(D) Mar 18, 2006 - ASK Wins National Chinese Cultural Dance Competition
For the first time, I decided to enter the dance students of ASK in this event primarily to gauge the achievement and implementation of the Chinese Dance syllabus into the compulsory curriculum of the Dance Department which began 4 years ago. Besides this, I felt that the students would gain from exposure and immersion in the Chinese culture and thought that it would be extremely beneficial for them to challenge themselves on a different plane.
From the first day of competition, we could feel the tension in the air as groups vied for rehearsal time, which was a mere 20 minutes on stage to work the spacing and lighting! Some of the groups had up to 25 dancers and thus the noise and chaos backstage was reminiscent of a busy ‘pasar malam’. There was a wonderful carnival-like atmosphere and it was a pleasure to see the multi-racial interaction between students of ASK, who as it turned out, were the only participants of non-Chinese background and the others. The dancers were nervous and it showed in their performances. However, after 2 nights of preliminaries, 10 groups were selected for the finals and one of ASK’s entries was chosen! We were then drawn as the 4th group to perform and we all know the significance of that number in Chinese beliefs!
Rehearsals were intensive again as the final moments approached, every hand position, eye-line and direction was checked and re-checked by all the groups and it was curtains at 8.00 p.m. The standard of performance was incredibly high showcasing both traditional and contemporary Chinese works. My personal favourite was a beautiful Tibetan dance that possessed an unusual posture with the dancers leaning back slightly with a controlled and light bounce in the step. The competition ended by 10.00 p.m. and then the waiting began.
We are still waking up from this dream and cannot quite believe it! I feel that this is a glorious example of Malaysia’s multi-cultural heritage at its best. As the Head of Dance, I cannot express how proud I am of the work of the lecturers and students of the department but fully aware of how much further there is to go. This is the validation of the tremendous effort I have made to make dances of minority communities in Malaysia an integral part of dance training here at ASK, so that we can be truly known as the National Arts Academy.
A sincere thanks to all who have supported our work in the last 10 years and still requesting your continued support in the years to come. Take care and God Bless!