Friday, July 22, 2011

Faces of the National Day Parade 2011: School of Dance performers breathe life to supersized NDP prop

Stage fright takes on a whole new meaning for dancers from the School of Dance who will dance their hearts out on Singapore's 46th birthday, but nothing will stop the 46 young dancers from their curtain call come 9 August.

The National Day Parade (NDP) 2011 participants will perform on a tiny 3m by 3m stage seven storeys above the ground with no railings, with the event broadcast "live" to millions of viewers.

Forty six dancers from the School of Dance spent the past few months polishing their routine and are ready to breathe life to the massive cube that will take centrestage at the show venue for Singapore's 46th birthday celebration.

Months of rehearsals and meticulous planning between dance choreographers, the lighting and sound crew and safety officials have produced a show item in one of the largest props ever constructed for a National Day Parade.

The stage can rotate and a lifeline is all that will save an over-energetic pirouette from shooting the dancer out of the cube. So practice and tight coordination between a behind-the-scenes team that will ensure the right cube rotates dancers into view at the right time is essential.

Artistes from the School of Dance have taken centrestage before but nothing beats this year’s dance venue.

Chan Hsin Yee, 15, from the School of the Arts, said she spent many hours practising in a dance studio with fellow dancers said the anticipation was awesome just before her cube was rotated into position for her first rehearsal in front of packed seating gallery during Combined Rehearsal 3 (which was open to family members of NDP participants)

Hsin Yee said: “There’s a lot of adrenalin flowing when I’m performing on the 7th level, which is the highest level of the cube. When you are dancing you can see the entire audience and it’s a really good view. Dancing at such a height is really exciting.”

Her sixth floor dance counterpart, Nanyang Technological University undergraduate Elaine Kim Nevis, 20, added: “It’s different exposure from being in a studio. We just have to do more practice and get used to the feeling of being on stage.”

Catch the cube dancers in Act 2 of NDP 2011.

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