Monday, November 28, 2011

No Age Barriers In Dancing

At 71, many ballroom dancers might have hung up their dancing shoes. But Tham Cham Soo, known as the 'one-leg dancer' among his friends after two stokes in 2005 left him walking with a limp in one leg, still travels with his dance partner Frances Teoh to learn new skills and take part in dance championships in the country and the region. After the stroke, he uses his left leg more in his dance moves. Tham said he and Teoh, who have been dance partners for 20 years, travel to Australia and China several times a year to hone their skills.

"We want to keep learning new things and we also needed a third eye to check our skills and posture," Tham said at the Nam Hooi Association in Chulia Steet, Penang recently. Tham, believed to be the oldest participant in the 18th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship on November 26, is gunning to win the Standard Senior title for the 11th time. He has been winning it with Teoh for the last 10 years. The semi-retired chartered architect and Teoh, who is in her 50s are the holders of a Guiness World Record and are in the Malaysia Book of Records for winning 184 times in ballroom dance championships in the Asia Pacific region.

Tham said he suffered two strokes within a couple of weeks in 2005. "One doctor told me to stop dancing and another advised me to continue. I listened to the later. I remember leaving the hospital and performing straight away at a Chinese opera show," said Tham who is also an opera singer. Having picked up ballroom dancing at age 23 when he was studying in Australia, Tham now dances for exercise. Tham and Teoh are the organizing committee members of the Championship. Some 500 couples are participating. (The Star)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Got Soul-soul Dance Has Soul

Crazy hip hop mixes and pop hits dominated all sounds at The Spring shopping mall in Kuching, Sarawak as 17 talented groups gave their all to compete for a spot in the finals of the Borneo Street Dance Competition on November 13. There was chest popping, hair flinging, fancy shuffling footwoork, sensuous body swaying and even a little acrobatics on stage to wow the crowd. Organized by the Tourism Ministry, the competition aimed to promote tourism through dance as well as provide a platform for streetdancers to showcase their talent in a more positive tone.

The groups who performed were Bs Boys Crew, LightningX Vanity Crew, Exothermic Crew, Milkshake, Funky Crew, Flamo, FunkyWockeez Crew, One Motion, Wryneckz-Girl Crew, Croxxie Crew, Feasible Crew, Nightmare Galaxy, Stepholic, B-Freedom Crew, Got Soul-soul Dance, Heartbreak Kids and Spirit. Stomping to the beat, some of the groups even incorporated theatrical acts to add some zest to their performance.

After careful deliberation, the judges ruled Got Soul-soul Dance as the top performers. The group, attired in funky overalls, was also a crowd favourite with their pop and lock movements. Following closely behind was first runner-up Feasible Crew, who garnered huge cheers with their on-stage confidence and pulsating breakdancing spins. No surprise, since the group was on reality dance battle crew show "Showdown 2010". The second runner-up title was won by Stepholic whose moves showcased rhythm, vibrancy and a style of their own. All three winners go on to compete in the finals slated to take place in Labuan on November 28. (The Star)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Floor Work Exercises

If you have taken up dancing, having never done it before, you will find yourself using muscles you are unaccustomed to. These will ache at first, however after time and exercise, you wil grow used to using them and build them up over time. Here are four exercises designed to strengthen these muscles.

1. Weight training - Dancers are incredibly strong and they need to be able to perform all the moves they do. Ballerinas for example, need strong arms and legs in order to be able to hold positions and poses for long periods of time. In order to build up your limb strength, it is an idea to do some basic weight training. Now we are not talking about massive dumb-bells here, but light weights that will gradually tone your legs, arms and back.

2. Yoga/Pilates - Your muscular core is used extensively in dance, and as such many dancers do pilates and or yoga to strengthen these muscles. By doing so, dancers are able to hold their bodies in positions longer as well as minimising risk of injury. Yoga and pilates also allow you to build up muscles you might not otherwise use.

3. Go swimming - Dancing not only works your muscles but also your cardio-vascular system. It is therefore important to make sure you regularly work your heart. Jogging or running are good options, but swimming is probably the best as it not only exercises every muscle, but is an excellent way to keep fit.

4. Stretching - Once you have worked all these muscles, the only way to improve your flexibility is to stretch these muscles. You can do this in every day life by taking longer strides, holding your stomach in and reaching out your arms as far as they go. By doing a series of stretching exercises before and after dance, you will reduce the chance of injury. (Article republished with kind permission of