Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ballet schools

Ballet is an excellent dance form and many parents recognises this. This is testified by the many Ballet schools through out Malaysia. Do you know that even in Kota Baru and Kuala Trengganu there are ballet schools and they produce excellent dancers.

The Dance Society (TDS) stage shows and conduct Ballet competitions to select the best ballet dancer in the country. The competition are divided into age groups and in 3 Categories. Category 1 is the highest where the dancers have to dance en point (on their toes pointed) . Malaysia does not have a Ballet Dance company, the lucky winners will very often be offered scholarship to Australia or Korea to continue their dance training. The fortunate ones will join an overseas Ballet company, many will end up teaching in Ballet schools. The majority will perhaps get a nice office job somewhere, put a little weight and ballets will be a nice and pleasant distance memory to chat about over high tea.

Those who has gone into other dance form will never forget their grounding basics in Ballet. So what is my point in all this! What I would like to address to all ballet schools and appeal to all Ballet teachers is that you are training a good crop of dancers grounding them with strong basics. Would you perhaps consider encouraging your dancers to foray into Dancesport?

My speaking to some hard core Ballet teachers was a little disappointing. They do not view Dancesport as a serious dance form. If at all, it is a social avocation and linked to smoky night clubs with loose girls. Those were the days where the legendary Rose Chan rule the roost in a long forgotten art form of losing her clothes piece by piece on stage. The only remnant today of that lost art is pole dancing. Cheong Sum and Kebaya was the fashion of the day.

These ladies ply their dancing skills in the dance hall through out Malaya notably in Penang, Lighthouse Nite Club, BB Park in Kuala Lumpur and also in Singapore. They dance to live bands in those days. Buy a ticket and those dance hall ladies will gyrate their bums to the tune of perhaps " Yeh Lai Siang" by singer long forgotten already. That may be true in the early sixties and that stigma has never left the Malaysian household psyche. [the excerpts was from my talk over "kopi" with Jimmy Liew Wah Yee a septuagenarian who has been in Ballroom dancing for more than half a century - Reminiscing Uncle Jimmy).

Today Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba , Jive, Waltz, Fox Trot, Quickstep has now evolved into a highly discipline sport. In the year 2000, Dancesport was a demonstration sport at Barcelona Olympics. Since then International Dancesport Federation (IDSF) has strongly promoted Dancesport to be an item in the Olympic Games and they are now a member of the International Olympic Council (IOC)

Closer to home it is a sport in the Asian Indoor Games, The Asian Games and the SEA Games. Malaysia has sent their dancesport athletes to the 2005 and 2007 SEA and Asian Indoor Games. I am urging Ballet schools in the country to consider this. You have taken years to mold out good dance material. Do not only incorporate hip hop, belly dancing, yoga or pilates in your studio activities. Why not incorporate dancesport too. Your pupil may one day represent the country in the SEA or the Asian Games someday.

MPDC is always there to assist you in anyway they can. Okay, so you have been teaching ballet all your life, and Dancesport is double Dutch to you. MPDC can assist you to introduce dancesport to your studio. Think about it please, you are doing a service to the nation by incorporating dancesport as an activity in your studio.

The picture is that of Ellya Sum Mun-Yee an accomplished Ballerina who is now making an attempt to discover more about Dancesport.

Activities of MPDC

How many of you can recognised this lady? I will leave you to guess but have a good look at her, she is obviously a dancer and a good one at that. What I am going to talk about is not so much about her but her mother and her vision to promote dancesport.

There is a dance studio in Petaling Jaya and its main dance form is Ballet. The school is famous for producing top ballet dancers in the country and many of her dancers has won accolades in ballet competitions. The Principal noticed that almost all Dancesport female dancers have a firm grounding in Ballet. She looks at the lines , the footwork, postures and the poise of the girls. She once remarked to me that almost all the top Russian Latin American and Standard dancers have a ballet background. It would be advantageous in Dancesport to have done some ballet.

The Principal started a Latin American beginners for her ballet girls and boys and guess what, they learn the dance quickly and she will be sending several couples to the MPDC Competition in Batu Pahat. So passionate is this lady that she approached MPDC as to whether we can assist her in promoting dancesport to her students and parents. She hopes to conduct a Latin American workshop for the children and explain to their parents what Dancesport is all about. She has invited MPDC to speak about dancesport in the workshop and she is also trying to get one of our National athletes to explain the dances and perhaps give a short demonstration.

