Thursday, August 28, 2008


I always get mails asking me about the politics in the Dancesport world, and especially in Malaysia. People will write to me and say that we are nothing but a bunch of megalomaniacs (power crazy) people who have nothing better to do in life playing politics and messing around with the dance career of our Malaysian athletes.

Let me in my capacity as Sports Director of MPDC state my take on this great divide of Dancesport in Malaysia. It is true that Dancesport in Malaysia is very political and like many other things, it is a matter of your choice , as to which group you wish to associate yourself with. Generally there are 2 bodies in Malaysia, we are with the Malaysian Professional Dancesport Council (MPDC) and the Malaysian Dancesport Berhad (MDSB). MPDC & MDSB are like a pea in a pod, and on the international level IDSF & IPDSC works together like siblings.

The other Dance body in Malaysia is the Malaysian Dancers Association (MDA) that annually holds their Championship in Penang. On the international level they are members of World Dance Council (WDC) headed by a popular Dancer Donnie Burns MBE.

Way before I came into the picture as Sports Director of then MDSB and MPDC, there were irreconcilable differences between MDSB and MDA. Each of them have their own agenda and they pursue their path separately. Like they say the twain will never meet and this is the same internationally between IDSF & WDC. In Malaysia we live and let live, you do your things and we do ours.

Things changed when Dancesport as we understand it to be was included in the Olympic Family Games like the 23rd SEA Games and the 1st Asian Indoor Games in 2005. It just did not happen suddenly, IDSF previous president Rudi Bauman managed to get IDSF to join the International Olympic Council (IOC). That Ballroom Dancing that you use to call, now is call Dancesport (one word). It is a sport and the IOC has accepted and saw that the IDSF has proper rules and regulations to include it as a sport. That was in the year 2000.

I was asked why can't MDSB and MDA join and do a Malaysian ranking so that dancers on both bodies can take part in the National ranking? To answer this is neither tricky nor is there any sinister design behind it. Let me make it clear to all that THE MALAYSIAN RANKING IS OPEN TO ALL MALAYSIAN Citizens with absolutely no exceptions to colour creed race or religion.

In all sports be it football, badminton or wushu we have regulations governing the sport. That regulation have to be adhered to. Wushu cannot have a a non member who says that it is alright to stab the opponent or in Karate in the kumite ( combat), it is alright to kick your opponent between his or her legs.

In IDSF Dancesport, we also have regulations and they can be found in the IDSF website. For instance in Latin the ladies cannot wear skin colour under garment , and the distance between the two cups of the bra have to adhere to certain distance. In IDSF dress regulations, the men are not allowed to expose their bodies right to the navel and they cannot wear kimono like costumes. Such rules and protocols are meant to regulate a sporting event, you cannot have a free for all, where you have Latin dancers appearing with almost nothing left to the imagination. You will then be ogling at something else instead of the dancers techniques.

The point I am making is we are not restricting any Malaysian who wants to join the ranking or the IDSF open competition, all we ask of you is to comply with our Rules and Statues of IDSF. Is that too much to ask? The last 2 SEA Games in Cebu and Korat, please understand that Olympic Council of Asia and SEA Games Federation uses only IDSF adjudicators and all the IDSF rules and all the regulations and protocols from dressings to sequences of the dance. It is Dancesport and it is run like a sport.

You cannot come from another dance organisation and tell IDSF or in our case MDSB or MPDC that we want our adjudicators, we want our rules to be included and we want our format of the dances to be adopted. How can we give in to this. Let me give you an example. To all MPDC/MDSB dance athletes you know that we classify our athletes as Grade A - 5 dances, B - 4 dances, C - 3 dances, D - 2 Dances and E-1 Dance.

Internationally at the Blackpool Dance Festival, that is running in its 84th year now, classify the Dancers under Amature Raising Stars, Professional Raising Stars, the Amateurs Championships and Professional Championships and many other events. In essence, the Amateur classification above means 5 dances in Blackpool. To put it in IDSF language they are all Grade A events.

Look at the coming 15th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship that will be held on the 22nd of November 2008. I now invite you to look at one event that they call the Asia Amateur Closed. Can you guess how many dances a dancer have to do for that event? 4 only minus Paso Doble and in Standard minus Viennese Waltz.

