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Hip-hop Flair

S'porean crew wins contest to represent Asean in Japanese dance competition

Daddy was trained as a ballet dancer.

But his daughter is a hip-hop dancer, contorting her limbs with the rest of her crew.

Kiah Yong Shu Yin, 18, is from all-female team Roosevelt which was vying for the chance to represent Asean in the Japan Dance Delight (JDD) Vol. 21 Finals on Aug 31.

Only one team gets the trip.

Her mother, Madam Valerie Ng, was there to support her on Saturday night at Kallang Theatre.

"It's a very good and healthy sport," she said of dancing. She attributes her children's love for dance to the influence of their father, Ernest Yong, a trained ballet dancer.

Roosevelt did not win.

The event had 45 teams gyrating their way through the preliminary round this year, an increase from last year's 38.

Among the Asean finalists, 15 were from the Singapore preliminary round and eight were from the respective preliminaries in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Local two-man team Merwins, dressed straight out of a silent movie, set the stage alight with slapstick, and popped and locked to electroswing.

Clad in animal-print loincloths and face paint, Thailand's Colour of Life looked as if they had walked off the set of The Lion King musical, even dancing to a remix of the chant from the start of the song The Circle of Life.

WINNER

But it was local five-man Flair Origins who emerged as champions.

One member, Daniel Firdauz, 23, said: "We've been together for seven years and this was supposed to be our last performance. Because we're in the career stage, some of us want to go in different directions.

"But now that we've won, I guess there will be one more time in Japan."

This was the team's third try at the contest.

"What we did today is what we've been about for the past seven years. We don't really focus too much on thinking through how to win, but we show people we enjoy what we do," he said.

The supporters there clearly enjoyed themselves.

Miss Valerie Lim, 26, an alumnus of Singapore Polytechnic's Strictly Dance Zone club, said: "Over the years, the standards have been getting better and better.

"Most of them are my friends, so watching them and seeing the ideas they come up with to push themselves out of their comfort zones is really impressive."

The judges, who are from the US, Japan and Singapore, were also impressed.

Singaporean judge Ryan Tan argued for hip-hop to be taken seriously.

He said: "Compare a person who does ballet for 10 years to a person who does hip-hop, it's a very different theory, but it's all physical."


Most of them are my friends, so watching them and seeing the ideas they come up with to push themselves out of their comfort zones is really impressive.

- Miss Valerie Lim, 26, a Singapore Polytechnic's dance alumnus


PRIZES:

Champion:

Flair Origins (Singapore)

4D3N trip to Japan Dance Delight (sponsored by F&N Sparkling Drinks)

X-Mini UNO Speaker Cathay Cineleisure movie tickets

$1000 cash (sponsored by O School)

First runner-up:

Four Thirteen (Indonesia)

X-Mini UNO Speaker Cathay Cineleisure movie tickets

$800 cash (sponsored by O School)

Second runner-up:

Freekzy Bots (Singapore)

X-Mini UNO Speaker Cathay Cineleisure movie tickets

$500 cash (sponsored by O School)