28-29th March 2017: Dance Uncensored 2017 – Cognito

(Here’s an extremely long post on Dance Uncensored 2017, from a dancer’s perspective. Finally I have time to write on this!)

Popping papaya champagne out the top of limousine

Drink ’til we are sunny

What if….. we say goodbye to safe, and sound?

Wild, and carefree. Papayas #mamayas #babyas

Post-DU withdrawal symptoms are coming to me. I always do small hand movements in my room, or listening to the dance music as my study music. When I watched both the videos of the dance practices and the real performance, tears out of happiness and sadness overflowed (yes legit, I cried 😥 ). Happiness being the effort that I put in during every practices was finally paid off, while sadness being this is my last activity I contribute to Raffles Hall, as a Rafflesian, before I bid farewell to my hall life. First and last DU performance for me 😥

Before I started my university life, I don’t give a damn on dancing or performing on stage. Maybe because I don’t have enough confidence. Maybe I think that dancing is not my thing. Maybe because I don’t like it since stepping into primary school. When come to performance, I will always be the part of the audience, either taking photos or just giving a round of applause after performance.

However sometimes because of destiny, or coincidence, I would say? I bumped into RHDance, a CCA I didn’t expect to join at the first place. I still vividly remember I signed up for audition just to accompany my Spanish friend who is very interested in joining them. Then of course, with solely the experience from RAG dance, I literally screwed up the choreo and I didn’t know how I survived the solos (OOPS).

Since then, my dance journey started. It’s a bumpy road, of course, and sometimes I really felt demoralised after each open classes or practices for performance, because of my poor hand and body coordination. It takes tons of practices for me to master a single move. I remembered sometimes the seniors (and my Spanish friend) need to personally correct my moves so that I don’t look like an octopus.

I chose Urban item choreod by Aly, Nicholas, Wei Yan and Huihui for this year’s DU performance. I did only one item because I know my ability- it’s better for an absolute beginner like me to focus on one item and put in 100% undivided attention into this and only item. And I chose this because I made a promise that I will support Aly for her choreos, and I want to try new dance genre (actually Urban is part of Hip-hop: it’s the ‘chill’ kind of hiphop with tons of techniques) plus the training timings match my weekly schedule. I was glad that I made the right choice, and I enjoyed dancing their choreos. 😀

Then during second week of school term, first dance practice has started. Since it was months ago I danced (Halloween performance), the physical training before learning choreos killed me. Because there’s sudden heavy physical strain and of course, people who doesn’t exercise regularly like me will suffer from it. Then my leg was crumbled and I could barely move before the legit choreo learning session started.

I was worried whether I can survived throughout the 3 months before the real deal. The next day I spent my whole day in my room because of my aching legs. It was really serious that climbing up and down the flights of stairs became a painful and challenging task for me. It took around 1 week for my legs to heal before I can dance properly.

After Infusion 2017 performance, the choreographers started teaching new choreos for a new song. Since this is the first time hearing the song, and the session was rushing, plus it involves certain techniques that I couldn’t master immediately that time, I was like a stone and screwed up most of the choreos. Sometimes practices can be very challenging and stressful for me because I could barely execute the moves according to the lyrics if I wasn’t familiar with the song. I used to dance with beats (counting with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) while doing hiphop during Halloween performance last year.

Nevertheless, my Spanish friend and seniors kept patting my back, and told me don’t be stressed out, and keep going on. At last, I somehow managed to catch the choreos after listening countless times to the music, with lesser screw ups.

As time flies, slowly but surely, I caught up the steps and I managed to dance a decent one. I’m really glad that I was able to put up a performance in front of public, and enjoyed doing it. The hardwork was finally paid off, with extra practices, full dress rehearsals, plus tons of times of full runs before the show.

(Update 21/4: Finally the HD video is here! Credits to Sheares Media) 😀

Okay the story of me struggling ends here.

