Dance Club shakes to anniversary beats

THERE WAS MORE than enough reason to take to the floor in Deira last Friday night.....

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Published: Tue 27 Jan 2009, 9:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:30 PM

as the Filipino DanceSports and Social Club combined celebrations of its first anniversary with the graduation of its third set of students. In the space of just twelve months, the popular club has developed into a focal point for a large number of expatriate Filipinos in Dubai.

The event at The Renaissance Hotel had been organised as both a celebration of a successful year and a contest to find the club’s best dancers. The evening was characterised by good-natured, but highly spirited competition, as both graduating students from the current intake and senior members from the previous two batches battled it out in the dance area for top honours in their respective categories. And it wasn’t just trophies and the kudos of winning that were on offer, either. Rewards for the top couples included cash prizes and 21 inch flat-screen televisions, as well as a host of other electronic goods; such as mini hi-fi systems, microwave ovens and rice cookers.

To make the contest an even-handed affair, there were three categories for entrants to participate in; the Basic Top Five contest for the newly graduating students, an Inter-Competition for the established club members and a Group Stage, which saw teams of mixed senior and junior partners dancing the Tango in a head-to-head. Among the criteria for judging were the individual performances themselves, the competitors’ costume design and the choreography, as each set of performers had been assigned their own dance co-ordinator to help create a personalised style on the night. “We base our judging on a number of different factors, so that each couple has a chance to impress in their own areas of strength,” said Olive Mara, founder member of the club and one of the organisers of the event.

Fe Malou Castelo, a graduate from the first batch of students and previous winner of Best in Tango, was among the many at the ballroom offering support to their dance pals. “It’s an exciting time when you graduate and I remember my first competition so well,” she said. “But the great thing about this club is that you can only continue to get better. I’m now an assistant group leader and helping to pass on what I know to other new members,” she added.

The competition was soon under way, as each duo took to the floor in an attempt to convince the judges that they should be the ones to receive the highest accolades. The students danced the Cha Cha, Boogie, Swing and Tango, to the accompanying beat from a high-amp sound system, while the seniors tackled the more demanding Rumba and Salsa disciplines. As was to be expected from the expert level of tuition that the members receive from their club instructors, every performance was of an extremely high calibre; the numerous hours invested in practice clearly paying off in style. The edge that the more experienced graduates had over their freshman peers was evident in the slightly more polished moves on display; routines that were always accompanied by confident and expressive demeanours. As the female emcee stated when asked over the microphone by her male colleague how she would describe the difference between the seniors and the fresh graduates; “The seniors are dancing Shakira style,” she said. “Their hips don’t lie...”

As anticipated, the judging was difficult, but – as ever – there had to be a winning pair in each category, supported in their top spot by the talented second and third placers. First runners up in the Basic Top Five contest were Leo Magno and Catherine Jose, who impressed the judges with their fluid and graceful displays throughout the different dance genres. Overall champions were Shejith Kumar and Janice Carreon, who were clearly ecstatic at being garnered with the top honours in their category. “It feels great that all our hard work has been recognised by the judges,” said Janice, a 29-year-old PA for a managing director. “We’ve trained every day for this,” she added. As well as a 21 inch Flat Screen TV, Shejith and Janice walked away with a cool Dh1,000 in cash.

“This was another extremely tough competition to judge,” said Gina Salazar, another founder member of the club and senior dance instructor. “We’ve celebrated an extremely successful first year here tonight, as well as putting on a fantastic competition with some great prizes for the final champions. But, as far as I’m concerned, everyone was a winner tonight,” she added.

The Filipino DanceSports and Social Club meets for practice every Friday at 3pm at Rocky’s Café, Regent Palace Hotel, Bur Dubai. The club is run on a non-profit basis and receives financial assistance from the Philippines Consulate in Dubai, so prospective members should be either from the Philippines or al least have a close affiliation with the Filipino community. Anyone wishing to receive further information about the club’s dance classes can call Olive Mara on: 050 784 7936; or visit the club website at: www.fdsc-dubai.org. Student classes cost Dh75 for three months, with an additional Dh25 surcharge for uniform/T-shirt. Once qualified as a member, the fees are Dh60 per year.


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