Monday, May 4, 2015

Dance little lady dance

It wasn't that long ago when I wrote about Lesley-Anne enjoying JC life, partly due to her love for dance and her Dance CCA. In the blink of an eye, it's time for her to step down as a senior (the JC2s stop CCA from mid of the year so they can focus on the fast approaching A levels).

Joining the dance group was the most fulfillment Lesley-Anne has ever gotten out of any CCA. She has not only improved tremendously on her dance techniques, she has also had the opportunity to perform many different dance styles.

Being part of dance is no walk in the park. People often have the mistaken idea that a dance CCA only dances or learns choreography. The truth is a huge chunk of each three-hour session is spent on technical exercises and each session starts with PT (push-ups, crunches, etc). Dance is a very physically demanding performing art, almost like a sport.

In fact, Lesley-Anne is now the most physically fit I've ever seen her. If you've followed my blog, you'll know that sports has never been Lesley-Anne's forte. For the NAPFA test, she's always struggled with the 2.4km run but from her dance training, running stopped becoming a hurdle. This year, for the first time since primary school, she scored a gold in NAPFA. She was so motivated she decided to try and maintain her fitness by going jogging twice a week. Here she is with Andre. Brother and sister running together! Who would've thought?

It has been such a huge blessing for Lesley-Anne to be part of her dance CCA, in no small part because of the instructor, Dan Kwoh. Despite her not having joined a dance CCA previously, Mr Dan took a chance on her and gave her the opportunity to blossom. He's a terrific mentor to his students and great at identifying potential. Eg. if he feels that a student is particularly skilled at expression, he will give her an opportunity to showcase this. He noticed Lesley-Anne's technique (as a result of her ballet training) and gave her a pas de deux (dance duet) part in the school's Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) item. Ok, it's also partly because Lesley-Anne is so petite - it means she's easier to lift!   

Mr Dan is not just a great teacher, he's a fantastic choreographer. That explains why he's so popular as a dance instructor for schools. He's currently teaching 6 schools and choreographed all the dances for this year's SYF. He held a mini rehearsal/concert for family members of all 6 schools to see the performances and I was completely impressed by the sheer scale and creativity of all the dances.

This is a pic of one of the secondary school items.

And these two pics below are of Lesley-Anne's school dance. Mr Dan tends to pick more abstract concepts for JC and this one depicts the fear and loneliness associated with dementia. I know, right? So cheem! But I thought they totally pulled it off - it was beautiful and haunting.

You can watch the full performance here. Sorry for bad recording - this was taken from our seats and we couldn't find the official SYF video online.

All 6 of Mr Dan's schools achieved Distinction for this year's SYF. I can't say I'm surprised but it speaks volumes of his skills and dedication as a dance educator.

I think Lesley-Anne is very fortunate to have discovered something she's passionate about and been given the opportunity to pursue the passion in a nurturing environment. I've always thought dance to be an exquisite art form and is pure poetry in motion. As pioneer American modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham put it, "Dance is the hidden language of the soul." Such a blessing that Lesley-Anne is able to channel this language as a mode of expression.

"The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word." - Mata Hari


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, Lesley-Anne!

ever thought of doing dance full-time?
can that work in Singapore?


monlim said...

Thanks, Grace! I don't think L-A is good enough to pursue dance full-time. She's happy enough doing it as a hobby :)

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