#SaveCK

After conquering local Vietnamese dance competitions, CK went on to win competitions in Malaysia and Singapore.

He is an amazing dancer who specializes in popping and animation – check it out for yourself:

It’s really hard to imagine that this is the same guy:

Nobody knew that CK was born with just 1 kidney. He had a small stature but seemed healthy and active. It was too late when he found out that his only kidney was failing at 16. In the past 6 years he has been undergoing dialysis, 3 times a week at “The Traditional Medication Hospital” in Vietnam.

Financially, it hasn’t been easy for his family.

His father had to retire from his prior job as a taxi driver due to old age. His mother, who owns a small shop outside a temple, remains the sole breadwinner. The cost of dialysis has been increasing, leaving the family no choice but to sell everything they can.

In this article, (last para, loosely translated) CK voices his dispair –

“My family doesn’t even have enough to eat, how could I even think of getting a kidney transplant? At 22 most people start pursuing their dreams and aspirations. I’ve always wanted to be a dedicated hip hop dancer, but due to my current circumstances, it will forever be a distant dream.”

While dialysis is a lifesaving treatment, it performs only about 10 percent of the work a functioning kidney does. Also because of its impact on the body, dialysis can cause other serious health problems and complications including:

  • Anemia
  • Bone disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • Infection

As a result, the average life expectancy for a patient on dialysis is generally five years (according to this site).

CK and his family are hoping to raise enough money to allow CK to undergo a kidney transplant. According to the same site, patients who receive a kidney transplant typically live longer than those who stay on dialysis. A living donor kidney functions, on average, 12 to 20 years, and a deceased donor kidney from 8 to 12 years.

Patients who get a kidney transplant before dialysis live an average of 10 to 15 years longer than if they stayed on dialysis. CK, would benefit the most from a kidney transplant as a young adult. With a successful transplant, CK can return to his active lifestyle and get back to pursuing his dream of being a dancer – which has currently been put on pause.

Find out how you can help here (a site set up by CK and his brother). The site includes a press contact and bank transfer details for people in Vietnam, Singapore and via PayPal. CK needs to raise at least 500 million dong (approx 29,529 SGD) for a kidney transplant. [Edit: from my understanding, they don’t have a donor as of yet; and his friends are looking to raise 42k SGD to sustain dialysis for 4 years.]

You might not have hundreds of dollars to spare but I think the least we all could do is to:

  1. Lend your voice – share CK’s story so that CK and his family can raise enough, before it’s too late. (Hashtag: #saveck)
  2. Donate the cost equivalent of one meal of yours – we can always afford to skip a meal.
  3. Of course, pray for CK and his family, that they will remain strong!

This guy seriously has talent, and it’s a pity if he can’t live a quality of life he wants to because life threw him a curveball and money was the only thing hampering him from recovering.

Advertisements

Reflections of a n00b dance teacher #2

wpid-IMG_20130306_005051.jpg

Pictured is my 3rd batch of Girls’ Hip Hop course students (ok, I know there’s no such thing as GIRLS hip hop but theres more emphasis on isolations, walking, posing etc.) When I first started teaching classes, I was quite discouraged that my class sizes were generally pretty small, especially when you compare the class size to other music video classes at CJ. But I’ve learnt that working with a small group, especially when they’re enrolled in a courses, helps you push each individual student more. Most of them join courses to get their basics right, so that they can do better in music video classes. A smaller group helps me assess what each person is getting, or not getting, and these nuances are so essential in mastering basics!

Prior to teaching I’d been very used to dancing with dancers. You tend to take the way your body moves and responds to music for granted. I’ve learnt that it takes a lot more drilling and repetition to get basics pat down. A lot of it depends on momentum and coordination with music, which can’t be mastered by just doing it once or twice. I’ve also learnt to be more aware of my body, which muscles I engage when I do something, and if I can’t explain it in words, to find an every day move that students can relate to, to reach the same end goal. (e.g. to engage your core, it should feel like you are constipated)

The average warm up I do consists of stretching, core exercises, isolation exercises and bounce exercises. This will take up about half the duration of the class, but I felt it was essential to build the right muscles and control, especially for beginners. I guess it’s very different from what students were used to from the start. My “dropout” rate was pretty high, and that used to affect me a lot too. In fact, it’s still pretty high :s…But I’m actually glad the people who didn’t want to take their learning seriously have left. Now, I teach 2 open classes, and I can’t be happier with the students who come. They’re okay with the amount of time I take to run through these exercises, and they’re always, always very focused. They listen and observe, and I think those are the most important keys to learning. They always do much better at the end of each class than when they first execute the choreography, and for me, that is enough. Especially if it’s just half an hour of learning and correcting.