You cannot compare an IDSF Grade A to the Asia Amateur Close. The proper comparison in Grade B. This is neither a criticism nor am I suggesting something negative. I am stating a fact, meaning if you are an Asian Amateur Champion, you cannot as a matter of right claim a berth in Team Dancesport Malaysia to represent Malaysia for the SEA Games or Asian Indoor Games.The reason is quite obvious.

However what I am saying is, if you have your 5 dances and you want to join the Malaysian ranking, by all means come, be our member, familiarise yourself with sporting rules, go to the floor and show your stuff.

I hope not to touch this point anymore and I subscribe to the view that this is a free country and each can pursue their own dreams so long that your dreams do not invade my dreams. Let's live and let live!

This view is mine alone as Sports Director and does not in any way reflect the views of MPDC or MDSB.

Oh! the rose is my hope that one day we can iron whatever differences and work together for the betterment of Dancesport in Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


we have just completed the first ranking and I have heard suggestions from various people that the quality of our Malaysian dancers are not up to mark when compared to the Thailand, Singapore or the Filipino dancers. Those remarks were made in good faith and I tend to agree to a large extend because when we went to the Asian Indoor Games in Macau to compete none of our athletes managed to make it into the finals. In Dancesport I get critiques of all sort but we have to take such suggestions with an open mind.

I was told that our Grade A Athletes have very poor foot work, poor musicality and in short poor basics. This is a reflection of the of Standard Dancesport teachers in Malaysia. As an indication she told me that her daughter trained in Singapore have better foot work than the Malaysian dancers. Wow! something to learn from her.

Remarks like that are an eye opener to Malaysian standard teachers and instead of defending the issue of the Malaysian standard, I say we should open up and examine ourselves as to why we are not Champions in the SEA Games and the Asian Indoor Games. As a non dancer normally I will dismiss such criticism as just another caustic comment. This lady and dance instructor have talented daughters in the field of dance sport and classical ballet dance. These comments are not idle comments. To me talk is easy, criticising the quality of our dancers and their instructors are easy.

With that I think we should accept what was said with an open mind and as a challenge, I would like to see in the next ranking to use the American expression is to put your money where your mouth is. Get your couples out and compete in Malaysia. Surely if you hold the view that our Grade A lacks musicality and poor foot work, I am sure the couple that you can train in Singapore can take on the likes of Anthony and Anita, Wilson and Michelle and Casey & Fabiola. These couples are products of Malaysian teachers and I know that for a fact.

As Sports Director of MPDC, I am neutral about such matters and call on her to produce a Champion. I think a period of 12 months is reasonable for her couple to break into the dancing scene in Malaysia. I do not expect them to lift the OCM challenge trophy, but what I expect is to occupy the top 3 places and be part of Team Dancesport Malaysia 2010 at the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

It takes courage and guts to make such comments and I have said earlier and I am saying it again. To promote Dancesport we must have Champions at the Olympic Family Games like SEA and Asian Games. This is exciting for I expect to see a higher standard of dancing in Malaysia. Maybe with this challenge it will jolt our Standard teachers out of their complacency.

The rose is offered as a challenge to her to do it for the country or to put in casually, show me what you can do with your couples.

MPDC National Ranking

MPDC has just completed the competition in Batu Pahat. Together with the MPDC open there was also the National rankings. The competition was well organised with Mr. Shawn Tay the Chief adjudicator and other adjudicators from Thailand , Philippines, Singapore, Italy, South Africa and of course Malaysia too. Just a day before the competition Mr. Shawn Tay conducted an IPDSC adjudicators Congress, it was attended by 42 participants with Malaysian making the largest group.

It is refreshing to see new faces that is coming to join the ranking and it is our hope that this new dance athletes will have the opportunity to join Team Dancesport Malaysia (TDM) 2009 for the Hanoi 3rd Asian Indoor Games. Through past experience we know that the journey to be the best in Asia is no easy task, but the Asian Indoor Games is always the test bed to see if our athletes are up to standard. In the previous SEA Games in Korat, the Olympic Council of Malaysia, will look at our athletes performance at the Asian Indoor Games to decide whether our athletes can represent the country. Please note that OCM will not send out athletes under Category A at their costs unless we are sure medal contenders. By this, TDM will either have to raised the funds to compete or the athletes will have to pay themselves. OCM are not hard, but they do not want our athletes to go to an important Games, get a good trashing and come back looking silly and stupid. This has happened before.

