Agnes de Mille, a renowned American dancer and choreographer once said, ‘The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.’
This quote instantly came to mind after watching the phenomenal concert that VJ Dance put up on the nights of 26 and 27 April, when we saw our peers putting up breathtaking performances which comprised a diverse range of genres, from moving contemporary dances, to powerful popping performances.
So, we may wonder, why was the concert named as such? Well, the concert was named ‘Vivace’ as the club had the intention of evoking the spirit of vitality and bringing ebullience to the audience through the reminiscence of iconic movies. The immense demand to watch the concert was evident when the club opened a second night to accommodate the large audience which comprised of supportive family members and close friends of the performers, who were not only from VJ, but from other schools as well!
On both nights, long, snaking queues to enter the Performance Theatre could be seen as early as half an hour before the estimated time for entry. Guests were eager to secure seats with a good view of the stage and rushed into the theatre hurriedly as soon as the doors opened. In their arms lay bouquets of many-hued flowers, soft toys and various gifts of sorts, meant for their friends who had worked tirelessly for days and nights just to execute superb performances.
“The concert will be starting in 5 minutes” announced the emcee of the night. Lights dimmed. Chatters softened. Curtains closed.
Thunderous claps and cheers erupted from the audience. The air was thick with anticipation. It was now time for the start of the concert.
The night started off on a high note with the first item, ”All In”, put up by the J1 and J2 dancers who danced in sync to a familiar tune from the well-known Star Wars movie.
Following was a series of mixed genres including Contemporary, Hip Hop, Street Jazz and Ballroom. “Femme Fatale”, a Street Jazz item, was one of the hot favourites among the audience. When interviewed, a J2 audience member commented that it was an extremely interesting and creative way to bring across the empowerment of strong, independent women in the modern era, and she loved how the costume and music helped to contribute to the ambience.
What sent the audience exclaiming “aww” delightfully was the ballroom dance – ‘Rainbow Connection’. As audience kept their eye peeled for their friends who danced gracefully with their partners on stage to the sweet tunes, they were taken by surprise when two of the dance teachers-in-charge, Mrs Ting, came twirling on stage in her stunning gown with her wonderful partner, Mr Nicholas Ng. This led to spontaneous cheers and claps, especially from the students.
However, Mrs Ting was not the only teacher who performed. A teacher’s item was also put up, much to the delight of the audience. It featured eight of the youngest female teachers and they danced to the energetic, familiar tunes of the High School Musical soundtrack. It was definitely a rare and eye-opening moment seeing the teachers that we normally see in the classrooms, out of their usual teaching mode and instead dancing exuberantly on stage.
After the intermission, the concert continued with a myriad of dance genres. Another ballroom piece, “Secret”, was put up by the J1 dancers. Despite this being the first dance concert for them as part of VJD, they showed no sign of fear or inhibition, and instead exuded much confidence. J1 dancer, Yi Ting, described her experience to be a “really amazing” one since it was her first time performing so many genres and items at one go. She also added that “it feels great to be able to perform (in front of) such a large group of audience, especially since she had never performed for so many people before. Through this concert experience, she learnt the importance of caring for one another in the team in order to ensure a “smooth and successful” performance, as she recounted a minor hiccup which occurred during the rehearsals.
“A Wild Encounter” was definitely the most heart-wrenching and tear-jerking item for many as it was the final item for the J2 dancers as a batch. Two years of dancing in VJ had culminated in this.
This item portrayed the entire dance journey of the J2 dancers, where they progressed from awkward and unfamiliar individuals, to a warm and inseparable family. Many J2 dancers teared up while performing this item as bittersweet memories they shared together came flashing through their minds as they danced.
It had been a long and gruelling journey leading up to the concert, one plagued with challenges and obstacles which they eventually overcame. J2 dancer Sweathha remarked that “the only way to overcome these challenges is to push (oneself) out of (their) comfort zone and past (their) limits”. She also added that “as a dancer, it is very important to have a growth mindset” which was exactly what helped her overcome the challenges successfully.
Dance President, Megan Mah, also expressed that “it was an exhausting but infinitely fulfilling journey”. Despite the hiccups along the way, she is thankful that she “had a great EXCO and an amazing team of dancers to help (her) through it”. She also expressed that it was through all the physically and mentally demanding dance practices they had almost everyday, that they “ emerged tougher, stronger and closer to each other than ever before” and for that, she was immensely grateful and had no regrets.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It was not long before the performances started coming to a close. The alumni from four batches, together with the J1 and J2 dancers, came together, bringing to life genres ranging from urban contemporary to jazz funk, to songs from the renowned musical film – The Greatest Showman. Among the audience, a non-VJ student commented that the performance “was very impressive, especially for a huge group of students that came from different backgrounds” and having to work together to deliver such items “showcased not only their talent but their passion”.
No doubt, the concert definitely exhibited the strong spirit and synergy among the dancers from the different batches, making it a perfect conclusion to the concert.
The night left us spellbound, and absolutely captivated.
What grace the VJ dancers displayed, not just in how they danced during the concert, but in the process that led up to those two nights! They definitely danced into our hearts and left us with a lesson: “success doesn’t come without hard work”. The dancers’ tenacity, coupled with their desire to put up the best performances they could, indeed, resulted in the most brilliant of performances.
Karissa Chong, 17A14
Isabel Joy Kua, 17A14