Mohamed Feroze bin Hasan
When PA approached entrepreneur Mohamed Feroze bin Hasan with the proposal for a dance competition, he saw his chance to realise an idea to make Chingay a more inclusive event for all.
It started with a bid to help choreograph a dance segment for a community centre group back in 2016 and has since grown into a relationship that is encapsulated with one word: Perfect.
That’s how entrepreneur Feroze describes his relationship with People’s Association (PA), especially with Chingay. In many ways, Feroze is a shining example of the multiculturalism that permeates the Chingay of today, reflecting the unique mix that makes the Singapore success story.
“I’ve always had this idea for an event to infuse the traditional with the modern, because in Singapore we seldom see the classic Malay dance styles in competition – it’s always hip-hop, street jazz, modern… that’s what’s popular among the youth.
Feroze feels it is important to push for more inclusion of ethnic dance elements because this generation of youth need to recognise and acknowledge their heritage and cultural dance identity. To attract the youth in, we need to include what’s trending now, so that’s why I said let’s bring all the different ethnic flavours together and make it a fusion dance competition.
For Feroze, it is important for the youth of today to always be learning something new.
“As a dancer and choreographer, I understand that if you want to do a movement, you will have to do your homework, and with that, you gain the basic knowledge so that in future you can say ‘hey, I’ve done zapin, or I’ve done the lotus dance…’
“When PA approached me with their idea, I jumped at it precisely because it’s something I’ve been thinking about but didn’t have the platform or the opportunity to do it. So I said let me be involved, let me curate this, let’s execute this together, and because I’m still teaching in schools, I’m able to help get participants or at least encourage them to come in.”
Riding the Rhythm Again
The first edition of the D:2 Dance Competition launched in November 2020 received overwhelming response.
The 15 finalists across three categories performed dances that reflected the dynamism and diversity that the D:2 in the competition name stood for and also included elements of Indian, Malay and Chinese dances in their routines, fusing Singapore’s local culture into their performance in creative ways.
“This year, D:2 is coming back and I directed the trailer that’s already out on Facebook. We’re hoping to get more participants but due to compliance to Covid-19 safety requirements, we’re not able to hold a primary school category this time, so the competition is open for those aged 13 to 35.”
“This competition is a real boost to the dance community that’s hungry and eager to be back in action, for choreographers who can’t wait to let their ideas flow. So we’re hopeful for an overwhelming response again in spite of the pandemic we’re going through.”
As for working with PA, Feroze appreciates the free-flow of ideas and engaging with supportive staff.
“We have a very good chemistry and they really support my ideas, it’s a two-way street and we work perfectly. I enjoy the responsibilities they’ve given me and I can’t wait to deliver a good event,” he says.
Hopes and Dreams For Chingay
Feroze has a lot of “crazy dreams” for Chingay. He feels excited that, in the past years, Chingay has been reaching out more to people across all parts of Singapore. “I’d like it to become one of the nation’s significant events. I know Chingay can be bigger in the future. I’d like to get on a float, and maybe be with the President, to wave to the people,” he adds with a hopeful smile.