Dance, Dance, Dance!
By Timothy Wee
March 7, 2013
The dancing fever rages on as we approach the dawn of SAFRA Dance Fiesta 2013. Last week, we were at Danz People hanging out with hip hop dancer, Kayte Willis.
With the itch still in our feet, we trooped down to acclaimed dance studio, Studio Wu. While there, I shot the breeze and even busted a few moves with local hip hop dancer, Vernon Huang.
An alumni member of NTUMJ’s Dance Club, Vernon started dancing in his secondary school days with his twin brother, Jackie. Together, they studiously learnt the dance moves portrayed in MTVs and took part in several competitions such as Danceworks!
Vernon studied dance under the tutorage of local instructors, Ms Sheila Cheong and Mr Patrick Loo. His dance education continued while he was on academic exchange in Oslo. He was fortunate enough to count the inspirational founders of the Video Dance Project, Rodrigo Willner and Aneta Antosova (who took 5th place in the World Hip Hop Championship Bremen 2008) among his mentors.
Tim: Vernon, do you feel that PSY’s Gangnam Style was beneficial for the dance scene?
Vernon: I think it is pretty cool because this is the dance where everyone can do. And it’s not that difficult. So, it kind of brings the whole world together. And it also encourages all the youths, adults and children to start dancing. Right now I am teaching schools, and this song makes everyone interested in dancing!
Tim: Why should people get into dance?
Vernon: I think dance is one thing that everybody can express. I am sure everybody enjoys music. So, dance is actually a form of how we express and move with the music.
Tim: How easy is it for someone to get into dance?
Vernon: Actually, it is pretty easy. You just need to get your two feet ready. It is really fun. Of course, we have those without any dance background. We will start them off with intro level, teaching them how to move with the music. There are proper guidelines for teaching. Most of the time we first teach a student to listen to the music to understand the feel the beat and rhythm.
Tim: Will dance fit in with other sports?
Vernon: Yes! Actually, dance is a kind of sport. So if you are active in other sports for example, those dealing in footwork, it does help in your agility. And those with strength, like taekwondo, karate and etc, it helps with your movement. So you can hitch sharper and stronger as well.
Tim: How important is it to have a dance partner? What are the benefits of having one?
Vernon: It is always cool to have friends who dance around with you as it makes you want to push harder. Dance is an unspoken language where everybody can get together.
Tim: Dance, like music, is a diverse field. How do you know which would be the right genre for you?
Vernon: Of course when we all started out, there are different genres. Under hip hop, there is break dance, popping, locking etc. So, I guess we are always encouraging people to keep an open mind. And go around and explore for yourself. Ultimately, you will find a style that you will like.
Tim: I understand that you chose to specialise in Hip Hop. Can you tell us more about it?
Vernon: In the Singapore scene, the (hip hop) scene is coming out actually. 10 years ago, it wasn’t that well known. Ever since Youtube started out, there are a lot of videos coming out and a lot of tutorials coming up. And a lot of dance studios are also coming out. So, actually this gives us more connection between one another. For example, we will see how people dance in the video and it connects the whole world together. So, how would I describe my style? It is purely hip hop. But sometimes, I like to do groove, swag style, hit hard. It depends on the type of music.
Tim: Who is your favourite dancer?
Vernon: My favourite dancer is Nick Wilson. He has been in the US scene for pretty long. And he is quite old, I think he is forty plus. So, I like the way that he enjoys the music and moves. And the rest like Nick Bass, Nick Demora and Kenny Wormald etc. So, more of the US scene I guess. I pretty much love the US scene.
Tim: What should dancers bear in mind when they decide to create their own dance choreography?
Vernon: Initially you will have some inspiration or some people or crew that you look up to. But, try to absorb as much as you can. Don’t get the same style and thing as them. Eventually when you talk about originality, you’ll always need to talk about coming out with your own thing. I am sure even though it is the same music, same song, everyone interprets, feels the song differently. So, this is how you work with your crew. Discuss and come up with a new step.
Tim: I believe you have done quite a lot of judging for local dance competition. If you could sum up the local dance scene in one word, what would it be and why?
Vernon: I think it is dope. Like I mentioned before, the Singapore scene is really growing a lot stronger. We have a lot of people who are passionate about dance. And, we also have studios coming out and people encouraging one another to continue to take dance. Because dance is actually not just a form for us to enjoy ourselves, it is also to tell a story and a physical expression.
Tim: Do you have a message for all local dancers?
Vernon: Keep on working hard. Never give up!
Testified! Words that this writer will attest to!
Hard work and a never-say-die attitude can transform even a klutz like me into a dancer.
Check out Vernon’s interview on our Facebook today!
Don’t forget to sign up for our special workshops as part of SAFRA Dance Fiesta 2013. Head down to Studio Wu today!
For Weekend Classes
K-Pop (Introductory) with Yiwen Yong on Saturday Feb 23, 4pm-5.30pm
Hip Hop (Advance Beginner) with Vernon Huang on Sunday Feb 24, 2.30-4pm
Free-Style Hip Hop (Advance Beginner) with Yutaki Ong on Saturday Mar 9, 2.30pm-4pm
Hip Hop (Introductory) with Chua Choon Hui on Sunday Mar 10, 11.30am-1pm
K-Pop (Introductory) with Yiwen Yong on Saturday Mar 23, 4pm-5.30pm
Hip Hop (Advance Beginner) with Vernon Huang on Sunday Mar 24, 2.30-4pm
For Weeknight Classes
Hip Hop (Introductory) with Winnie Chan on Monday Feb 25, 5.30-6.30pm
Hip Hop (Beginner) with Xavier Teo on Friday Mar 1, 8-9.30pm
Hip Hop (Beginner) with Faliq on Wednesday Mar 13, 6.30-8pm
J/K Pop (Beginner) with Yutaki Ong on Thursday Mar 14, 5.30-8pm
Hip Hop (Intermediate) with Vernon Huang on Monday Mar 25, 8-9.30pm
Hip Hop (Beginner) with Winnie Chan on Tuesday Mar 26, 6.30-8pm
Hip Hop (Introductory) with Yiwen Yong on Tuesday Mar 26, 8-9.30pm
70 Stamford Road #B1-47, Li Ka Shing Library