MPDC being a professional body is duty bound to help this studio for their enthusiasm in promoting Dancesport and it is her wish that MPDC can play a greater role in approaching the Government Department and the Sports Ministry for assistance.

The person I am talking about is Suraya and she is the Principal of Aurora Dance Studio in Subang Jaya , Selangor. The dancer above if you still cannot figure out who she is, her name is Suhaili. Suhaili is a lecturer in ASWARA and she is also the 1st runner up in the 1st season of "So you think you can Dance." I can assure you that she is competent in Dancesport too..

Friday, July 18, 2008

How relevant is Dancesport.

So how relevant is Dancesport? Someone said that in the Laos SEA Games there will be no Dancesport event. I heard that too from OCM, but I was also told by my Thai Counter part that they are prepared to help Laos stage a Dancesport competition for the Laos SEA Games. This is confirmed by ADSF President Keiji Ukai.

Laos does not have a dancesport team , but we shall keep our fingers crossed. Vietnam that will be hosting the Hanoi, 3rd Asian Indoor Games in 2009 tells a different story altogether. They have a team training in Belgium and they are determined in the face of powerful teams from Asia hope to win some medals for Vietnam. It is going to be a good showing and honestly having been to the 2nd Macau, Asian Indoor Games and the Korat SEA Games in Thailand, I am sure the athletes from Team Dancesport Malaysia 2007 will confirm that the Macau Games wins hands down.

From the web pages of the Olympic Council of Asia, I can assure you Dancesport will be relevant till 2014 and perhaps even further. With the introduction of Dancesport in the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, I am quite sure that Dancesport will be a permanent feature in the next Asian Games in Incheon in 2014, Korea.

After Laos SEA Games in 2009, the SEA Games will go to Bandung Indonesia in 2011 and thereafter in 2013 to Singapore. It will eventually land on our doors soon.

After the 23rd and the 25th SEA Games and the Asian Indoor Games, we have seen two distinct features in the competition format at the finals. The final couples in both Latin American and Standard will have to perform two single dance and for Paso Doble' only , the couples are allowed a change of costume to portray the essence of the Bull Fighter dance.

To all Malaysian Grade A Dancesport athletes, the National selection is on for the 2009 Games. Please be rest assured that in the National ranking, your reputation means nothing to the judges. There is no wild card entry to Team Dancesport Malaysia. Everyone who goes on the dance floor have an equal chance to be selected, you do not have to think if you can dance. You most certainly can dance if you are in Grade A.

Do not miss the National ranking, Malaysia is looking for its best athletes to join Team Dancesport Malaysia 2009. The selection is open only to all Malaysian citizen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MPDC Batu Pahat Competition

What has MPDC done so far apart from announcing the start of the National competition with MDSB? For starters, I want you to know that the President of MPDC Mr. George Tan is the Vice President of MDSB, and he has discussed with the President to hold the National ranking jointly to which Mr. Apache Yong has readily agreed.

As the professional body,
MPDC has also agreed to follow up with the status of those who has attended the adjudicators congresses in 2006 regarding the status of the application. I want to assure all of you who has been requested to reapply, will get a reply from MPDC, but I cannot assure you that IDSF international will grant you the license. You will soon note in MPDC web site the announcement of Category A and Category B adjudicators . Those who are Category A adjudicators will be eligible to adjudicate Grade A athletes but perhaps lack the necessary technical qualification to apply to be an international adjudicator. Those in Category B may have part of the technical qualifications, they will be invited to adjudicate all categories except Grade A.

You may ask why is
MPDC taking this stand. For starters, do you know that Malaysia have only 4 adjudicators of international standing . Secondly MPDC being a professional body is duty bound to increase the knowledge of adjudicators and athletes. The first MPDC adjudicators Congress will be held in Batu Pahat and a certificate of participation and full completion will be given to you at the end of the Congress. In the event you intend to be an adjudicator please keep the certificate as proof of attendance. If you are an athlete, the Congress will update you on the latest techniques and what adjudicators will be looking for in form and style. It is still an important certificate to keep when you decided to hang up your dancing shoes.

