A strong collaborative spirit took an already mind-blowing evening of passion, creativity and sheer physical mastery to the next level at the seventh Big Groove hip hop festival.
By Jamie Lim
It’s amazing how much a jacket can “do”, when it’s in the hands of a few ingenious, flexi-limbed dancers. The Jinjo dance crew from Korea had crowds in standing ovations and boisterous cheers as they gave their debut performance on Singapore soil during The Big Groove 2012 dance festival on July 29 at the Suntec Convention Centre.
The 2010 Battle of the World champions delivered eye-popping routines, among which was using a jacket as a skipping rope and twirling one another in it. At certain parts it resembled a magic show, as one red cap became seven within the blink of an eye—one for each member.
Such spectacles are staples at TBG, Asia’s biggest hip hop dance festival which is in its seventh year running. Presented by local performing arts school O School, TBG is a marquee event for National Youth Council’s SHINE Youth Festival, a week-long celebration and display of youthful talent and energy. Graced by Ms. Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, the evening treated the audience to electrifying performances from a lineup of eight crews from six countries.
The night started with some giveaways, as instructions flashed on the big screen invited members from the audience to go on stage and perform tasks like striking a pose, popping hip-hop moves such as twirl-lock-point and baby freeze, and playing “Draw Something”. Prizes ranged from T-shirts to goodie bags, and the catch of the night—a pair of air tickets to Bangkok.
All tricks came out of the bag, as each crew set out to wow and win. The Wrecking Crew Orchestra from Japan, who donned black suits lined LED lights, delivered the opening number, sending the crowd into hysterics with a surreal display of illuminated motion. Their moves were sharp and slick, missing not a single beat.
The evening also saw the recognition of the Distinct Creative Arts (DCA) as winner of the Hero Award for using dance and the creative arts as a platform for good.
First launched last year, the award aims to encourage dancers to make use of their talents and passion to reach out to youth-at-risk and provide a platform for them to express themselves in a fulfilling and meaningful way.
The DCA is made up of church friends Aaron Aw, Khye Low and Xue Yong Zhi, all aged around 24 and 25. After meeting each other in their church’s dance ministry, they discovered a mutual passion for contributing toward the community at large, and founded DCA. The S$5,000 cash prize they won will go toward aiding them in their upcoming projects.
DCA runs an annual dance production, which involves a nine-month long dance program where the youth are trained to showcase their talents onstage to their families. The program, “In the Making” differs from other dance training courses in that it is also a befriending program, dedicated in building a safe community for young offenders from the Singapore Boys’ and Girls’ Home. Through the program, core values and discipline are instilled in the youth.
In their introductory video, the P.H.D crew emphasized “keeping the passion (of dance) regardless of what you are doing, be it studying or working”. Their appearance on stage in working attire sent ripples of laughter through the audience; “organized chaos” was an apt description of their ensuing performance.
In a departure from the traditional closing performances by the host, O Crew from O School, an ensemble crew was formed with other local crews, who are top acts themselves—Ad Hoc, Joyce & the Boys, Chunky Ceekay & Fong, Da’ Street Soulz and Guerrilla Collection. “The collaboration among all the different crews was very fruitful,” shared Kenny Low, O School’s co-founder.
“A part of dancing is about learning how to dance together. We decided to combine the other local dance crews with O Crew so that all the dancers can gain more exposure and learn from each other. The entire process was very fruitful.”