This year’s Super 24 dance showcase competition saw City Harvest’s Dance Ministry, The Disciples, emerge first runner-up in the Open category.
The atmosphere was like no other—filled with anticipation, fervent cheers and of course, bundles of nerves. It was the fifth instalment of the Super 24 dance showcase competition organized by performing arts center O School. As with previous years, teams had to comprise 24 members, performing a strictly 90-second routine within an eight-by-eight meter square stage.
While most dance competitions allow for two to 10 dancers, there is a reason Super 24 insists on this challenging format. “The purpose of having a fixed number of dancers and limited space is to introduce extreme constraint, which births creativity,” says Kenny Low, director of O School.
The competition was held on Jul 10 at the sixth floor Suntec Convention Centre halls. Tickets sold out in less than a week with a turnout of 4,000 on the day of the finals; preliminaries had been held the week before at Ngee Ann City in Orchard, drawing 48 teams.
Besides choreography, musicality and techniques, the teams were judged on teamwork. The four-sided judging format, which is a departure from the normal “front view” judging, ensured that all dancers were visible and subject to scrutiny; this in turn compels each dancer to tap on one another’s contribution to the overall performance while delivering his or her best.
“It goes beyond just a form of artistic expression—every dancer has to have planned and purposeful movements,” Low elaborates. “Each dancer has to come together with 23 others for one common purpose. In this age of ‘expressing oneself’, that one dancer has to move and connect with 23 other individuals is rare and precious.”
The judging panel included established local dance choreographers Kay Lee, Yutaki and Zaki Ahmad as well as Angelica Arda of A Team from the Philippines. The finals this year saw 24 teams competing in three categories: secondary, tertiary and an open category.
The champion was Havoc, which performed a slick, baseball game-themed routine. For NRA Neko, the Tertiary Category champion from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (which entered two teams that battled it out for the top two positions), the win did not come easy. In the last three months before the competition, they switched members twice, and just a week before the competition, one of them contracted chicken pox. “Thank goodness we have fast learners,” said NRA Neko dancer Tiara Insyira.
This year, City Harvest Church’s Dance Ministry crew, The Disciples, not only made it to the finals for the first time, but emerged first runner-up in the Open Category.
The Disciples’ choreographer Gin Lam said of the team’s surprise victory this year, “We wanted to try something different, hence we created stomping sequence without any music. The military theme we picked was symbolic of us Christians being the army of God.”
Lam is also the head of CHC’s Dance Ministry and an instructor at O School. Besides taking part in dance competitions, the ministry has also gone on overseas trips with mission teams to coordinate dance workshops for youth in the churches overseas.
The Disciples’ dance captain Loy Xue Hui adds, “One of the hardest parts about rehearsing for the competition was accommodating everyone’s schedule. Many times you could see each other’s frustration but we learned to encourage one another, pray together, and work together.”
Since 2014, the competition, which was founded in 2012, has received support from the National Youth Council as part of the line-up in the annual Shine Youth Festival.