Salsa Classes Singapore: Shines!

Salsa Shines:  a form of Salsa where you dance alone, without a dance partner. 

Salsa Shines is typically executed within the salsa social dance, when the salsa couple suddenly breaks away from each other to do their own moves.  It is typically inferred that they separate to show off their fancy footwork and flashy body movements, therefore 'shine' on the dance floor.  It is especially common amongst advanced salsa dancers in Singapore and around the world (as they will have more time and ability to 'shine' with their unique salsa moves on the dance floor).

I once thought salsa was only a couple dance. That’s it, nothing more. It was only after watching last December’s performances during the Salsa Congress then did I know there was much more…

I never knew there was Men’s shines, only Ladies Salsa Shines. When I saw Xenbar peeps practising the Ladies' Shines in Thumper before performing in Kallang Theatre for the Singapore Salsa Congress last year, I really liked it a lot! It was so damn nice! Throughout the entire dance, all the curves and “waves” really resembled ripples – very soothing to watch. All the “highs” and “lows” of the dance made it very “expressive”! It was so much joy to watch as the accents of the song was met with chest pumps and all that other stuff. The dance steps complimented the cheery beat + catchy tune and vice versa.

I would think that salsa would look really bland if there were only the basic step, cross body lead, simple turn, cross body lead turn (the 04 basics). Even with all the types of variations one could come up with, it would still feel that it lacked something. Dance is very subjective. To me, it would be like the “X-factor”. Without any styling and SHINES – those personal touches from the dancers, the entire dance would be the same if another couple did the exact same choreography. Save

After knowing that Shines existed in salsa, I was really elated because at least that is a choreographed dance! Although salsa can be a choreographed dance too, it is still a couple dance. Honestly, I am still more used to dancing alone (as in with myself) though it could be a group performance. I think that is inevitable given that I started off doing Chinese Dance, a bit of ballet and modern, then Hiphop and then Jazz in Xenbar.

I have also been watching some performances on Youtube recently and realized that those dancers who do Shines halfway through their performance is really amazing. It is superb when they are in sync and do it with so much “solidity” and everything is precise – “clean” like what Yanqing said the other day. It beefs up the entire performance instead of just two people twirling each other ahha.

Shine – as in really “SHINE” when doing shines!

See a footage of Salsa Shines here!

- Kyla Ng (aka Grace), 22 Jun 07’ (Fri)        

Dance Classes Singapore: Improving My Argentine Tango Lead

How I went from “tango class is painful!” to “tango rocks!"

Argentine Tango dance classes Singapore.  Yes, I still remember how painful my first few Tango classes were.

I signed up for the dance class full of expectation: “I’m gonna learn tango! Wow!” But after my first dance lesson, I realized that tango is not as easy as it looked, and it was going to take a lot of hard work and practice.

The main problem for me was leading. The basic steps are not difficult. If you can walk, you can do the basic tango walk. But leading a partner is an entirely different matter. Everyone said I had to “lead with your chest” and “place the lady where you want her to go” but how am I supposed to do that when I’m all kan chiong? As if remembering the routines isn’t difficult enough! The problem was that tango is a lot about feeling and subtle shifts in weight, but I was way too nervous to master all that feeling and subtlety…

Nevertheless, I kept going for tango classes, kept practicing, kept trying to improve. It also helped that my partner and I chose to take part in both tango dance routines for the Singapore Salsa Congress performance at Kallang Theatre, because it meant more rehearsals, which meant more practice. As the weeks and months went by and we went full swing into rehearsals for the performance, I forgot about the nervousness and pressures and simply focused on the routines in dance class.

Little did I realize the somehow through all the practicing, my leading actually improved! Suddenly in subsequent dance classes leading felt more natural, and I felt like I could do anything on the dance floor and the only limit was my creativity and knowledge of what kind of moves were possible. I’m definitely not a perfect dancer, but I’ll try to list out some pointers here to help other new dancers:

Tips for Leading in Argentine Tango

  1. Good feel for where your partner’s weight is.

This is critically important in tango. Obviously if I want my partner to move her left foot, I will need to release her weight from that foot so that she will not fall down! Moving the partner when her weight is misplaced may make her move the wrong foot or move in the wrong direction, which can cause some major accidents like dance-floor collisions or broken toenails!