Self-reflection:

The biggest takeaway from this performance for me will be: Determination. It’s okay to fumble during practices. As long as you put in effort and do more practice, then one day, you will master the dance move. Everyone ought to start somewhere and everyone will struggle while learning. Sometimes struggling is a sign of improving, because it’s very uncomfortable while improving, and you are not improving when it’s comfortable. RHDance has definitely taught me this precious lesson, and I think me joining RHDance is a process to make me going out of my comfort zone and grow from there, as the saying goes “There’s no such thing as a coincidence, only the inevitable (quote from xxxHolic anime)”.

And yeah, it’s not exaggerating to say that I improved throughout the three months of vigorous practices and physical training (even though I am still far behind the veterans). Yeah, can feel that the muscles are building up now. 😀

To the choreographers:

DSC_2676

Really thank you for spending a lot of time choreographing this item! All of you are already in your final year, with Final Year Projects and theses coming up, you guys are still making out time to teach us choreos and extra practice sessions. Can see that every choreographers are in sync and all of you have a really great passion in dancing! Special thanks to Aly who always replying my ranting messages (which are pretty annoying), or doubts, plus you gave me courage to keep going on, because when I saw you I will remember moments during Campvision- if I can do it during Campvision, why not for DU? And thanks Nicholas and Wei Yan, both of you kept teaching me basics of the moves patiently, and kept telling me ‘go at you own pace, don’t panic, don’t feel stressed’ which had somewhat calmed me down. And thanks to Huihui who kept cleaning some of my dance steps 🙂

DSC_2678

To the seniors and year 1 dancers:

You guys are a bunch of awesome people with great passion in dancing! You guys are always my role model, the driving force that pushed me beyond the limits. And thankful to Shibei, Claudia and Leire (my Spanish friend yay) who always guided me in the basics and answering my doubts on certain steps. Kneo you are the ‘joker’ of the group – who always bring laughter to us- it really reduced some stressful moments during practices XD. Thanks Huijing for clarifying certain choreos as well, and it’s fun dancing with you 😀

To the item i/cs, Yuxuan and Yushan:

Thank you for helping each other to prepare presents and designing scrapbooks to the choreographers! I know being the item i/cs are not an easy task, as we have other commitments as well (especially the week before the showdays, we have CAs and presentations coming at the same time), but we managed to pull through it! Plus really thanks for tolerating my occasionally funny but stupid ideas XD. Without us working together, it won’t be a success 🙂

DSC_2627
From Left: Yuxuan, Yushan, and……. 

And finally, kudos to my friends who came to support me for the performance! Especially Siew Kuan, you still squeezed out some of your time watching 29 dance items (and I performed only 1 out of 29 of them) despite your busy schedule and your project deadline coming up. And thanks Sharon, Charlotte and Leon for coming too 🙂

I will end this post with chorus part of Unison Square Garden’s “Sugar Song and Bitter Step” (it’s a very nice song, go hear it):

ママレード&シュガーソング、ピーナッツ&ビターステップ

Marmalade and sugar song, peanuts and bitter step

甘くて苦くて目が回りそうです
It’s sweet and bitter and leaves me feeling faint

南南西を目指してパーティを続けよう 世界中を驚かせてしまう夜になる
Let’s aim for the south-southwest and keep on partying. This will be a night to shock the world

I feel 上々 連鎖になってリフレクト
I feel superb. It forms a chain of reflections

goes on 一興去って一難去ってまた一興!
And goes on with our fun going away, hard times going away, and going right back to being fun!

Don’t you think the lyrics are related to Dance Uncensored 2017?

PS:

  1. Yay. Another thing is cleared from my bucket list this year. 😀
  2. The only thing that I regretted is not having enough photos with everyone and taking nice performance shoots. Initially I planned to dual-role, as a performer and photographer. But that was unrealistic because I was forbidden to go backstage for taking performance photos. 😦
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