Monday, February 28, 2011

Country Dancing In NY

The sound of fiddles and foot stomping may be the last thing you expect to hear at the Chinatown YMCA. Nevertheless, every weekend Country Dance New York turns the basketball courts in to a country dance hall filled with jigs, reels and plenty of swinging your partner. Make no mistake: this is not square-dancing. These patterned formations, with couples weaving in and out, have a history rooted in English folk dance.

Country Dance New York uses two varieties: English Country which travelled to the United States with the colonists (see Bingley's ball in BBC's "Pride And Prejudice") and its less traditional American cousin, the contradance, which plays fast and loose with music and movement) much like Scarlett's scandalous dance at the wartime charity ball in "Gone With The Wind").

Though their popularity may have peaked in the 1800s. the organization has managed to keep the dances alive in the city for more than 50 years, with weekly English nights on Tuesdays and contras on Saturdays. And, this Sunday, precision and passion will take the floor at the group's Yuletide Cotillion, one of a handful of evenings for seasoned English dancers to strut their stuff, or rather chasse in soft soled shoes.

David Chandler, president of the group, said that he loves the English style for its complexity and variety, but that he also loves contra because he gets to swing his partner, and right now "that's what the modern taste is." Adapting to modern tastes may be one reason the group has seen a rise in younger over the last five years. Less traditional music, new choreography and even social changes keep the membership evolving. (NYT)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Have Computer Will Dance

With the advent of Youtube and shareware, Kenny Teh can put his dances on the internet. So far, he has choreographed about 80 line dances. His home computer is switched on 24 hours a day so that he can respond to requests and queries as fast as possible. His latest dances can thus be downloaded, viewed and taught all over the world. Many groups have used his performances, workshops, competitions, parties and demonstrations. This is the astonishing feat of Teh, a self-taught line dancing instructor and choreographer, born and bred in Taiping, Perak.

The accolades pour in from as far as the United States, Britain, France, South Africa, Indonesia and Singapore. Teh is moving away from choreographing dances which incorporate western music. He is now coming up with dances to suit Chinese, Malay, Filipino or Indonesian music requested by his students. One of his favourites is the Cha Cha Cha with its well-defined rhythm and easy-to-follow beat. Teh's repertoire of original dances ranges from fast Latin numbers like Cico Cico and simple beginner dances like Secret Admirer to complex, multi-phased, intermediate dances like Bahama Mama.

Teh, a trim and fit retiree, had worked as a school teacher for a few years before he was seconded to the computer section of the Education Department in Taiping. Initially, he was interested in ballroom dancing and was only introduced to line dancing many years later. He bought dance tapes from Singapore and found them easy to follow. "So, I started teaching members of the Chinese Recreation Club as I was then the chairman of its dance section. As I began to conduct more line dance sessions, I found that many of the dances were not that challenging so I started choreographing dances to my own liking," he said. ( The Star)

Monday, February 14, 2011

ISTD 2011 Malaysia Workshops

The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and the Malaysian Ballroom Dance Teachers Berhad (MBDTB) is jointly organizing two dance teacher workshops this weekend. The workshops will be conducted by Richard Hunt, Vice Chairman of the ISTD Modern Ballroom Faculty & Imperial Dance and Dance Sport Faculties Board. Among the lectures to be covered will be popular Latin American and Ballroom dance variations.

The workshops, which are open to ALL professional dance teachers will be held at the Conference Suite at GC Building Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, 7 Jalan Perintis U1/52, Kawasan Perindustrian Temasya, Bandar Glenmarie, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor. Richard Hunt will also be available for private lessons. Additionally; ISTD Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship training can be arranged.

Latin American Teachers Workshop

Date: 19 February 2011 (Saturday)

Time: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

Fees: ISTD Qualified Teachers - RM100, Other Professional Teachers - RM150

Ballroom Teachers Workshop

Date: 20 February 2011 (Sunday)

Time: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

Fees: ISTD Qualified Teachers - RM100, Other Professional Teachers - RM150

For registration or further information kindly contact Lim Sae Min at 012-2030107, Chong Kim Yee at 012-2215727 or Nelly Tsen at 012-2848088.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Charity Line Dance

Do your part for charity and dance to your heart's content at the 1Caring Heart Charity Line Dance and CNY 2011 celebrations on February 20 at the ground floor main concourse at Subang Avenue in Subang Jaya. Jointly organized by four organizations namely Selangor Multi Cultural Dance Society, Wanita MCA PJ Selatan, Persatuan Keturunan Lim Subang Jaya and Persatuan Kemajuan Wanita PJ Selangor, the event scheduled from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm, will be launched by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket collection will be allocated to charity homes for women, disabled and mentally-ill rehabilitation centres such as Women Aids Organisation, Persatuan Permulihan Orang Orang Cacat Selangor & WP and Malaysian Mental Health Organization. The organizers hope that this would provide a platform for line dance aficionados to come together and have fun. More than 80 dance tracks will be selected for the event such as Come Dance With Me, Under The Sun, Let Me Dance, Matahariku and Sway Me Now.

There are two types of tickets. For RM18, you can buy the normal ticket that entitles participants to one lunch box while the Special Ticket, priced at RM50 entitles participants to a CNY Yee Sang lunch. Both tickets include a goodie bag of one bottle of mineral water and a treatment voucher from One Community Worldwide Sdn Bhd worth RM100. For ticket enquiries, contact the organizing committee: 012-3870321 (Emily Mah), 012-2971626 (Sharon Lam), 012-2866338 (Jenny Low), 012-6910682 (Annie Low) or 016-2107628 (Soo Wong). (Sourced from The Star)