With dance in their blood and passion in their hearts, the youth of The Big Groove overcome odds and affect positive change in their society.
Contributed By Melvin Lim
Sammy Bernad almost did not make it for this year’s The Big Groove, one of Asia’s biggest hip hop dance festivals. The crew leader from Indonesia’s Last Minute Street Crew, fell gravely ill upon reaching Singapore, just days before the concert. On top of that, he sprained his ankle. Thankfully, ample rest and a dose of medicine restored his health—along with prayer. “During service at City Harvest (where Last Minute performed last weekend) I prayed for healing. After that, my ankle was totally healed!”
Such is the fighting spirit that TBG 2011 celebrates with its theme, “The Year Of The Heroes.” Managing director of O School, Kenny Low, said, “TBG is a key initiative by O School to give back to the dance fraternity. Each year, it gets bigger and the bar for local talents is raised higher. I’m proudest of the team and dancers at O School for putting up a great performance and for hosting all the foreign crews well!” The event was graced by Acting Minister for the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, MG (NS) Chan Chun Sing, who spent time talking to the dancers.
A marquee event for the National Youth Council’s SHINE Youth Festival, TBG 2011 kicked off on July 6 with three days of masterclasses by renowned dancers Maryss from Paris (The Beat Freaks), Rino Nakasone (The Beat Freaks) and Yokoi (Wrecking Crew Orchestra).
The final concert on July 10 drew nearly 3,000 people to Suntec Singapore. Beyond the jaw-dropping moves, the concert celebrated the “heroes” who bravely face obstacles in life.
Vietnam’s Big Toe Crew, has come a long way since it was formed in 1992. From seven people, the hip hop troupe now has more than 60 members specializing in four genres of dance.
Big Toe Crew has been an ambassador for Dance4Life, an advocacy group that promotes awareness about HIV/AIDS since 2008 … “After our performances, we will share the message of HIV/AIDS prevention with the audience, but some of them don’t want to listen to what we have to say,” says crew leader Nguyen Viet Than, 37. “My aim is to inspire and see young people (in Vietnam and beyond) make a real change in their community. I believe we can all be an agent of change.”
Than shared the story of a crew member, CK. Bedridden with kidney disease, CK was going in and out of hospital twice a week for medical check-ups. His family even had to sell their home to pay for his medical bills.
“He heard that Big Toe was in town and he wanted to dance with us. When he told his parents, they were against it. But eventually, they decided to let him dance.” CK’s health miraculously started to improve. “He could not run very fast, but he could run again,” beamed Than. Last year, CK was part of the crew which took first place in the popping category of Singapore’s Battle of the Year dance competition.
The “Hero” award was also given out for the first time to an outstanding youth who combined dance with a social initiative.
The winner, Stephanie Phua, a student from Nanyang Technological University, harnessed the power of social media to stage a successful fundraising concert, Dance For Japan, to aid survivors of the March 11 tsunami.
In under three weeks, they raised S$22,124.81. These young dancers embody Shine’s motto, “Enough Talk, Just Do,” living out their passion against all odds and dancing for causes bigger than themselves.