Which gets to my next point, I used to find satisfaction in choreographing a piece that I personally felt good dancing to, and would aim to get as much of the choreography taught as possible. I’ve learnt that because people come to learn basics, it’s important to choreograph pieces that they can apply their basics in, yet is challenging enough to push them to improve. It’s also more important to make sure they execute it right than cramming as much choreography into their brains and bodies as they can absorb. If it takes us repeating certain segments over and over again, we’d do it. Also, if it takes me singing off key and shouting above music to make sure musicality is right, I’d do it.

I also used to be very soft spoken, and because I didn’t want to offend people, I let a lot of mistakes go. I’ve learnt that engaging a class for an hour requires me to constantly push myself. No matter how tired I may be, I need to constantly keep my energy up. It’s very unlike me not to be “nua”. For the sake of the students, I’ve learnt that I need to be more assertive, to be stronger, louder and more daring. If someone makes a drastic mistake I’ve learnt to walk up to him or her to correct it, and once done, move on. The key is to never harp on it too much that it seems personal. I’ve also learnt to encourage more, and to provide more affirmation. Of course, that doesn’t mean saying students did great when they didn’t, but reminding them of their strengths, credit when due and point out weaknesses that they can improve on; while providing a solution to improving their weaknesses.

I’ve also learnt to scan the class more. I used to be guilty of only focusing on the people standing within the middle section. But no! No one should be left behind or ignored!! And this would also negate the false sense of security have when they’re out of my direct field of vision. Stooffi is watching.

It’s been 7 or 8 months since I first started teaching… I definitely am not the best dancer or teacher out there, but I have learnt so much, and I believe there’s so much more to learn.

Thank you, each and every one of you, who attend my classes, and supported me as your teacher. Alsooo thank you, CJ and Clement for believing in me and giving me the chance to experience this!! I was so scared coming in to teach, especially with no prior teaching experience, but I’m starting to love it now… and I’ll strive to be a better teacher!

Dance Video Drop #1

Dancers always watch tonnes of videos and I always get some great stuff shared on my Facebook feed. Thought I’d start a new dance video drop (DVD!) section to kind of tie in all the great videos out there. Hope to do this every week. Here goes:

Anthony Lee | Cry Me a River

Love the art direction with this – simple, wide shot – easy on the cuts and zooms… just that the last part is really U$@)#(*$)(????

Kyle Hanagami | Locked Out of Heaven

Koharu | Falling Out / Say My Name

Swaggout 3

SWAGGOUT 3

!!

So this year JJ and her team brought down 3 amazing dancers – Tony Czar, Leroy Curwood and Koharu Sugawara.

Can I say, Leroy is like 22. and Koharu is like 20. and Koharu brought down 3 kids who were like 11-15 yrs old. and they were ALL crazy.

Gonna quickly note stuff down in point form cos I am really too tired to type in proper sentences.

  • The highlight of my local group showcase were the poppers from fbodz. crazyyyy isolations and performance!
  • I really enjoyed the energy of each class! Everyone was super focused and could tell that they gave it their all. Which is rare… nowadays at least.
  • It was somewhat magical looking into Chin’s class – seeing the place filled and like even Tony was taking his class. I felt super proud of him! even though i didn’t really know him…

moving on…

Tony Czar

From Tony:

  • I’ve taken his class like once in LA and he really left an impression because i felt he was a really good teacher. I like the way he paces his class… though he’s teaching you crazy choreography he makes sure you get it
  • I’ve always been impressed that for such a big guy (he looks like a baller) he has so much control of all his limbs that he can move really fast and really sharp. My limbs must be like half or so of the length of his but I can’t even get that precision! WORK!!!
  • Learnt that you need to commit to the first move of every dance more than anything else – 110% – start the piece right!
  • Plus, don’t over-think things.

20121118-233359.jpg

From Koharu:

  • Koharu amazes me how she can take her body from FULL OUT energy to relaxed in less than a second – this really lends her choreography and execution a lot of dimension. It’s not just through her body but through her face as well. I think i really need to work on controlling my energy and speedo of shuttling between max and minimum.
  • Her musicality is crazy. I like how she hits certain things with very VERY subtle moves but there’s still so much power in all that subtlety.

Leroy Curwood: (no picca, wehh.)

  • Honestly I’ve never heard of him before Swaggout but I’m glad I took his class. It was really a different way of dancing – something more organic, more human… I learnt that dance could be a question – and didn’t necessarily have to be a statement. Dancing didn’t always need to be about putting moves in to suit music. Could be back to basics, back to moves that come naturally when you feel something
  • Am i still making sense???

OKAY.
NOW.

YOU WATCH MY FAVE ROUTINE.

GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT.

