Hazel Tng may have discovered her calling to dance late, but she and fellow dancers Alice Tan and Jessica Christiana are making a big leap in this industry.
Contributed By Dannon Har
The creative arts scene is gradually maturing, thanks in part to the inroads being continually forged by motivated individuals who have an insatiable penchant for the arts.
City Harvest Church members Hazel Tng, Alice Tan, and Jessica Christiana are just three such trailblazers making headway in the arts scene. The three performed during the Singapore Arts Festival with lauded contemporary dance group T.H.E. Dance Company, in a performance titled As It Fades.
T.H.E. Dance Company, founded by acclaimed Young Artist Award winner Kuik Swee Boon, has been on the forefront of Singapore’s contemporary dance scene since its inception in 2008. As It Fades received positive reviews along with media attention; Tng, Tan and Christiana appeared on Channel NewsAsia to talk about the performance at the Esplanade Theatre.
For Tng, it was her greatest dance achievement to date. “We all enjoyed it because to be able to dance on the Esplanade stage is an honor,” says the independent artist. “As a performer, you grow in order to be able to dance on that stage.”
Tng came to dance later than most. At the age of 17, when she became a Christian in CHC, she joined the dance ministry of the church in the same year. But it was not until the age of 20, when she entered the now-defunct School of Creative Arts set up by Christian City Church’s Phil Pringle in collaboration with CHC, that she had her first official dance training.
“Even though I started so late, God just veered me back to my calling,” says Tng. “When you are meant to do something, you will just feel and know it inside you.”
Tng hasn’t looked back since. She enrolled into LASALLE College of the Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2007 with a major in dance. With that degree in hand, she began to dance in professional performances, mostly with T.H.E. “Every time I go on stage, my main goal is to inspire someone to dance,” she says.
While being proficient in other dance forms, Tng admits that contemporary dance is her favorite. “Contemporary dance is very real, very expressive; there’s a lot of exploration involved, and it is very accepting of all kinds of people.”
When not on stage, Tng works as the creative dance director of a company, Arts Culture, founded with her husband, Jeff Low. Arts Culture organizes dance and music enrichment programs for schools. With a staff strength of 10 instructors, Tng has serviced schools such as CHIJ Katong, Pioneer Secondary School, and Lakeside Primary School. This endeavor allows her to both fulfill her passion and calling, while making a living out of it. “I dance to fill my soul, but I teach to survive,” admits Tng.
Beyond professional performances, Tng values the opportunity to dance in church. “If it is a gift from God, you should share it in the house of God,” she says.
Tng’s next dance performance will be at Sprouts 2011, a National Arts Council event for budding choreographers happening end of July.