My Experience Performing at the Singapore Salsa Congress

Ok I’m actually still in shock: it has only been 2 months with Xenbar and I have already performed Argentine Tango at Kallang Theatre!

It all started with Candice and I signing up for tango dance classes because we thought it looked cool. I thought the classes were very fun because they were challenging; in fact we started learning variations for the Kallang Theatre performance almost immediately after getting familiar with the basic steps.

Of course the process was not all rosy. At times I felt like kicking myself for not being able to lead properly or for forgetting the routines. Also it seemed like a very daunting task to train to be good enough to perform alongside the other dancers, some of whom could perform all kinds of crazy stunts that I could not even dream of carrying out myself.

However, I felt that this was the challenge of dancing: to drive myself to do something I cannot do yet, or to perfect a difficult routine. I felt that there was not point in simply taking classes if I did not push myself further, so I ended up signing up for both the argentine tango items of the Kallang Theatre performance.

Yeah, I wondered if I was being crazy signing up for those after attending all of 2 beginner lessons.

However as I look back now I have no regrets. There is a magic in performances: the way grueling training and preparation leads up to only those few moments on stage, when for an instant time is stilled, your heart beats a little faster, the lights are a little too bright, and you give the best show you can. It was exactly like this on the Kallang Theatre stage. There were hiccups that day, of course. Missing costume pieces, performers who could not be found… Candice and I were even a little late to reach our starting spot on stage!

But once the music started, it was just us and the audience in a little dance of our own. Finally as the audience’s applause gave way to the hustle and bustle of backstage, I knew that the culmination of many, many sessions of practice and many late nights had finally come to an end. It was a sense of achievement that came from knowing that I had scaled a personal mountain.

Of course, that is only one event and I know I’m only scratching the surface of the world of dance. However, this experience has taught me the value of setting and reaching small goals. It gives you a direction in your training, and a sense of fulfillment when that goal is reached.

If you, the reader, are a new or aspiring dancer, the advice I can give is that you should never give up even if you don’t think you’re good enough or if you think you have two (or more) left feet. In the end it is a battle against yourself, and not anyone else: if you set your own goals and push yourself diligent to meet them, you can do virtually anything.

- Samuel 9 January 2007

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Starlinn Actfa DanceSTARLINN CHOO YANQING joined the SFDF program in 2004 while studying in NUS, training 12 hours a day; she completed her SFDF, Diploma & IHDC courses in 3 years, using her teaching income to finance her classes in Diploma & IHDC. In 2008 she pursued her IMDC Dance Business & is now doing her 3 years IPHDC Dance Product Research. While pursuing her IHDC she was already traveling around the world for assignments. more


Bianca Actfa DanceBIANCA enrolled in the SFDF course after A-levels. Within 6 months she was dancing as a backup dancer for MTV. She has also traveled to many countries like Germany, UK, Taiwan & Hong Kong to teach & perform, & was offered a position to dance in a few Musical plays. 


 Libin Actfa DanceLB, a masters degree holder working for a MNC, decided to do a career switch after he completed his SFDF. He then worked as an International Sales Manager in dance products, an international artist & dance instructor. He is the Singapore Bachata Champion 2008 and the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship behind Serge and Polina from Russia in 2010. more


manfred Actfa DanceMANGGOH was one of the elite few selected for the Mediacorp Dance Academy in 2000. He graduated from NTU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and used to work as a Project Manager in the IT Industry. He passed his examination & evaluation for SFDF and is currently doing his Diploma & IHDC. more


maricel Actfa DanceMARICEL, a professional dancer from the Philippines, joined SFDF in 2009. In less than a year, she has performed at the Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2009, Salsa Cruise Asia 2009, & has also been to China to teach & perform. In 2010 she was offered a full time dance instructor job in Singapore. She has since gone on to set up a dance studio in the Philippines and comes back periodically to upgrade her skills.


rachel Actfa DanceRACHEL an undergraduate in NTU joined the SFDF in 2010 and was offered to open a dance studio in China.  She has taught and performed in Guang Zhou, Shen Zhen, Hong Kong, Singapore.


 derrick actfa danceDERRICK has over 20 years of dance instructor experience with more than 30 types of dance. He was granted an exemption from SFDF after taking an examination & evaluation and signed up for the diploma & IHDC simultaneously.


tamil actfa danceTAMIL, a professional dancer & teacher actively involved in competitions & performances for Hip Hop, Bollywood, Indian Dance. He was teaching dance in secondary school and choreographing for SYF. He joined the IHDC program to further his training as a dancer & teacher in 2009.  Since joining the IHDC, he has taught, performed & competed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan.


brenda actfa danceBRENDA joined the SFDF when she was 13 years old and was hired to teach and perform both locally and overseas after 6 months. She was also financing her own dance study while teaching private dance classes.  Under the SFDF, she was the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship 2010 and Singapore Bachata Champion 2009.  She was given opportunities to teach in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China.

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Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts
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