SINGAPORE – On the way to work, Marcus Tan used to observe groups of teenagers dancing in public, using glass panels as mirrors or searching for a suitable place to follow a YouTube dance video.
That made Tan, chief of Sport Singapore’s sport development group, realise that there was a demand for dance classes and venues as well as an opportunity to reach out to youth and get them to stay active through non-traditional platforms.
Instructors from Recognize Studios, with whom SportSG worked with at the recent Lion City Dance Convention, also confirmed that.
As a result, SportSG’s ActiveGroove club – which opened in 2018 – will receive an upgrade in the form of a structured street dance programme set to be launched in September.
It is believed to be the first time SportSG will have a structured programme for a non-traditional sport. The club is part of ActiveSG’s family of academies and clubs.
Street dance includes genres such as hip hop, which includes upcoming Olympic sport breaking. It will be one of the disciplines on show at the ongoing inaugural YouthCreates Urban Fiesta, which ends on Sunday (Aug 7) at the Singapore Sports Hub. The fiesta also showcases a range of urban activities such as parkour, skateboarding and dance competitions.
Tan told The Straits Times: “We recognise that typically when you think about street dance, it’s freestyle.
“But as we interact with our partners, we also realised that it’s freestyle and creative, but there are basic skill sets that you should establish that will allow you to exercise and dance safely.”
The club used to hold more recreational zumba classes where students learnt choreographed pieces selected by the instructor.
Classes under the programme, when launched, will be split into Basic and Advance. SportSG aims to hold the programmes once a quarter and classes will take place once a week between six and 10 weeks.
The agency is hoping to see at least 1,000 sign-ups during its first roll-out. Classes will be taught by instructors from Recognize Studios.
Founder of Recognize Studios Felix Huang welcomed the news as it would help grow the base of dancers in Singapore.
“I’m excited about this. This can reach out to more people and make them more aware about dance and potentially pick it up as a hobby or career. (They) can also gain access to proper education and information about what dance is all about.”
Before the Internet, Huang used to visit a video shop at Far East Plaza, wait for the shop to play dance videos and sometimes purchase the videotapes so he and his friends could practise by themselves.
Now, most people rely on the Internet and online videos for information about the activity and its genres.