The National rankings will be open to Malaysian only. The OPEN event will also be a ranking event. This time the OPEN event will accept couples of mixed citizenship to participate in our competition. Let me explain , in
IDSF Rule: 13 couples of mixed citizenship can dance in IDSF competition in the world. To keep with the trend we are encouraging couples to partner a Malaysian to dance for Malaysia. Say you are a Thai Citizen and you wish to dance with a Malaysian, MPDC will accept you as a member provided always that you must make an election to dance for Malaysia. IDSF rules will apply.

Mixed citizenship couples cannot however participate in the Olympic family Games (SEA Games Asian Games, World Games, Asian Indoor Games) , but they may participate in all
IDSF Regional , IDSF CUP and all IDSF/IPDSC ranking.

To be absolutely honest, we do not know whether this will be good for the country and for
MPDC or not. Our avowed aim is to promote dancing, therefore we should not discriminate mixed citizenship couples dancing for Malaysia.

So to all of you adjudicators, dance athletes , dance coaches, instructors, if you have the time , do not miss this
IPDSC Congress in Batu Pahat. All of you are teachings and coaching professional, you need a platform to voice your grievances and dissatisfaction. MPDC is the proper body for you to join. .

MPDC may be very new. MPDC may not have a track record behind them. I ask you not to prejudge MPDC but examine the structure and set up. In my earlier blog, I told you that MPDC is registered under the Sports Commission Act. MPDC is a full member of the International Dancesport Council (IPDSC) and the only professional dancesport body in Malaysia recognised by IPDSC.

We are also supported by all Government Sporting bodies. Go to our web site and you will know that we are supported by the National Sports Council (
MSN) the Istitute Sukan Negara (ISN) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

So are our credential are impressive? I am not going to answer that, they are relevant and important. I rather you just keep all this at the back of your mind and judge
MPDC by their actions and their conduct. If you have not joined MPDC and rather wait and see, I do not blame you. I want to assure you that MPDC will not compromise on the quality of judging in all their competitions and in times to come we hope to increase our standard of judging by conducting more congress and workshop. That is our commitment to all of you.

NB:The picture is my young dalmatian, about the age of
MPDC. Her name is HOWPORTENG !

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am back

I am back, and most of you may be curious as to why? The short answer is I was invited by the current President of MPDC to take up this post. I must confess that after December 31st 2007 when I resigned as MDSB Sports Director it was over for me.

Further I was encouraged that there are people who are still very enthusiastic in Dancesport, What I feel they lack is guidance and direction and I was asked to share my experience in this new set up.

I have so many things to share with you and I do not know where to start. I suppose I will start with MPDC and talk about their aims and directions.

Malaysian Professional Dancesport Council (MPDC) formation is inevitable. As the name suggest it is a Professional Dancesport body in Malaysia recognised by the International Professional Dancesport Council ( IPDSC). The trend in the world as some of you may be aware of, the International Dancersport Federation (IDSF) has changed their name to World Dancesport Federation (WDF). The reason for the change is many, but the main reason as I see it is dance must encompass other discipline like rock & roll and even wheel chair dancing and many more.

With this dichotomy the trend, is now to leave the training program of professional dance teachers, professional athletes, scrutineering program to the professionals. What then does the amateur do, well they have an important role of regulating the amateur athletes in WDF.

Internationally WDF and IPDSC works very well together, like wise locally MDSB and MPDC are joining hands to start the National ranking. It is most unfortunate that the 2nd KL International Dance Festival has to be postponed, but the show must still go on.

To all of you out there who wants to represent Malaysia for the Olympic Family Games like SEA and Asian Indoor Games. I want you to know that the technical aspect of the Games is govern by IDSF or WDF Rules only. By that I mean you need to be a member of your local professional or amateur body. You must be a current member of MPDC or MDSB. Your achievement or ranking by other dancesport body are not recognised. For the purposes of the National ranking , the aim is to select Malaysian best to represent the country. It matters not whether you are a professional or an amateur. However the distinction of amateur and professional becomes apparent when you join the WDF/IDSF or the IPDSC competition circuit. Each have their own dance circuit.

You will also note that MPDC will be regulating National adjudicators into Category A and Category B adjudicators. The details will be found in their web site. I will touch on other area soon.

The attachment is a picture of the MPDC registration certificate. I choose this picture because this is the start of all things.

If you have anything you wish to highlight to me , you can write to me at