Monday, August 30, 2010

3D Movies Are Over-Rated

Three dimensional or 3D movies seem to be all the rage now. 3D movies are nothing new actually. They were introduced in the 1960s and was greeted with some success as it was a novelty back then. Cinema audiences were thrilled to see arrows and spears being aimed straight at them, and ducking the imaginary missiles being thrown at them. Their popularity has however waxed and wane over the decades. Lately, 3D movies were given a boost after the successful release of Avatar in 3D. Avatar has gone on to become the biggest blockbuster of all times and spawned a slew of 3D movies in its wake.

Presently you can get to watch many movies in 3D. One film which is making its rounds in the local cinema circuit is a dance movie called Step Up 3D which is actually also the third part of the movie of the same name. The storyline is about a group of guys training to become world hip hop champions. You of course get to see a lot of hip hop action in this movie. The directors have also included an Argentine Tango and a Broadway dance in the script. The plot and the acting is average and you may 'see' the dancers' hands jabbing you or a leg being kicked in your face. Nothing out of the extraordinary actually.

In spite of the publicity, I think 3D movies are over-rated. You basically get to see the movie in greater depth and clarity but you usually have to pay a hefty price for the tickets. The tickets for Step Up 3D costs RM21 each (in Kuala Lumpur) which is twice what you would pay for a normal ticket. Furthermore, the 3D glasses that you have to wear, tend to become coated with moisture from your breath and you have to wipe the lenses on and off. Many more films in 3D will be hitting our cinemas. Who knows, there might even be a release of the mega hit dance movie Saturday Night Fever in 3D!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dance For Your Dream

A dance competition called "Dance For Your Dream" will be held nationwide next month. This 'freestyle' competition in which all genres of dance are allowed, is open to individuals aged 18 to 28. Contestants will have to put up two performances in two rounds during the competition. The first is a solo performance whilst in the second round, the contestant must team up with one or more dance mates to give a team performance (eg. ballet, hip hop, belly). The contestant must however take the leading role in the team performance.

The preliminary rounds for this competition will commence in September at eight locations: George Town, Butterworth, Ipoh, Seremban, Melaka, Johor Baru and in two venues in Kuala Lumpur. One finalist will be selected from each location to compete in the grand finals to be held in Kuala Lumpur in October. The winner of the grand finals will be awarded prizes and a chance to attend a fully sponsored two-week dance course in Hong Kong with Sunny Wong, a well known choreographer who has worked with artistes like Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok and Kelly Chen.

Local recording artiste and dance enthusiast Aric Ho who conceived the idea for "Dance For Your Dream" will be one of the judges. He said that the winner will be the one who has the right aptitude and the right attitude for dancing. This event will be broadcast through online media such as Facebook. The closing date for entries is September 8. Those who are interested in taking part in this competition can register at For more information, please call 019-2556274.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Often Do You Dance?

How many dance classes do you attend in a week and how often do you practise your dance routine? I remembered when I took up Ballroom and Latin American dancing many many years ago I would attend classes three times a week and go out to practise at least twice a week. My classmates and I would train at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers Association (KLDA), YMCA, Royal Selangor Club and Royal Lake Club amongst others. We were so crazy about dancing then that we would often adjourn to the Royal Selangor Club for another round of dancing just after our lessons were over. It was as though we lived to dance!

The dancesport section of the Royal Selangor Club was very active back then and they used to organize many dinner and dance events at affordable prices. These events were very popular and members were allowed to bring several of their friends to these functions. The food, wine, ambiance and music was good. You would often see students from the different dance schools there. There would also be impromptu dance competitions involving representatives from the different schools and token prizes would be given to the winners. These events were kind of fun but unfortunately, are not that well received anymore.

The Royal Lake Club has embarked on a project this year to revive interest in dancing. In March, a dinner and dance cum Rumba workshop by Amy Lee of Amy Dancesport Centre was held. A couple of months ago, another dinner and dance featuring top ballroom and Latin American dancers from China was organized. The KLDA is also doing its part to promote interest in dancing. As an incentive, members who perform commendably well in competitions will be considered for scholarships and monetary rewards. A potluck and dance performance which is open to members of the public is held on the last Sunday of every month.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Have All The Men Gone?

Some of my female friends in the Klang Valley and visitors to my blog often inform me that they would like to take up ballroom dancing and ask where they can learn ballroom dancing. I would usually provide them with a list of the well known dance studios in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya where they can pursue their interest. For those without partners, their enthusiasm can quickly turn to disappointment when they find that there is generally a scarcity of male ballroom dancers. Which means they have to share someone else's partner which of course has its drawbacks and problems.

Why is it that women are so crazy while the men seem to be blase about ballroom dancing? Do men have two left feet or are they just too lazy to learn the steps? Or are they afraid of intimacy? I really don't have the answers. I read a recent science report which says that women are usually attracted to men who can dance well. Scientists opined that this could be due to the fact that dancing is quite a strenuous exercise and that men who can dance well are generally seen to be fit and healthy and therefore carry better genes. For women, it's all about the mating game and having healthy offspring.

In their search for dance partners, some Malaysian women have resorted to advertising on the internet. Unless both partners stay in the same city or nearby each other, meeting up for classes and practices can be a hassle. I know of one lady who is even willing to relocate to another country just to pursue her love of dance if she can find the right partner there. Another alternative is to pay to engage the services of a professional dancer to dance with you. I heard that in Hong Kong, professional dancers there charge a fee of between HK$500 to HK$2000 for a 3-hour dance session.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Movement And Balance In Ballroom Dancing

Some 50 dance enthusiasts turned up at a ballroom dance workshop conducted by Dmitry Novikov and Marina Gaevskaya of Russia at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association on July 29. The lovely couple of Novikov and Gaevskaya who stand at 194 cm and 181 cm respectively have been dancing together since 1988 and compete regularly in the Blackpool Dance Festival, European and Asian circuits. Novikov and Marina started the session by dancing a simple waltz routine using strong techniques. Novikov compared dancing with the building of a house and went on to stress that the foundation of a house must be strong in order for it to stand firm. Similarly in dancing, dancers have to work from the feet up and the legs have to be strong to provide the body movement and balance, he said.

According to Novikov there are three types of body movements in ballroom dancing. They are 1) frontal movement, 2) lateral movement and 3) rotary movement. Novikov and Gaevskaya then danced a natural turn and demonstrated how these different movements are used when dancing the natural turn. Novikov next talked about balance. He said there are three types of balance namely 1) personal balance, 2) moving balance and 3) couple balance. Rotation and turn were also discussed. Novikov explained that rotation is in relation to the body and showed the different 'angles' in which a body can be rotated while a turn is done on and with the feet. Novikov emphasized that when executing a turn the dancer must not rotate his/her body or else the dancer will lose his/her balance.

Other topics covered were centre balance position, supporting leg and transfer of weight and the connection between partners. The dancers were shown how to do the transfer of weight from one leg to another; which looked liked taiqi moves! Novikov reiterated that the connection between the partners should be at the rib cage area and not at the pelvis or thighs. He also discussed about the technique on how to take the first step when dancing a figure. Novikov emphasized that the knees should be bend and the weight pressed on to the floor before taking the first step. This will give the dancer the power to execute the other steps. There was of course the oft-repeated 'mantra' "The man leads and the lady follows". The workshop ended with a scintillating waltz performance by Novikov and Gaevskaya.