  1. Thinking of your body as “solid”, and leading with the chest!

I realized that leading comes more easily and naturally when I move my own body as a “solid object”. In other words, I don’t use my arms to push my partner around, but I use my whole body. It is helpful to visualize it as “leading with the chest”; it is my torso that directs the movements of me and my partner, and my arms are simply joined to my torso by super glue!

  1. Thinking of your partner as an extension of yourself.

This is another helpful way to think. When I move my partner, I don’t just stand there and shove her around. The man should literally hold his partner so firmly that she has no choice but to move when you want her to. (Of course cannot hold so tight until she cannot breathe or kena wrist fracture lah…) So, as long as I lead properly and feel my partner’s weight properly, if I move forward, she will move forward; if I sidestep, she will sidestep; if I twist my torso, she will twist hers: my partner becomes not just another person, but an extension of me.

  1. Practice, practice and more practice…

I know it sounds difficult! Just a few months ago, if someone gave me this list of tips, I would have thought “impossible!” However it all comes together with practice, practice and more practice. It is just like the math exams we used to do in secondary school. At first a new problem would seem difficult, but after practicing that kind of problem hundreds of times, solving a similar question in the exam comes very easily and naturally. Same for tango! If practice can help a once-completely-clueless dancer like me improve, it can do the same for you.

- Samuel, 17 January 2007

Salcaa Body Isolation Dance Class Singapore

Salcaa dance class Singapore: A weekly dance training and conditioning class for dancers to learn to master dance techniques like body isolation, spins, leg flexibility and more.  It's a great way to keep your dancer's body in tip top shape for dancing while pushing it to the limits to grow and progress. 

Gosh, it feels great after the dance conditioning class... Absoutely exhausting, but my muscles are tired in a good sort of way.  After the workout, I feel refreshed and well challenged.  I was never really quite satisfied with my body isolations, but now I'm even more determined to make it look nicer...  Somehow I must arch more!

I sound like a dancer obsessed. 

I guess the body isolation class is really good training for us all because it encourages us to push our bodies further beyond it's current limit and break into new territories - more arched backs, faster hip or torso circles... Sometimes I wonder if there's any limit to the human body.  Everything I do, I feel that I can push my body further beyond its limits and it never fails to (gradually) go to that limit.  It's a never ending game.  I guess the only time it'll stop is when my tailbone indeed touches my shoulder blade!  Haha... Sounds scary! 

The dance conditioning classes comprises of series of  isolations, spins and stretches... the fundamental techniques that we need to be good, solid versatile dancers.  Most forms of dance require certain amounts of the three techniques, and Jaztin has set up a class to mold the dancers into great dancers with the isolations.  Personally, I feel that the class is pretty cool, since you can focus on making your isolations better, practice spins in a group, and open up you body after all that with some stretches...

This is especially so if we do it everyday...  What a great way to end the day with a solid hour of conditioning...  I can feel all the stress go away as I use up all my energy sustaining the moves.  You also forget about everything else when you're struggling to push your body beyond its limits.  And the stamina training you get from it is incredible!  Gosh!  It's like doing the cardio shines all over again, this time you get to focus more on the isolations.  I bet all our students will be effortlessly doing beautiful isolations in no time!  I can't wait! 

The spins are also important.  They are the ones that make our dancers stand out in the crowd.  All the older SemiPro people are addicted to spinning... Most of them can do at least 4 rounds, if not 5 - 6.  I'm thinking of conducting spin practice sessions everyday 15 minutes before class to give us a chance to practice together...   That sounds good!  And maybe 15 mintues after classes too!  I must get my 8 - 10 rounds of spins!  *new objective set*

Here is a Video of a Salcaa Body Isolation and Conditioning Class in Singapore.

 

- Yanqing, 22/01/2007

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Testimonials

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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