Three months of practice culminated in an evening of groove at the annual O School Recital, held at the Republic Cultural Centre on 13 December 2009. The recital aimed to showcase the talents of about 250 handpicked students from the O School performing arts center.
The evening kicked off in high gear with an energetic B-boy number that wowed the crowd with fancy footwork, spins, turns and freezes. The other 14 performances spanned genres of street jazz, hip hop, popping (involving jerky moves) and reggae. While most of the dances were slickly executed such that they belied the dancers’ lack of professional experience, the best-received performances were those that incorporated comical touches into their repertoire. A new dance style, waacking (a ’70s dance style focusing on dynamic arm movements), was also introduced at this year’s recital.
The costumes were equally varied, ranging from baggy sweatshirts to metallic leggings, some vampy and some Goth, but all inspired. One group even performed semi-blindfolded in see-through gauze. Full-time dance instructor Gin Lam, 24, said, “Throughout the years, we’ve seen the students’ skills and techniques improve, but beyond that we also want to see them grow in terms of crowd interaction.”
Cheering the dancers on was a 1,000-strong turnout of mostly youth, which also included celebrities Patricia Mok and Nat Ho, who had previously collaborated with O School for the President’s Star Charity show in October. “It was very inspiring seeing the performances, especially for us entertainers, as we know the value of dance in our everyday work,” said Mok. Another supporter, Elaine Wong, 57, a nurse, who was there to watch her daughter perform, said, “Watching these young people having such fun while pursuing their passion makes me feel young myself.”
About three quarters of O School’s enrolment comprise polytechnic students, with the rest being working adults. On the more difficult aspects of the rehearsals, Andee Chua, 19, a Year 3 polytechnic student said, “One of the most challenging aspects was definitely working together as a whole team, but that’s the beauty of it all — it’s always a team effort, never an individual one.” Awards were also presented for four categories — Most Improved Dancer, Most Loyal Dancer, Best Female Dancer and Best Male Dancer.
|PHOTOS: Albert Soh|
The night ended with a series of performances from none other than the O Crew — a group of 15 elite dancers from the school, 10 of whom are instructors themselves. Delivering one of the standout solo performances of the night was freelance dance instructor Benedict Koh, 26, who fused popping dance moves with hip hop music instead of the more conventional ’70s funk numbers.
Said Kenny Low, director of the four-year-old O School, “O School is about bringing street dance to the masses and creating a platform where dancers from different institutes can gather,” What’s in the pipeline? Having secured the rights to Dance Delight (a major street dance competition held annually in Paris, New York and Japan, among others), it looks like O School will be hosting the biggest dance competition this part of the world in the coming year.