal Selangor Club (constituted 1884) were started by the British colonials and are probably the 3 oldest extant social clubs in KL. These clubs were where the British community gathered to socialise, dine or imbibe their stengahs. Stengah (from the Malay word setengah, meaning half), a concoction of whiskey and soda was a popular drink back then. What were the popular social dances during those days? Was it the English Old-Time, Polka and Mazurka? Unfortunately, most of the written records of the clubs in the then Malaya were destroyed during the Japanese Occupation from 1941 to 1945, so we are unable to know for sure.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Results Of The KLDA Rising Star Championship 2010

Some 220 competitors from Malaysia participated in the inaugural KLDA Rising Star Championship 2010 held on April 11 at the OCM Indoor Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur. Organized by the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA), this championship saw the contestants pitting against each other in the various Standard, Latin American, Salsa and Bachata events. This competition was organized by the KLDA to promote dancing in Malaysia and also to discover young talented dancers who can be groomed to become future champions.

Among those who turned up to watch the finals in the evening were Dato' Sieh Kok Chi, Honorary Secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Dato' Cheong Siew Kai, Patron of the KLDA, C C Lai, President of the KLDA and George Lim, President of Malaysian Dancesport Berhad. Besides watching the many exciting events, the audience were also treated to some spectacular showdance performances: a Zouk Lambada by Jaxen & Cecilia, a Salsa by Gavin Chan & Sally Oh and a Latin formation by the KLDA Idols.

Here are the official results of the major events of the KLDA Rising Star Championship 2010:-

Standard Amateur

1 Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan (Selangor)
2 Wilson Chew Wei Sern & Hazel Swee Su Lyn (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Jimmy Yap & Sylvia Koh (Selangor)

Latin Amateur

1 Bernard Lim & Natalie Tan (Selangor)
2 Billy Yong Chun Haou & Carmen Choo Kar Mun (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Vernon Choo & Cheah Yen Thing (Kuala Lumpur)

Standard Pre-Amateur

1 Tan Kay Leong & Christina Lim Siew Wit (Kuala Lumpur)
2 Jason Wong & Rachel Wong (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Lee Keng Lek & Judy Hsu (Kuala Lumpur)

Latin Pre-Amateur

1 Kenneth Tan & Vanessa Low (Selangor)
2 Yong Chun Leong & Foo Wai Sum (Perak)
3 Siew Wai Lok & Joey Wong (Perak)

Standard Novice

1 Lee Keng Lek & Judy Hsu (Kuala Lumpur)
2 Stanley Lim & Adele Lim (Selangor)
3 Edmund Ngor & Michelle Ngor (Selangor)

Latin Novice

1 Yong Chun Leong & Foo Wai Sum (Perak)
2 Jackson Hor & Isabelle Liew (Negri Sembilan)
3 Siew Wai Lok & Joey Wong (Perak)

Latin - Junior Under 16

1 Vernon Choo & Cheah Yen Thing (Kuala Lumpur)
2 Siew Wai Lok & Joey Wong (Perak)
3 Jackson Hor & Isabelle Liew (Negri Sembilan)

Latin - Juvenile Under 12

1 Mok Win Kit & Cheow Lok Yu (Perak)
2 Chan Siang Chung & Kok Yiang Yao (Perak)
3 Harry Chuah Hong Teck & Kitty Chuah King Thi (Kuala Lumpur)


1 Steven Seah Eng Hwa & Tracy Tan Tsuey Ling (Kuala Lumpur)
2 Sivanthirama Selvaindran & Asheila Anwar (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Kairul Kalifah & Christelle Loo (Kuala Lumpur)


1 Harry Ng & Evelyn Ong (Kuala Lumpur)
2 Gary Theseira & Mavis Tan (Kuala Lumpur)
3 Chris Lim & Mazmi Bt Lamin (Kuala Lumpur)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Viva Vertical Launches Pole Stars Talent Showcase

Pole dancing is a form of dancing cum gymnastics that requires muscular endurance, co-ordination and acrobatic feats of strength involving movements with a vertical pole. It also involves sensual dance moves executed with the polish of a performer. Pole dance is regarded by many as an art form and is now performed in various places such as theatres, cabarets and clubs. Celebrities who pole dance include Madonna, Paris Hilton, Jolin Tsai, The Pussycat Dolls and The Spice Girls.

Pole dance which was introduced to Malaysia in 2007 seems to have garnered quite a following here. Not only is it popular with the girls, but the guys seem to have taken a fancy to this art form too. There are a number of dance studios and fitness centres in the Klang Valley and elsewhere which conduct pole dance classes. Several pole dance competitions, workshops and performances have also been organized in the past.

For the third year running, Viva Vertical, a leading pole dance academy and troupe in South East Asia is organizing the Pole Stars Talent Showcase Malaysia 2010. This online reality and fan based pole dance competition is open to guys and girls aged 18 and above. This year sees the addition of a 'Professional' category alongside the previous year's 'Fit Pole' and 'Exotic Pole' categories.

The semi-finals of the Pole Stars Talent Showcase Malaysia 2010 will be held on April 24 at Autumn Quattro in Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur while the grand finals on May 22 will take place at The Opera in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya. Prizes totalling RM5,000 are up for grabs and the champions will get the chance to represent the country at the International Pole Dance Fitness Championships 2010 to be held in Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit