By Vienna Fiorella Anong (22S06Q), Chairperson and Shermaine Lim Sher Min (22S03N), Vice Chairperson
In the Performing Art Centre reception area, where carpeted floors meet the thundering stomps of dancers, 14 dancers stand ready for their next routine. Beneath the oversized shirts and cargo pants, each dancer masks their fear, their nerves, their worries. As the anticipation swells, the music crescendoes with the echoing bass of the speaker, which sputters out a steady melodic rhythm. With the music filling the air, the dancers get ready to begin.
Welcome to Raffles Street Dance!
CCA sessions are conducted on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:30-6:30 pm and 8-11 am respectively. RSD is guided by our mentor, Ms Stefanie Leong (Ms Steffi), who specializes in street dance. An instructor at various dance studios, she is an amazing teacher who nurtures her students, supporting and guiding them in their dance journeys.
A typical CCA session often looks like this: Beginning with physical training (PT), learning and strengthening basics, we conclude the session with either a freestyle session or choreography session. These sessions entail us learning various genres such as street jazz and hip hop. We also take the time to choreograph and practice for any upcoming performances.
While the pandemic has rendered us unable to carry out large-scale performances, we have embarked on a series of mini projects to work around these restrictions. For instance, we’ve produced intra-CCA showcases wherein small groups perform their self-choreographed pieces. No matter your current dance proficiency, every dancer has something unique to offer and impart onto the batch, and it is common to see street dancers at the mirrors self-training together.
Moving on to a quintessential part of each dancer’s journey: performances! As dancers, showcasing our efforts is often the highlight of our experience—from the illuminating glare of the spotlight to the raucous cheers of the audience, it’s no wonder that performing is so intoxicatingly enjoyable.
Filming for showcase! *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.
Besides the ephemeral glory onstage, these performances also provide many memorable moments in a dancer’s life. Raffles Street Dance prides ourselves on the bountiful opportunities provided to dancers to showcase their pieces, both internally and externally. Examples include: Annual Teacher’s Day performance, National Day performance, Open House and Founder’s day performances. From the many practice sessions that conclude with ravenous meals, to the constant support through the tiring training sessions, these opportunities often catalyse connections between dancers, highlighting the rapport and camaraderie shared by members in this family.
Additionally, in the process of honing our skills to prepare ourselves for the stage, each dancer can look forward to a unique and dynamic learning process. An example of this would be the annual solo project assigned to us by Ms Steffi, wherein each dancer is tasked with conceptualising, choreographing and producing a short dance to be shared within the CCA. Through these experiences, you will learn not just movement execution, but the art of storytelling through our movements.
Aside from improving their dance skills, every dancer has the opportunity to grow holistically, learning useful technical skills such as videography and editing, as well as soft skills that are applicable outside of the dance context.
From leading warmups to directing dance pieces, RSD provides a platform for every dancer to be an active leader in many different ways. At the beginning of the year, each member is assigned into a different subcommittee, while different events and performances are managed by specific event ICs. The autonomy of members within our CCA guarantees that everyone has a role in shaping this family, ensuring that we all play a part in honouring the RSD legacy.
If you’ve read till this point, chances are that you are, to a certain extent, interested in joining RSD. But just in case you need an additional reason beyond the technical opportunities, just take a look at our RSD family. Beyond dance, we are a group of unique individuals united by a common interest, inspired towards a common goal, and who are always there for each other.
We support each other in all our ventures, both within and outside of CCA. Joining RSD is not just coming into a CCA, but joining a family with a strong legacy, built by the batches before us. The friendships made within RSD are friendships for life, and while we may come from different places, our hearts beat in unison to the same echo of passion. And this is what unites us to be who we are: Raffles Street Dance.
Interested but scared? Fret not. You don’t need to have prior experience to audition — just a willing heart to learn and grow. Don’t be too worried if you are a novice. It matters not where you start, but where we end together.
So what are you waiting for? Take the first step and sign up to be an RSDancer. See you at auditions!
*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.