Monday, April 16, 2012

Lunch Beat

Some workers in Sweden have found a rather offbeat way to spend their lunch hour. Actually, on-beat is more like it. Dipping in sweat and awash in disco lights, they dance away to pulsating club music at Lunch Beat, a trend that started in Stockholm and is spreading to other cities in Europe. Then they go back to work.

"It is absolutely fantastic!" exclaimed Asa Anderson, 33, who broke away from her job at a coffee shop to bust away some moves last week. "It is the first time I am here. I'm totally happy and ecstatic, totally covered in sweat and I am full of energy. It does not get any better than this".

The first Lunch Beat was held in June 2010 in an underground parking lot in Stockholm. Only 14 people turned up. But they had so much fun they immediately planned another event. Word soon spread and now the Swedish capital has monthly Lunch Beats that attracts hundreds.

Similar events have been held in at least 10 other Swedish cities and in Finland and Serbia. Portugal's first try will be in Porto this month, organisers say. - AP

Monday, April 9, 2012

National Dance Academy's New Semester 2012

The National Academy of Arts Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) will be starting its new semester in July 2012. The academy is currently inviting students who wish to pursue various professional arts courses in Malaysia. The faulty of dance offers two programmes: diploma and degree - that provide a range of courses to fully prepare students for a career in performing arts by teaching Malay Dance, Chinese Dance, Indian Dance, Ballet, Modern, Improvisation and Choreography as well as several theory subjects.

Each academic year comprises two semesters, each 16 weeks long, and students who register for a full-time programme which takes three years will graduate with a Diploma in Performing Arts or Bachelor of Dance, fully recognized by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). Entry qualification is by a placement interview and audition process. Full-time students pay approximately RM6000 for the whole tuition course.

Other diplomas offered are in theatre, music, writing, film and fine arts. Interviews and auditions for the July semester will be carried out in May. For details, call 03-26971777. Those interested can download the application forms from or collect the application forms with a postal order of RM10. Interested candidates can also send a self-addressed envelope to ASWARA, 464 Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. (The Star)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dance To Good Health

Want to cut down on stress? Need to lose weight? Could use a little cheer and a firm touch as you enter the last decades of your life? Try ballroom dancing. "It's a great cardiopulmonary activity," dance teacher June Rawls says with the zeal of a missionary, "and it's also a good way to socialise. The physical is very important, but so is the mental, and when you come here for an hour, you leave the world behind."

Bijoux Dance Centre is a 186 sq m mirror-lined dance hall in Miami, USA, tucked among commercial warehouses that have more to do with heavy equipment than intricate dance moves. Yet every Tuesday at 8 pm, about 20 middle-age and older Miamians gather there to waltz, fox trot and rumba. Or at least they try to. Rawls, 65 has been offering a ballroom dance class for the 55-and-older set since the beginning of the year. When she retired as a teacher, she decided her next career would be promoting her hobby and passion. As a lifetime ballroom dancer herself, she's a firm believer in the gospel of movement, particularly for her generation of baby boomers.

Speak to Rawls for any length of time and she will gladly enumerate the benefits. She'll even cite a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 that found dancing (as well as playing board games and musical instruments) might reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Ballroom dancing has become fashionable again in part thanks to the popularity of ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Dance studios from the Arthur Murray mainstays to a University of Miami club, report a hike in interest....... (McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Keeping Tradition Alive

Right foot out to the front and back to position. Left foot out to the back and back to position. Hands moving rhythmically from the elbows and wrists, while maintaining a small bent at the knees. Those are the simple moves of a joget dance. Dance instructor Azura Abal Abas, 43, from Havana Estudio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur was demonstrating the steps to to a class of sarong-clad beginners who were trying to learn the joget. A few succeeded and many did not because the moves were not as easy as they appeared to be. "It may seem easy but when you do it, you realise it's challenging because we are so used to Western type of dances and tend to shift weight while taking a step and in the process create a hip movement or a shoulder movement," she said.

"Culture has a lot to do with our traditional dances. When we do joget, there are certain cultural aspects to follow like the women dancers' part is more demure with understated expressions," said Azura, who is better known as Ala, adding that the joget was influenced by a Portuguese cultural dance. " The bended knee is also an adat (custom) in the Malay culture as we bend our bodies forward when we walk past older people. Politeness is a virtue in our culture and this attitude is adapted into the dance. "It is details like these that make our cultural dances unique to us. You can see the difference in the way we sway our bodies - the lenggang and liuk" said Ala, who is currently lecturing on a dance subject at Universiti Malaya.

Joget is not the only traditional Malay dance that Ala is teaching at the school. In fact, the newly introduced Malay dance class at the school incorporates a combination of dances including joget, inang and zapin. Inang is a type of dance which has a faster beat compared to the joget, and Ala said it was a dance common among women where a scarf was usually worn. Meanwhile, Zapin is an Arab-influenced dance, which is popular in weddings and berkhatan (circumcision) ceremonies. The school's principal and owner Sharie Dekorte said most dance schools offered various classes on hip hop and other types of modern dances and by introducing the Malay dance class, she hoped to keep the tradition alive. (The Star)

Monday, March 5, 2012

D'Angelo & Amanda Wins Live To Dance

For the past two Thursday evenings, I stayed home to watch the finale of Live To Dance 2011, an American dance reality show on 8TV. Six finalists performed in the finale and the winner was chosen by telephone votes plus the decision of the judges. The angelic-looking couple of D'Angelo Castro, 10, and Amanda Carbajales, 11, was adjudged champions. D'Angelo and Amanda who danced an Argentine Tango in the first round and a Conga in the second round were in their element, and their performance was mesmerizing.

The pair walked home with the cash prize of $500,000. That's a lot of money for two kids who are still in elementary school. D'Angelo told the audience he wanted to go to Disneyland for a holiday. On a more serious note, D'Angelo said that he and Amanda practiced dancing 4 or 5 hours a day, six days a week! Amanda exclaimed that she intends to use the prize money to open a dance studio when she grows up. With their drive and passion, these adorable kids look set to become future world ballroom dance champions.

I do not know about the ratings of Live To Dance on 8TV but I know that another American TV show, American Idol is very popular here in Malaysia. Past winners of the show like Kris Allen (Season 8) and Lee Dewyze (Season 9) have even come to this country to give showcase concerts. It would be great if 8TV can bring in D'Angelo and Amanda to perform in Malaysia, either as guest artistes at a dance competition or maybe at a shopping mall. Hopefully, this will encourage more of our kids to take up ballroom dancing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kung Fu Master Dances To Fame

Wushu master Chua Zjen Fong has swapped his cudgel for a pair of dancing shoes. After years of competing in the martial arts arena, he has traded in his macho kung fu skills for the flamboyance of Latin dancing; swinging and jiving his way to many titles to put Malaysia on the international dancing stage. Born in Selangor, the 25-year-old who now calls Miri in Sarawak home, used to be a national wushu master, quite at home with yielding swords and spears, before yielding to the allure of the dance hall.

Chua was among several Malaysian athletes such as former synchronised swimmer Jovial Lim and former gymnast Tengku Noor Fathima Zaharah, who have found a niche in the dance world - cleverly blending agility and sporting aptitude to dance their way to stardom. Chinese martial arts have always been a part of Chua's life. It is a discipline he has excelled in for more than 10 years during which he also represented Malaysia and Sarawak in wushu. However, for a career, Chua chose dancing. After years of training, he is now a qualified full-time Latin dance instructor. His crossover has been a journey filled with adventure and excitement as his dancing has taken him around the world like his success as a martial arts exponent had.

Chua started dancing in 2005 with the encouragement of his parents - father Chua Kian Hong and mother Chiam Poh Huay, who are themselves social dancers. He turned pro in 2008 after meeting his current partner Evon Chong, also from Selangor (Kajang) who in turn, introduced him to competitive dancesport. They have not looked back since. On 26 February 2011, Chua and Evon, the reigning MYDF national champions, left for China to train in the Angel Dance School outside of Guangzhou. The one-year training will be completing soon, and they hope to return and impart their dancing skills in Malaysia. (Borneo Post)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning To Belly Dance - Tips & Ideas

If you are new to belly dancing and would like to try for the first time, you may be wondering where you should start from. The advice is to start learning belly dance from a teacher because, although there are many good instructional DVDs around and books about belly dancing, it is always better to get direct feedback from a teacher to make sure that the movements you are doing are correct. You can easily look online to find a belly dance class close to you. Also, belly dance classes can be advertised on local press or through leaflets in the local area.

In order to start belly dancing, you do not need much: just comfortable clothes, such as a long and wide skirt or stretch jazz pants; a short top with good support and a scarf to tie around your hips. There are a lot of belly dance hip scarves with coins or beads around for sale, but if you are just starting, any light scarf tied around your hips will do. Also, belly dancing is done barefooted, so you will not need to buy any type of dance shoes. If your feet are cold, you can use soft ballet shoes or non-slippery socks.

Some types of exercise you can integrate with belly dance are Pilates, as it helps to strengthen the core muscles and it helps with body isolations, or yoga for strength and balance. So why not try now this entertaining and beautiful art form. Belly dance is good for fitness, it improves self confidence and most important of all is fun! (

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gotta Dance? Swing It Over

There are swinging parties in Manhattan nearly every night. The trick is in knowing where to find them. Take a recent Thursday: Sandwiched between a Blarney Stone and a liquor shop on Eight Avenue just south of Penn Station and up four flight of stairs was a scene invisible to most New Yorkers. Wild and sweaty, loud and crowded, it featured scores of smiling, ever-shifting couples energetically executing the kinetic choreography of the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, the Jitterbug, the Balboa, the Carolina Shag. They danced East Coast and West Coast styles and bluesy New Orleans freestyle.

This party, the Frim Fram Jam, is a weekly event organized by the local chapter of a national swing dance network called Yehoodi, after "Who's Yehoodi (Yehudi)?," a song popularized by Bob Colloway. Held at a studio called You Should Be Dancing and drawing more than 150 people a week, the Frim Fram Jam is a popular destination withing a throbbing, urban subculture: Manhattan's swing dance demimonde. The scene is the recent revival of a phenomenon that stated quietly in New York in the mid-1980s, waxed and then waned and then grew popular again in the decades that followed until the best swing dance spots were forced to close for lack of revenue in the new century.

Now enjoying a renaissance that began around three years ago, the current swing dance milieu consists of a network of clubs, events, instructors, dancers, DJs and bands. It is characterized by its own celebrities, etiquette and conventions, and enabled by social networking, particularly the New York City Swing Dance Group of and This scene is scored by composers whose names form the spine of the Great American Songbook: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Isham Jones and of course, Cab Collaway. (NYT)

Related Post

> Jive And American Swing Dances - The Similarites And Differences (Article 048)

Monday, January 23, 2012

4th Gatsby Malaysia Finals

The most anticipated Malaysian Finals in the 4th Gatsby Dance competition has come to a close with the crowning of the new rising star - Rebounce Crew. The final dance-off was held on 14 January 2012 at Neverland Club, Kuala Lumpur with a huge turnout from entourage of fans and media buddies. The contest in its fourth year running saw a record-breaking 114 entries form solo and group acts. Not only has the number of entries doubled from last season's records; the contest has also attracted over 25,000 Facebook followers, putting Malaysia way ahead of other Pan Asia countries.

During the voting period from 14 November till 16 December 2011, 59 video entries were short-listed by judges for online voting. Six contestants with the highest number of 'like' by Facebook fans together with 4 winners from on-ground auditions moved on to battle it out in the Malaysia Finals. This season's panel of judges comprised of Japanese celebrity dance guru Fishboy, Floor Fever leader Boojae Fadzil and Fellest Yan of Royal Phantom Crew.

