By Catherine Zou (17A01B)
Photos by Raffles Photographic Society
The grandiosity of the Shangri-La ballroom may normally have been forbidding, but this was far from the case on Thursday, December 8th.
The Island ballroom was filled with excited chatter.
A good two-thirds of the Year 6 batch had turned up for RI Grad Night and were visibly excited to see their classmates again after A levels. The chatter filled the ballroom with a lively buzz. And though one may be tempted here to imagine a sea of tuxes and dresses in a risk-free, conventional black, the ballroom was in fact filled with luxurious color and carefully-planned outfits. The painstaking detail paid to the choice of accessory or the shade of lipstick aside notwithstanding, some of the guys had even dyed their hair, adding to the color and vibrancy of the night.
The coiffing and prepping more than paid off in front of the camera shutters.
As the music faded, the Grad Night pageant began. The Dance King nominees took the stage to enthusiastic applause from their batchmates. Ernest Tay (16S06K), in particular, was easily the most popular performance of night, performing Worth It by Fifth Harmony, Petty by RandomStructureTV, and EXO’s Monster.
The dance, put up by him and his friends, showcased his considerable dynamism. The song, Petty, in particular, was a sassy and and playful break from what one usually expects from a dance item, full of feminine, cheerleader-like dance moves.
The choice of the song ‘Petty’ made for an effortlessly entertaining performance.
What was even more impressive was that the troupe managed to segue into the incredibly masculine Monster, executing its masculine moves in perfect sync to the music. With the engaging, energetic performance, the title of Dance King was only too well-deserved.
Ernest and his friends.
Similarly, the Dance Queen of the night, Grace Lee (16A01E) demonstrated her indisputable skill right from the start of her dance, executing flawless body rolls to Major Lazer’s Cold Water.
A photo of Grace’s performance.
Strikingly, even with all the talent on display, it was evident that the show was less about competition than it was about their love of dance and bringing their best for the audience. This was evident in the behind-the-scenes camaraderie that the candidates shared: during rehearsals, they helped one another take videos of their performance, gave constructive feedback, and encouraged one another.
Following the performances of the Dance King/Queen nominees were the items put up by the prospective Prom King and Queen. The performance of Freda Mah (16S03B ) and Cheung Chun Man (16S07B) stood out for its throwback to the Year 6 Batch Orientation Dance, as well as this year’s OGL dance. Seow Shi Ying’s (16A01D) self-written song to her batch, added a heartwarming balance to the excitement of the night. Lyrics like “there’ll always be questions like who am I?” struck a chord with the audience. Rather than a pageant item, the song was a message for the batch of 2016, cheering the batch on, one final time, to the future.
Freda and Chun Man’s performance.
Shi Ying’s touching tribute to her batch.
This sense of friendship and support was the strongest feature of Grad Night. Though cynics may point to the rate and frequency at which pictures were being taken as evidence for it being a photo op, what was evident throughout the night was the sense of togetherness. Old friends, classmates, CCA mates, or friends from other social groups – everyone seemed genuinely glad to see each other and were eager to take pictures together to commemorate the night. All glitz and glamor aside, Grad Night was, for the Year 6s, about enjoying each other’s company, and spending one last time together as a batch before moving into newer pursuits and a brighter future.
Cheung Chun Man (16S07B)
Kamal Hariz (16S07D)
Wang Jia Hua (16S03G)
Freda Mah (16S03B)
Seow Shiying (16A01D)
Elisabeth Tan (16S03M)
Akmal Hidhir (16S07D)
Samuel Kng (16S06L)
Ernest Tay (16S06K)
Grace Lee (16A01E)
Tan Yu Bin (16S03O)
Celestine Teo (16S03M)
RG Dance Batch:
Chelsea Li (17A03A)
Elycia Lee (17S07A)
Ankita Majee (17S03C)
Ysabel Ng (17S03J)
Liu Bingyu (17S02A)
Tanya Lau (17S03L)
Rachel Ong (17S06L)