Everyone has their own pet story of how they come to like ballroom. For myself, it is through my extensive exposure to classical music that I came to be acquainted with the waltz—and it was Shostakovich’s jazz suite that propelled me to pick up the dance. Thanks to the inaugural captain of the team Joan Ongchoco, I eventually learned all of the standard ballroom dances, and I spent a good amount of time learning and teaching these dances at the Yale-NUS Ballroom team. I was one of the founding members of the organisation, and served as training director and captain of the team.
Soirees: Social Dancing
Of all the activities that the Yale-NUS Ballroom team does, Soiree has got to be my favourite. The Soiree is a social dancing event organised every semester, where people would simply get together one night, dress up really nice, and dance the whole night through. I really like the idea of creating this culture in the college, where we pay homage to an old tradition but imbue a modern twist to it.
Another of my favourite is performing showcase pieces at the end-of-semester performance by the Yale-NUS Ballroom team. What we do is that each couple will pick a song and choreograph a (ballroom) dance to it—it’s a time not so much about technical perfection, but an expression of joy and a closure for a semester’s worth of journey.
”But the waltz! Ah, the waltz, indeed! It is sneaking, insidious, disarming, lovely. It does its work, not like college-yell or an explosion in a munitions plant, but like the rustle of the trees, the murmur of the illimitable sea, the sweet gurgle of a pretty girl.— H. L. Mencken, Tempo di Valse
The most legitimate way to ballroom dance nowadays is through competitions: it is now a “dance-sport”. Ballroom competitions are about the most overwhelming event one could do, where we have about over a minute to show our technical chops in front of a panel of internationally-acclaimed judges. The highest category I competed in is the Amateur Rising Star category with my very competent partner Jessica “Fred” Chang.
Community Tours to Elderly Homes
Once a year, we’d head off to elderly care centres around Singapore and perform for them: most of the performance are dance pieces, but we also sing for them and dance with them too. It is a really wonderful way to give back to the community and also fostering a close bond with the members of the team.
Annual Report AY 2016/2017 (credits to the talent by the name of Lu Yi)