Now until the next selection we in MPDC calls our Ranked athletes to expose themselves to Championships in Asia. Philippines will be having their IDSF Open in November and many more that we in MPDC would encourage you to go to.

To the potential National athletes your journey to Team Dancesport Malaysia has just begun, now is the time to prove your worth. All said we congratulate you and we trust the web master will publish your ranking on the MPDC web site on the points that you have gained.
A word of caution to all Grade A MDSB/MPDC athletes, please do not dance in any Championship, if it is not an IDSF/MPDC Championship. In the event you are not sure please ask MPDC or MDSB for clearance.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

IPDSC Adjudicators Congres 2008

Many of you have asked what are the benefits of attending the IPDSC Congress. To answer this question , it all depends on you, asking that question. Are you asking as a Dance athlete or are you asking as a Dance Coach , a Teacher or a potential Adjudicator.
MPDC advise and encourages dance athletes to attend the Congress, for at the Congress they will be touching on dance technique, and in particular what adjudicators must look out for in a dance couple on the floor. Is the execution of the technique correct and if it is wrong why is it wrong. In a Congress, I noticed that Natasha Ambroz, got Seko and his sister dance the samba twice once the correct technique and the other the incorrect technique, and the participants were asked to decide which is the right technique. Seko and the sister are the Asian Top Lain couple in the ADSF ranking in 2007.

From the above, it is obvious and it is important for coaches, trainers and adjudicators to keep on updating their techniques and the latest so call dance "fashion" or flavour. MPDC have domestically decided to start a pool of local adjudicators and they must attend Congress and workshop organised by MPDC or MDSB. MPDC has decided to broadly catagorise them in Category A and Category B adjudicators. Category B adjudicators are eligible to grade all class except GRADE A athletes. Category A adjudicator are eligible to adjudicate all categories, domestically.

Once you are a category A adjudicator, you are already on your way to apply to be admitted as an IDSF international adjudicator. Once you have all your technical and professional qualification in place, MPDC will vet through your records and the MPDC technical committee will decide whether you will be ready to be recommended to be an IDSF international adjudicator.

Those of you who have seen the latest IDSF adjudicators form, you will notice that now IDSF demands that you must have professional qualification in both Latin American and Standard , with a minimum Licentiate level.

To those of you who will be attending the Congress at Batu Pahat, you may be asked to declare whether you intend to be an MPDC adjudicator, you will be given a form to fill . The information will be captured in our book of records and will be perused by the technical committee to decide on your eligibility. I can off hand tell you that if you are still dancing and actively competing you can forget about applying to be a Category A adjudicator. At most the technical committee will allow you to be an Category B adjudicator.

Now a question was asked whether a physically challenged non dancer can technically be an adjudicator. The quick answer is no, he cannot be an adjudicator. He may be able to demonstrate that he may know the theory and that he understand the full technique of the Dance but in the Professional examination, you are required to dance out the step. However a dancer who has never competed in his life can however be able to apply to be an adjudicator and have all the prerequisite qualifications.

To me an adjudicator is akin to a judge. We all assume that judges are fair but this is not really the case because judges are human beings and as humans they have their failing and their weaknesses. From the MPDC perspective these are mere excuses, and if you cannot be fair then you have no business being a judge. To judge unfairly in my opinion is a sin that is so heinous for it perverts the law of nature. Here the rules of natural justice apply in that " No man must be a judge in his own cause."

Can anyone of you tell me whether it is correct for a teacher to judge his own couple on the floor against other couples. He may claims to be the fairest person in the world, for if he does so he would have gone against the Rules of Natural Justice.

With MPDC coming into the picture we will endeavor to do our best, we may have our short comings here and there. MPDC is new we are only registered in April 2008. However as Sports Director I want to assure you that fair play in our competitions is not an option, it cannot be compromised. You the athletes must know that when you walk on the Dance floor in an MPDC competition, we will not only want you to know that it is fair, you can see with your own eyes that it is fair. Have you not heard , "Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done".