Performance at Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2016

Esplanade 2016

Last night marks the closing to our performance @Esplanade Da:ns Festival. Well done to all the performers, yes we did it again!*hi-5 to all perfomers* It was indeed crazy training for the past few weeks but all worth it....these sessions pushed us to be better, bonded the team closer and new friendships forged...and once again thumbs up to our newbies who first time performed with us!! You guys did well and made us proud!!

This time round I was only doing one salsa item, wana say big thank u my team mates Choo Yanqing Rachel Teo Hoe Yong Jianian Deepak, Chrys Evon Too Caithlyn and Sharlyn, had fun performing with you all! And thank you Grace Hoo, though you did not manage to join, thks for your encouragement and support to the team. I would also want to say thank you to my dance partner Lake, thank u for accommodating to me, i know sometimes i can be "naggy" and short-tempered. Though not perfect yet, we manage to make it work!! Thank u!! And Rachel, Chrys, Deepak, Yanqing, Steven, thk u for the encouragement and guidance to both of us throughout.

Not forgetting the supporting team, big thank Jayson Lim (love your new style tripod)and Simon for taking the videos and photos. Chew Yu Ling Felicia and Yanhua, thanks again to help jagar the booth and handle all the queries!

Robert Teoh, Chin Cheng Ching, Thomas Edison thks again for coming down to take and video and pictures!
Uncle Choo, thank u so much for all your support all these while, capturing all our beautiful moments.
Serene Lim thank you so much always so supportive to the team!!
All our volunteer team, Jayson, Deepak, Jiamin, Bernice, thk u once again for all the help and support to the team!! Love u all.
My salsa students, Shah, Shunner, Helena, Winnie, Tracy, thk u for coming down last night! Heard all your cheering
Rachel Teo and Chloe Jae Lee thks for sending us back home after those late nitez training
and Emma Ahmad, Letitia Ratnam, Esther Chew thks for coming by despite your busy schedule, was happy to see u guys here, so sorry cannot manage to have proper catch up thou...
Love those mega wefies? Hahaha special thanks to Gwenda!! She took all those pretty wefies.
And all our friends and family memebers, thank you for your cheering and screaming last night to give all the performers the adrenaline to put up the show!!
Once again, thank u Esplanade Da:ns Festival committee to have us to be part of this event. Look forward to next year Da:ns Festival.
Lastly, thank you once again to Aceki Danz and Choo Yanqing provding me the learning experiences all these years. And Waihwang, steven, rachel, chrys, thks for being so supportive and helping me in my steps!

Now is time to have a good recharge and prepare our next project!!
Stay tuned to official photos and videos!!

PS: pls help me tag if I have missed out anyone

The AC Dance Salsa Exams in Singapore

The AC Dance Salsa Exams in Singapore

After all the buzz of the Hong Kong Fest and the New Year, I finally have some time to conduct some Salsa examinations for our students here in our Singapore dance school. These Salsa dance exams are important for them to keep track of their progress in dance and ensure that they absorb and remember what they learned in their Salsa classes. Starting with the basic level 1 Salsa exam, I plan to guide them through to at least 3 or 4 levels eventually (hopefully by the end of this year so that they can go on to higher level next year).

I think the Salsa dance aspect of the AC Dance is not too difficult to clear so long as the students are familiar with the basic techniques they learned in Salsa classes. What's more difficult is the other dances they have to clear, like rueda, merengue and bachata.  Some of them are not very familiar with these dances as they have not taken as many of these dance classes as they have for Salsa. Still, these dances are not that difficult, and if all goes as planned, my semi-pro darlings will have completed their basic level exams, together with the rueda, bachata and merengue aspect of the exams! Yeah!

The good thing about the exams is that it helps us to keep track of what dance we have completed and what we have not done. This ensures that those who take the dance exams are well-rounded and know enough of each aspect of Salsa (and its related dances) to dance it. Eventually, all our students will be made to go through all the important dances: merengue, bachata, rueda, hiphop, chacha, afro cuban rumba, Argentine Tango, rhumba, jazroc and more! And the dance conditioning classes will train them up for the demanding body isolations, spins and flexibility these dances require for them to look good when they dance anywhere in Singapore and around the world!

Of course, Jaztin amazingly drafts out all the modules for training. Sometimes I'm amazed by just how far into the future he can "see" and how well he can read minds. Because of his planning, everything somehow always falls into plan. Take the dance conditioning classes he planned for instance, it seems boring right now as the steps repeats itself again and again, but I think everyone who regularly attends the classes will be amazed by just how far their isolations and spins have improved when we do our dance choreography! The thing about dancing is that you never quite realize how much you've improved or deproved unil you compare your dancing now with that of a few months back.

And I can't wait to show the students videos of them dancing the next time as compared to now!


- Yanqing, 2007

Salsa: It Totally Changed My Life

"It totally changed my life"...

