Started on 15 March 2003, a special debut of Adults & Children Social Dance Elementary Class was conducted at a Community Centre after a long wait of 5 months to obtain People's Association's (PA) Approval. As it was unprecedented and PA never allows adults to mix with children in any of its courses in Singapore's Community Centres so the route in getting this very unique course approved was definitely an audacious uphill task.
The idea for this mix class was mooted by Jason, a friend of Robin in Nov 02 who went all over Singapore trying to enroll his extended family for such a course but to no avail. Robin, never been shy in proclaiming his love for dancesport and have conducted various dance classes and is appointed as the moderator for his company's dance forum, was approached for help.
This dance course was also hampered by the terrorist threats, Iraqi war and SARS outbreak in Singapore. Having children in the course means having to adhere to Singapore Government regulation to stop the dance course for 3 weeks just after the first 2 weeks of lessons.
Yes, this special class could have been conducted in private studios with much less hassle, could charge a higher fee and would have pocketed a more reasonable dance instructor remuneration. However, Robin and Pele strongly believe that this special course will be of benefit to the public and all families with limited means should have a chance to enjoy it too.
The Adult and Children Social Dance Class emphasizes that a family that does activities together will stay and be happy together. It is a learn together and have fun as a family unit to foster family harmony, closer ties, healthy living and family togetherness. Scenes of parents idling around while waiting for their kids to finish their lessons are things of the past.
The class started off with 3 families of a total 14 participants consisting of 5 adults and 9 children. Throughout the course, some parents brought along their extended families, babies and children to see and experience the class. Children being themselves quickly form friendships among each other and so do the parents.
One of the parents enrolled his hearing impaired son and he taught the class, including the dance instructors how to communicate with his child. Mothers with their hearts full of love were seen pouring out their nurturing instincts to this special child during the classes.
Before and after each class and during breaks, the children ran wild in the dance studio playing catching, somersaulting, doing leg splits and rehearsing the dance steps in break neck speed similar to break dancing. Other babies and children joined in the race and contributed a few decibels to the sound system.
At times, some parents utilise the dance classes as an incentive for their kids to complete their homework, by disallowing them to attend dance classes as punishment if the kids do not perform in school! It was hilarious seeing a mother trying to execute a dance variation carrying her baby boy or the baby was jealous of mother paying attention to her dance partner and clinged tightly to her leg and danced with his mother!
Dance Instructors, Robin and Pele also learnt a few things from the children like the following:
Robin and Pele spent hours modifying the course content to focus on family, interaction and vocal communications. Many times the parents emphasized that knowing how to execute the dance variations was not important but fostering fun and improving social manners were what they want.
Awards & Recognition are given to the following students:
Robin and Pele and all parents who attended this course would like to thank and give appreciation to Anthony Seow, Carolyn Ng, Catherine, Jasmine Koh, Lee Yeow Nee and all staff of the Ulu Pandang Community Club for the assistance given, headaches received and approval obtained in getting this course started. Below are other fun photos of the children after the last class was over.
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|This article was published on Friday 20 June, 2003.|
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