WHILE there is always high anticipation at the annual Shuddup N Dance (SND) International Grand Finale, this year’s competition saw almost fever-pitch excitement among the participants.
Clearly in a celebratory mood, street dancers also welcomed the announcement that the category could possibly make its debut in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The competition returned for its most remarkable year yet, going out with a bang as the night wound to a close for its highlight – the street dance crew showcase.
Local dance crew Zeppo Youngsterz emerged as champions after a head-to-head battle with the 2018 winners, the Real X Tyle dance crew.
Representing the Philippines, Real X Tyle battled it out to defend its crown, with a sequel to its winning warrior- themed routine from last year.
Its spokespersons, Noel Tarucan, 33, and Ryan Ramos, 23, said competition was strong at SND 2019 but the dance crew gave its best by listening to the judges’ feedback from last year on improving dance moves and bringing new concepts to life.
This follows a long journey since Klang Parade started organising the titular street dance competition in 2014.
SND began as a platform for young local dancers to showcase their talents on stage while debunking the myth of street dancing being limited to dropouts and delinquents.
Klang Parade leasing, advertising and promotions senior executive Yong Shi Min said, “Being one of our signature events, SND is our way of appealing to young urbanites who are always hungry for new thrills.
“It’s a competition we have nurtured from when misunderstandings were rife about the sport to its current status that is sanctioned even by the International Olympic Committee as an official category in Paris 2024.
“To be a part of something greater, having witnessed its growth trajectory, is undeniably exhilarating and heartening to us.”
With Peanut Butter Studio founder Danny Lee lending support to the cause, the competition has since grown in international stature.
Most importantly, Lee said, it was an avenue to nurture young talents and promote street dance as a fun way to remain physically active.
It was no surprise then that the competition introduced a new category — the junior crew showcase for dancers aged below 15.
Beyond the competition, Peanut Butter Studio and other local dance studios, alongside Klang Parade, are also constantly trying to introduce and raise awareness on the positive aspects of street dancing to the younger generation.
These joint efforts recently resulted in securing the Education Ministry’s approval to organise annual events with sessions for street dance demonstrations and workshops.
Klang Parade marketing and promotions head Alan Thoo said, “One of the greatest achievements we have witnessed to date is the gradual adoption of street dancing as a healthy, physical, co-curricular activity by schools.
“The team has worked very hard since the competition’s inception to educate the public on the virtues of street dance.
“We are glad it is now a sport that is widely recognised and accepted by teachers and parents, who are usually the greatest source of support for young dancers, ” he added.
Sparking the interest of the younger generation of dancers has also injected fresh life into the local street dance scene, which was reflected during SND’s final showdown at the mall.
The event also saw intense competition among the 14 local and international teams that participated.
Lee, who was also one of the competition’s judges, said nine Malaysian teams had especially improved by leaps and bounds.
As Malaysia’s longest-running street dance competition, SND also attracted a wide variety of street dance crews.
One of the veteran teams, Katoon Network, has been around for more than a decade with over 20 members.
Offering a different perspective, Eric Chan, 33, and Kelvin Low, 35, stressed on the dance crew’s essence of fun as the basis for its style, citing Jackie Chan as an inspiration.
“We joined the competition to have fun, for a common goal to rally and just enjoy dancing together on stage, ” said Chan.
Low, the group’s founder, agreed, saying its routine was honed from each member’s input.
A relative newcomer to the local street dance scene was Unlimited Crew. Formed by a six-member family unit of siblings and cousins, the team from Sabah used a cowboy concept for its routine.
Pang Ee Yang, 18, and his sister Pang Ee Xin, 15, were enthusiastic to join the competition for the second year running.
Both emphasised the importance of incorporating new dance moves and coordinating music with a special twist into their performance, leveraging on the expertise of Mustang Dance Academy dance instructor and coach Simon Tan.
Local competitors had battled it out since March for a chance at the finals in three locations – Ipoh Parade, Citta Mall in Petaling Jaya and Klang Parade.
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