Singapore Salsa Congress - My Thoughts

Some Thoughts on the Salsa Congress 2006

Other than research, blogging and teaching, I also take out some time out of my hectic schedule to do salsa dancing in Xenbar, a dance school located at 34, Pagoda Street, Chinatown (very close to the Chinatown MRT station). Dancing is a hobby which I acquired back from Cambridge, UK, since about one third of the population in the town take up ballroom and latin dancing. When I come back to Singapore, I started doing salsa in the end of 2005, took a break in early March 2006 and finally restarted recently in Nov 2006. That was about a month before Singapore Salsa Congress 2006, which the school organized. Here is my testimonial about the Congress that transpired between 11-18 Dec 2006.    

There are three things I like about the people in Xenbar. The first thing is their friendship even if you have disappeared for months. I recalled the first time when I got back to Xenbar to restart my dancing lessons, most of the people I know there (Wai Hwang, James, Vivian, Cindy, Emma, Wee Beng, Yenqing , Nigel, Grace, Bianca, Ivy, Emily, Sam and many others) all said, "You are back." Small things do matter and they make me feel at home whenever I am there. Of course, Justin, our grandmaster in the school started with this line when he saw me, "I have a congress next month, you should join in and perform." Of course, you also meet up new friends in the process (Defelyn, Ariel, Terrence, Sam, Canice and many others).

The second thing I liked about them is their passion in dancing. It is often shown in their professionalism and how they want to make every move as precise and elegant. Sometimes, they also try to break down some difficult moves made by salsa professionals from other parts of the world. My view is that the instructors in Xenbar are constantly improving and that is an important trait which I don't find it in some peers back in Singapore. I agreed with Justin's view that we should go global even with dancing and not isolated here in a small island. It's their passion that I shared in the other things which I do as well.

The last thing is of course, the fun factor. Actually, not just the congress itself, but we have a good time practising and rehearsing over the past few weeks before the event. If there is something to be said, one thing that Yenqing always tell everyone before the performances would be, "Do not worry about messing up in the performance or make mistakes, the most important is to enjoy dancing and smile."

For that matter, the whole event was interesting and filled with great learning experience. I think that the whole group have practically partied all week in Qbar, Thumper, Ministry of Sound and Union Square. For that matter, I have not added the salsa dance musical performance in Kallang Theatre on 16 Dec. It was an incredible experience to be back on the stage and to be involved in the backstage after a break of three years from theater. If you want an accelerated approach in improving your salsa dancing, the best way is to go through a salsa festival. The most important thing which I thought that the event did was to show us about the diversity of the salsa ecosystem in Asia. Of course, the interaction with the foreign delegates and also picking up one or two interesting steps from them.

Of course, it will be fun to see what happens in the coming Salsa congress 2007.

Taken from: http://bleongcw.typepad.com/simple_is_the_reason_of_m/2007/01/some_thoughts_o.html#more

- Bernard Leong, 7/1/07

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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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