Group on top: Janelle and Alyssa
Group on bottom: Lee Zhen Chun
Taneo Dance Academy
Screams of joy filled the air in the performance hall at Suntec City when the results were announced for Category A of the Chingay’s D2: Dance Competition 2022. It was a proud moment for Taneo Dance Academy, who won in two categories: the top pairing of Janelle Lee Sze Shuen and Alyssa Poh Shi Xuan, and second place victory of the Lee Zhen Chun trio, comprising Charis Lee Qian Xi, Tan Qi Zhen and Hannah Lim Chun Xuan.
Alyssa, Charis, Hannah and Janelle had tasted victory in the first edition of the D2: Dance Competition back in 2021, having been members of a 10-strong team from Taneo that came second in Category C.
Covid-19 restrictions had shrunk them to smaller groups. But that didn’t stop the girls from bringing their best to the dance floor again.
Working Through The School Holidays
First-timer Qi Zhen, who started dancing at 6 years old, described her enjoyable experience.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a lot of fun. We decided on our own dance, and did our own choreography, with help from teachers and friends. Then it was two to three months of hard practice.”
Teammate Hannah added, “We listened to Spotify and found this song, a mix of ‘Gei Wo Yi Ge Wen’ (给我一个吻) and ‘Wo Yao Ni De Ai’ (我要你的爱), which we found quite entertaining. So, we went with that, and created a Chinese and Jazz dance with it.”
Charis explained, “We spent most of our December holidays in the studio, basically from 9-5 to work on this.” The trio bonded well during practices. “We picked up new skills, and paid a lot of attention to details… even down to the angles of our hands, which was very important in our dance synchronisation,” Hannah shared.
The girls were very surprised to find out that the video they submitted made it to the finals.
A Learning Experience
For Janelle and Alyssa, it was what they learned along the way that made this experience special.
“The most memorable part was the whole process of preparing for the competition. We learned a lot about Chinese culture through the dance steps, fused with our Broadway Jazz concept,” Alyssa explained.
Admittedly, she knew little about Chingay at the time, apart from the fact it is an annual street performances parade.
“I went for a Chingay rehearsal once because of my CCA, and found it was very vibrant and loud. The atmosphere was very hyped. I recall hoping I could be in Chingay one day.”
It helped to have family cheering their every performance, or supporting with simple acts like buying them drinks too.
Janelle elaborated, “The most fruitful part for Alyssa and I was to be able to perform for everyone and spread joy. Our dance was quite upbeat; people were clapping along and bouncing to the rhythm.”
That was a scene repeated in the three heartland performances they gave – at Our Tampines Hub, Heartbeat@Bedok and Taman Jurong CC.
Hopes and Dreams For Chingay
Charis hopes to see more dancers join in and come up with interesting dances that are enjoyable to watch with more fusion of dance cultures and forms. Hannah hopes to see more younger dancers at Chingay to keep the tradition alive and growing. For Qi Zhen, the learning never ends. “This Chingay dance experience taught me more about different cultures and their dance. I hope to see Chingay continuing for the next generation and beyond.”
While Alyssa aspires to be a dance teacher, Janelle wants to step out and promote dance widely.
Says Janelle, “I hope Chingay continues to bring people from different races together, to celebrate through dance and music, showcase different talents and strive to understand each other better.”
Alyssa adds to the sentiment, saying: “I hope Chingay attracts more people young and old, so that we can be one big family, one Singapore.”