This year, members of Drama Interest Group (IG) took the stage as usual – but instead of acting, they let their feet do the talking.
The IG was the only non-dance IG that performed at LEAPS 2014, a dance concert choreographed by students who were mentored by Momentum’s artistic director Zaini Tahir. A total of over 40 students took part after undergoing four months of intensive training sessions. LEAPS is part of the events leading up to Momentum, Republic Polytechnic’s premier dance festival.
Apart from Drama IG, the other performers came from CREATE, the biggest club in school comprising of 24 different interest groups spread across the clusters of dance, music, and P.A.C.T (Production, Art, Culture, and Theatre).
“People always associate LEAPS with dancers but the good thing about this year is that a lot of other IGs came in and this goes to prove that anyone who has to be on stage has to know something about their body awareness, projection and everything else which is excellent,” said Mr Zaini.
For Benjamin Lai, a 19-year old student from Drama IG, this was his first time choreographing together with a team of many different dancers from Chinese dance, Latin dance-sports and also hip-hop. His item, called “Realization”, was about an abusive relationship portrayed through a vicious cycle causing unstable behavioural changes in a person.
Benjamin, a Diploma in Arts and Theatre Management student who started non-competitive dancing in secondary school, said: “Drama taught me a lot on focus and discipline and also expression. It is important to let loose of myself. In this dance, I have to express a lot of emotions and just letting go.”
Being involved in drama gave him a greater advantage and also helped him express himself better than the rest of the performers, he added.
Mr Zaini agreed on the benefits of a drama background in dance.
He said: “Physical theatre is so much part of drama. Their sense of body awareness is really strong and that is what I have been teaching in my weekly classes. The good thing about drama people is that they’re very open, absorbent and not shy.”
As for former School of Technology for the Arts student and two-time LEAPS choreographer Ashley Tan Li Zhong, the experience for her this year was more special. She said: “I chose the newer dancers that are new to dance. As a choreographer, I think it’s nice to get to see Drama IG come out and do something really emotional.”