ABCD dance dance dance…

Just completed my first ever Intro To Girls’ Hip Hop course. For the last lesson, we had everyone choreograph their own routines based on what they’ve learnt in the past 7 weeks and I honestly think everyone did amaaaahhhzing! From zero to hero(ines). Of course there are still loads of things to improve on but I enjoyed watching everyone dance in their own ways. Everyone got the right timings, everyone included some form of isolation, bounce, walking and posing. PAT YER BACKS!

In other news, I had a slight blogging hiatus because of work + preparing for ABCD (All Babes Cineleisure Dance… competition.) Tough fight man! What they did right was to offer whopping good prizes – the top prize was $6K, and every finalist got themselves a camera. Needless to say, this competition attracted some of the strongest female dancers in Singapore (ahem).

Check out the finalists we were up against:

Stressful much?

This was our piece:

Intense moment – shared the stage with TPDE for the announcement of who emerged the champions!

Hahah my ladies all looking kancheong – L-R : Sam, Me, Mel, Lee, Zhili

Clinched the 2nd prize!

TPDE WON!!! watch their superswag routine:

EMJAYYYYY!! thanks for coming down!

a kosmicfied xiaojun…

thess – thank you for always readily helping us with makeup and hair!!

Before makeup… & after makeup lol

KOSMIC KRU~ thank you ladies for inspiring me in dance, being super understanding, putting up with my whining and moody moodiness and tiredtiredness. we have overcome! it was tiring but i think we can safely say we gave it our all on that stage 🙂

and the man behind it all, Mr Kosman, most thanks goes to you. thank you for your selflessness and your patience and I hope we made you proud and did your choreo justice!!! STAY AWESOME FOREVER WADDA WADDAAA~

p.s. i would also like to give special mention to meredith kerr. because her body is one kind of HOT.

THANK YOU CINELEISURE (and skye…) for organizing this! and also bringing down all the amazing choreographers and dancers. (and meredith ker…)

that is all. till i dance again, kthxbYEEEE!!!

 

[Ad] Cathay turns 77!

So Cathay is turning 77! (Looks like they’ve been around for a long time…) And they’re gonna celebrate at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard with music, dance and… loads of halloweeeeen horrors. (ノ゚0゚)ノ~

There’s one thing I’d like to highlight because I’ll be taking part with my beloved Kosmic crew girls ヽ(´ー`)ノ – The All-Babes Cineleisure Dance Battle, where we will be battling out with other ALL GIRL crews for the top prize of $6000!! \(⊙0⊙)ノ~ $6k!!!!!! please come to me.

Check out some of last year’s highlights and contestants:

ANDDDD calling all dancers! Andre Feuntes (Britney’s choreographer) and Meredith Kerr (dancer for Omarion & Toni Braxton) will be coming down to judge the finals and hold some workshops too (4 only :<). Click the image for schedule and more details! Sign up before 9 Sept to get an early bird price ($20-$30 a class, depending on how many you take.)

If you’ll be coming to support / taking part / going for the workshops, RSVP at the Facebook page! 一起去吧!

reflections of a n00b dance teacher #1

So it’s been a while since I started teaching dance. In case you don’t know, I teach once a week at Celine Jessandra, it’s been about 4 months already. It’s nothing like leading a student group. There’s a lot I’ve picked up, a lot I’ve yet to pick up, but here are some initial thoughts:

  1. I’m still trying to find the best way to push my students to reach their potential. I guess it’s the same with teachers in all other fields – there’s only so much we can do. If someone really wants to perfect this art, that person needs to think about all the feedback given and practise like hell. Once a week isn’t gonna make a drastic difference to how well you dance. But I strive to push all of them as much as I can within that 1 hr… you paid to learn to dance, so imma make sure you learn something!! If you don’t push yourself, IMMA PUSH YOU.
  2. Some students make me perplexed. There are people who come in for class totally deadpanned, and don’t even seem like they want to try. I don’t understand then, why they pay to attend class. And then there was this performance we had, where some students didn’t bother turning up for rehearsals, or to memorise steps – EH THEN? How to perform? Are you not afraid of looking all weird on stage, with hundreds of pairs of eyes staring at you? Not paiseh that other people all know their steps and you’re pulling everyone else down cos you’re the only one who doesn’t?
  3. Another thing is… explaining dance steps. It’s one thing to show how a movement is done, it’s another thing to put it in words. I try my best to explain in full detail which angle which body part should go, and which muscle groups you should use; but if someone has never used that muscle in that way before, it’s very hard to explain!! (any ideas? tips?) I try to think of scenarios where you’d use that muscle (i.e. imagine pulling yourself with a pole in front of you / imagine there’s a drum behind you and you need to hit it with your back / imagine someone punching you from behind…). But there are so many instances where you’d never need to isolate certain muscles (esp with isolations)… then? I feel like hugging people like a koala to make sure they don’t move the rest of their bodies.

Much to learn, much to learn.