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Sport Singapore launches structured street dance program for youth

SINGAPORE – On the way to work, Marcus Tan observed groups of teenagers dancing in public, using panes of glass as mirrors or looking for a suitable place to follow a YouTube dance video.

That made Tan, head of Sport Singapore’s sports development group, realize that there was a demand for dance classes and venues, as well as a way to reach youth and get them to stay active through non-traditional platforms.

This was also confirmed by trainers from Recognize Studios, with whom SportSG worked at the last Lion City Dance Convention.

SportSG’s ActiveGroove Club, which opened in 2018, is therefore getting an upgrade in the form of a structured street dance program that is scheduled to start in September.

It is believed to be the first time SportSG has offered a structured program for a non-traditional sport. The club is part of the ActiveSG family of academies and clubs.

Street dance includes genres such as hip-hop, which includes the upcoming Olympic sport. It will be one of the disciplines showcased at the ongoing inaugural YouthCreates Urban Fiesta, which concludes at the Singapore Sports Hub on Sunday (7 August). The fiesta also features a range of urban activities such as parkour, skateboarding and dance competitions.

Tan told The Straits Times: “We realize that when you think of street dancing, it’s usually freestyle.

“But as we interact with our partners, we’ve also realized that it’s freestyle and creative, but there are fundamental skills that you should acquire so that you can train and dance safely.”

The club used to hold more recreational Zumba classes where students learned choreographed pieces chosen by the teacher.

Classes under the program are divided into Basic and Advanced after starting. SportSG aims to run the programs on a quarterly basis, and classes are held once a week between six and ten weeks.

The agency hopes to receive at least 1,000 signups during its initial launch. Classes are led by instructors from Recognize Studios.

Recognize Studios founder Felix Huang welcomed the news as it would help grow the base of dancers in Singapore.

“I am pleased. This can reach more people and sensitize them to dance and possibly take it up as a hobby or career. (They) can also have access to proper education and information about what dance is all about.”

Before the Internet era, Huang, 41, would visit a video store in Far East Plaza, wait for the store to play dance videos, and sometimes buy the videocassettes so he and his friends could practice alone.

Now most people rely on the internet and online videos for information about the activity and its genres.

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