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Parents & Children Dance Class - Social Dance Elementary

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Parents & Children Dance Class - Social Dance Elementary

Pele teaching dance 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.

After rounds and rounds of meetings, discussions and surveys of current private dance studio market, PA finally gave the go ahead.

Robin teaching dance 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.

Pele, being the one who loves to play and teach her nieces and nephews, was subsequently roped in and started calling and writing proposals to the relevant authorities in Singapore. The discussions also involved numerous mobile phone SMS messages till the wee hours in the morning!

Natalie & Glen, sister & brother pair 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.

It was a dampener and caused a few "casualties" (dropouts) as all parents want to protect their children. Because of the dance studio closure, the 6th, 7th and 8th dance sessions coincided with the children's examination period and caused attendance to fall further.

Glen concentrating very hard when dancing with Instructor Pele 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.

They are using this as an opportunity to provide a public service and to impart the love of dance to the public for all the years that they have devoted themselves to dancesport.

Pele:"Now everyone, ready... 1, 2, 3, 4" 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.

Go too are the times when children were made to stay at a corner or at home while the parents attend a class.

Very happy dance class! 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.

Crudos to the children who gave concessions and encouragement to others, including their own parents and those who are slower to comprehend the lessons.

All striking a dance pose during the last dance class 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.

Tantrums were thrown at times by the younger children and often, the parents have to step in and have a private word with them.

Ian practicing by himself without a partner in the background 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:
- Paul scored 97 marks for Mathematics mid year examination and did not hesitate to boast about it
- Pamela performed excellently with patience and encouragement
- Eng Xian spoke excellent English and loves to play
- Marcus was the happiest of the lot, always with a ready smile
- Glen was the silent type around any adults but played wildly with any kid
- Natalie owned a handphone but not her brother Glen which she boasted
- Joel loved to partner with Natalie for all dance
- En Ning learnt not to be shy and loved pink dresses and dainty sandals
- Ian felt justified to charge a fee if summoned to attend or assist in dance classes

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.

It was a miracle that at least 2 families managed to learn the basic variations of Cha Cha Cha, Disco Rock and Rock N Roll by the end of the course!

Awards & Recognition are given to the following students:

Joel - Cha Cha Cha Prince Mr Loh & Marcus - Bravery Kings
En Ning - Disco Rock Princess Mr & Mrs Lee - Social Waltz King & Queen
Natalie - Best Rhythmic Sense & Follower Princess Mr & Mrs Low - Overall Best King & Queen
Ian - Rock N Roll Prince & Best Leader Eng Xian - Playful Princess
Glen - Dependable Prince Paul - Boisterous Prince
Pamela - Gung Ho Princess  

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.

Back to dance classes here >>

This article was published on Friday 20 June, 2003.
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