Rebounce Crew walked away with RM2000 cold cash plus and all-expenses paid trip to participate in the Asia Grand Finals in Tokyo. Following in the footsteps of Jackson Chua and Alex Poppin' Rex, both past champions of Malaysia Finals and Asia Grand finals, Rebounce Crew now represents Malaysia with the hope of winning the Greatest Gatsby Award in the Asia Grand Finals, Tokyo on 10 March. Second and third place went to School Brotherz and Teh Pitt Den. Each of them won RM1000 and RM500 respectively.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Live To Dance

Live To Dance was a television reality programme and dance competition in the United States. Dancers from all over the US auditioned for Live To Dance in specially constructed 'dance domes'. All genres of dance were allowed and there was no age limit. The youngest contestant was a 9 year-old kid whilst the oldest was a 90 year-old granny. Shortlisted contestants in the auditions would go on to fight it out in the semi-finals and finals where the winner was awarded the prize of $500,000.

The show premiered in the USA on 4 January 2011 and was headlined by dance choreographer, singer and former American Idol judge Mariah Carey as lead judge with Andrew Gunsberg as host. The other two judges were former Pussycat Dolls member Kimberly Wyatt, and Travis Payne, a long-time choreographer of the late Michael Jackson.

In the first show which was screened on 8TV Malaysia on 12 January 2012, eighteen contestants participated in the audition. Among the dances which were performed were hip hop, breakdance, krump, Cuban rumba, tap and contemporary. There was also an Indian bhangra dance. Overall the show was quite entertaining and fun to watch. It was announced that Live To Dance wouldn't return for a second season.

Monday, January 9, 2012

4 Popular Belly Dance Styles

Belly dancing originated from the Middle East and as such there are many different forms of styles that have developed in different countries and regions. The most popular and recognized style is Cabaret/Egyptian that is glitzy and flamboyant, however there are several other styles that are becoming more popular around the wold.

1. Zambra Mora - Zambra Mora is a form of belly dancing that is infused with flamenco dancing. Not only does it use Middle East styles but the music is played on Spanish instruments such as guitar. Today Zambra Mora is famed for its chest circles and shimmies as well as the posturing associated with flamenco dancing.

2. Khaleeji - Originating in the Arabic peninsula, Khaleeji is different from the styles that are favoured in Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey. Instead of hip movements, Khaleeji focuses on foot movement and as well as spinning. There is also a lot of movement in the upper torso and shoulders, allowing the dancers to toss their hair from side to side.

3. American Tribal Dancing - American tribal Dancing was founded in California, USA in the 1970's and is performed in groups as opposed to solo dancers. The group's head leads the dance signalling moves to the others via hand signals. Props are also used such as finger cymbals and even swords!

4. Gothic Belly Dancing - the bright colours of belly dancing may not be something that would have an immediate association with Gothic styles, but over the years a form of Gothic Belly Dancing has evolved. Known for their intensity, Gothic Belly Dancing incorporates elements of life and death to its styles making for a trance-like dance that utilises the styles of both the East and the West. (

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

You've gotta dance like nobody's watching
Love like you'll never get hurt
Sing like there's nobody listening
And live like it's heaven on earth

I came across this poem while browsing through Wikipedia. The above poem is attributed to William Watson Purkey (born 22 August 1929), an educator and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA. An active writer, Purkey has published nearly a hundred professional publications and written more than a dozen books. At his lectures, Purkey used to close his speech with the above quotation and it has now made it into the public domain.

Although Purkey is the source of the above poem, it has been attributed to many others. Lines from it were included in the song Come From The Heart written by Susannah Clark and Richard Leigh in 1987. Whatever it is, the poem written or 're-arranged' by Purkey is a beautiful one. It's about having a zest for life and living life to the fullest. If you dance like nobody's watching and are really enjoying yourselves even if you don't dance so well; it's like heaven on earth!