I like to move it, move it…

The SGDF Singapore Open DanceSport Championships is wonderful!

I’ve discovered that talking lemurs hold a lot of attraction for an island apparently filled with repressed individuals that are stiff-necked.

I’m able to turn my head well, so I don’t think I have any neck problems. But I digress (not that I was making any coherent point anyway.)

The theme song has that magnetic quality that infects everyone to “move it move it”. Or perhaps it’s been the number of shows I’ve watched that seem to have all sorts of tunes that make you want to jump out from your seat and dance.

Music and dance seem to be a part of our lives, even if we don’t realise it. Sure, I used to watch ballroom dancing on TV as a kid (which might explain why I am the way I am today) and be fascinated by the twirling dresses and dressed up people who spun and spun and never got dizzy.

And as a teenager, I secretly wished I could dance like that, or like John Travolta in Grease. Without the hairdo of course. I thought it was a splendid thing to be able to dance and flip and swing. As a young adult, I was more than faintly amused by the over-dressed couples in absolutely gaudy clothes with make-up thick enough to make a wall.

dance competitions in singaporeThe flashy moves and fake smiles was often more than enough to send me into bursts of laughter. So when I heard that Singapore was going to host the DanceSport Championships this year, I wasn’t sure whether to be laughing my sides out at the thought of dancing as a sport, or simply aghast at the concept. What next? Grocery shopping at NTUC sprints?

I’ve always considered dancing to be a cultural sort of hobby, and not so much as a sport. Compare it with hockey or basketball, you can hardly put them together right? Still, I guess it’s time for me to put aside my stereotypes of “sports”, and take a closer look at DanceSport in Singapore.

As it turns out, dancing is no longer a social routine; plenty of people all over the world take part in competitive dancing. If you need some image of what that’s like, watch Sophie Ellis Bextor’s MTV “Murder on the Dance Floor”. Underdressed women and overdressed (and probably sexually repressed) men stepping around each other in order to demonstrate who’s the biggest queen who can strut his or her stuff. But it’s not as easy as you think.

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Or at least, as I thought. It kind of reminds me of the show “Bring It On” when they were talking about cheerleading as a sport. Americans will do anything to see girls in short skirts jump up and down. I was more than amused, but then, I can barely do a backflip, let alone five plus a somersault.

In fact, (and here’s where pretend to know our stuff) DanceSport has been internationally recognised by the IOC (that’s the International Olympic Committee) as a sport since 1997, and may very well be a new sport in the next Olympics. It’s no longer just ballroom dancing either. The duo (couple doesn’t sound very sporty right?) can choose fom four categories, Latin, Standard, Dance or Rock n’ Roll.

Latin dancing allows couples to use or invent new moves from Cha-Cha, Rhumba, Paso Doble or Jive styles, while Standard allows them to mix Quickstep, Slow Foxtrot, Waltz, Vienesse Waltz or Tango. Rock n’ Roll certainly needs no explanation. Yeah baby.

The list doesn’t stop here either. Many places are offering hybrid dance lessons, combining the cultural flavour of movement with physical and mental health. After all, who hasn’t heard that age-old adage: a move a day keps the doctor away? Movimento is an example of the new-age dance lesson.

It promises to (and here’s where you have to keep your eyes wide open) change you on a cellular level. And I thought the only thing relating dance and technology was techno music. But don’t let my cynical dissing turn you off. My firm refusal to be more liberal certainly means that I’ll never experience change on any cellular level unless I decide to go for plastic surgery.

If you’re a poor sob that can’t afford high culture, here’s where you can sniff the edges of it, at the DanceSport competition to be held in Singapore. And if you are a new-age person who can’t wait to try out new things, check out Movimento. At $105 a lesson, it’s much cheaper than a regular Botox regime. And it promises to get rid of the wrinkles in your entire system, not just your old and used face.

The 6th SGDF Singapore Open DanceSport Championships will be held at Padang/Collyer Room, Raffles City Convention Centre, on 31 July. Day event: 11:00am – 5:00pm.Tickets at S$40. Evening event: 6:00pm – 10:30pm. Tickets S$228 – 1st Row, S$168 – 2nd Row, S$128 – 3rd Row (includes Chinese dinner).
For further information on the 6th SGDF Singapore Open DanceSport Championships, please visit www.dancesport.org.sg or www.idsf.net
Movimento lessons are held on the first Saturday of each month, at La Vida Loft, 123B Telok Ayer, from 3.30 to 6 pm. You are advised to wear comfortable clothing for each session. For more information, visit www.lavidaloft.com.