My gosh, I never really understood the full extent of those words till I started dancing Salsa. Talk about a full-bodied inside-out makeover! Personally I think Xenbar n Teacher Ong contributed a lot to this change. It's not just the Salsa dance per se, but the people at Xen, the Salsa dance classes we take in Singapore, the stupid things we do, the very fact that we have a place to just muck around, train when we want, sleep, bathe, play x-box (and now the guys are going into online game too- XCC corner: Xenbar City/Country Club -> Xenbar Computer Club??).  

Xen's like a home:

cozy, comfortable, cluttered and loved by many...  

Maybe we should name XCC to be Xenbar Cozy Corner! I mean, dammit!, I can sleep on the massaging chair wif my mouth hanging wide open like an Orang Utan and no one cares! Haha... My deepest darkest secret... (remind me to pray before I sleep that nobody mistakes it for a damn funky-lookin' garbage bin)

And just for your information, I LIKE clutter.

All About Clutter

Call it a quirk if you like, but I think clutter shows something about you: you have a lot of things to do that is so fun and enriching that you have no time to pack!!  More important, it shows that your home is lived in. That there are real people messing up the place, there is life going on, not an empty nest you inhabit every night coz there's no place to go to.

I think this was influenced from the Joy Luck Club (Waverly and her child). Blame it on Sec4 Lit classes. But it kinda stuck with me when my teacher said it. Then again, you could say that I'm a messy creature, which I dun totally deny. I paraphrase: it's good and disciplined to keep a home clean, but clutter and mess is not all that bad. It show's that you're having fun!

Back to Xenbar: the best school in the world  

We've got everything here: costumes, masks, hats, shoes, video screen, gym set, chicken wings, shower, bed, blanket, 3 studios, make up, colored hair wax, posture strap, dvds... All the facilities you need to train and be good.

We've also got all the dance classes Singapore needs to be a great dancer: Afro-Cuban, Performance, Shine, On 2, Rueda, Yoga, Isolation, Spin, Stretch, Hip Hop, Belly, Sensual, Ballet, Jazz... All set up with the goal to improve our Salsa dancers... Hmmm... Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, the most important thing: BASIC CLASS EVERYDAY!! (dun get me started on that)

And it's so convenient... All the Salsa classes are modular so if I decide that I wanna start learning today, I can join it this week. I dun hafta wait until twenty-something of July or September for the series of classes to start again.

Seriously, it's the ambience of the place. It's a place of healthy competition, lots of laughter, where we can work hard but laugh all the way. Yeah sure, it's no Salsa Palace, it's far from it in fact. But if you ask me honestly, I don't want a grande ballroom where everytime I step on the dance floor, there are a billion and one people with their eyes safety-pinned on me, calculating and analyzing everything I do.

I want a cozy hideaway where I can stick my tongue out when I feel like it (pant, pant, woof!), crawl around everywhere, find the eucalyptus tree to koala... (tt's the full time job of a koala, by the way... They are only awake for 4 hours of the night. The rest is spent in blissful slumber on a eucalyptus tree). Isn't that what life is all about anyway? Living your life. Like scratching your back when it itches: it feels good.

That's what I like about Xen. There is no condemning judgment; there is a lot of forgiveness. I'm not saying that we are so super duper angelic that we don't get on each other's nerves, it happens. But we try not condemn or spread unnecessary rumors around. Like what Teacher Ong says, we always try to see the heart, if the person is sincere. And we practice forgiveness. At least I do. Practice it. I've not mastered it yet, but I'm trying hard!

One thing that I learned when I teach Salsa: I seldom get angry with someone, but I get disappointed often. And I do get very frustrated. It's very heart-breaking sometimes when you see the potential of the dance student and try to give him the most important things that you know, but he has pre-decided to do things his way and cannot meet his goal. It's like you have the key to open the door but he refuses it and keeps banging his head against it to force it open.

I guess Teacher Ong, as always is right on the mark when he says that the teachers and dance schools are important because they know the road and have established a system to train dancers. They have been through the process and achieved the goal (and also helped many others to do so), so they know what path you have to take, they know what is the most important thing you have to do to get there and the miraculous thing is that they can show you the road in the darkness.

Super important: What takes a normal salsa dancer 2 years to achieve can take you 3 months. I know. I've done it, and I haven't stopped yet, I'm still getting better, and I still have so so much to learn. THAT's why I love my dance studio!!! I was so thoroughly blessed to go to Xenbar to learn Salsa classes in Singapore. I was blessed with such a high calibre teacher who gives us so much. =) Of course, I'm not saying that other Singapore dance schools do not have good teachers, in fact I think they are all pretty good (even though I did not train under them). I'm just saying that I Love my dance school. I think it's the best. My subjective opinion based on true facts. Haha!!

- Yanqing, 22/3/2006

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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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