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.

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