Just moments earlier, like an out-of-date stone-age man who finally realized someone invented the fire, I found out that an ex-schoolmate and CCA mate won the Singapore Dance Delight Vol. 4 [months earlier], did exceptionally well at O School’s Wonderment production ’13, and is on his way to Japan [as of now] to represent Singapore in Japan Dance Delight Vol. 20 (also the origin of Dance Delight series; one of dance’s world most competitive competitions with winners – and even participants – owning lifetime bragging rights).
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If you’re in tuned with the dance scene in Singapore, you should have already heard of Amin Alifin. We haven’t bump into each other for a while now ever since last year’s Army Openhouse. We first signed up for Stage Arts, a two-part CCA specializing in dance and drama under Nanyang Polytechnic. Having received [just a bit of] training in O School (Haha yes, I ever took up dancing before ages ago), I passed the auditions with relative ease while some faced slight difficulties with the Jazz routine and Across-the-floor. In our batch, the few men who passed the auditions and stayed with the group were namely; Amin, Nicholas and myself.
We trained under the tutelage of one of the best Jazz teachers we were privileged to have; Peter Teo. Dance practices were tough; we clock a minimum two dance practices a week, each taking up four hours [and more actually]. Two was spent on body conditioning (stretching – flexibility is very important for Jazz dancers), one hour on across-the-floor where we practice our techniques across the dance studio and the last hour on the routine for the night. I remember going home after every practice dead-beat and waking up the next day with much difficulty. Amin and Nicholas, both having little-to-none background in dance trained and worked harder than anyone I know. One of the hallmarks of Jazz (similar to Ballet) dancing is the pirouettes (or turns). While many faded into the background, Amin and Nicholas continued to work on their pirouettes and techniques. Before I know it, Amin and Nicholas mastered one complete pirouette, then two, then three, then four, while I struggled with just two. Under Peter’s recommendation, they were put into Jitterbug’s audition (for some dance apprenticeship thingy) and they got in. (Last I heard, they were in the range of ten or so)
While I wavered and eventually left the group and dance altogether to focus on other things, Amin and Nicholas trained doubly hard in their craft. Stage Arts wasn’t even the IT (popular) CCA, having lived under the shadows of its sister group, Foreign Bodies but it doesn’t matter. Moving on to a more competitive, tougher and professional level [in the Jitterbugs program], their passion and enthusiasm for dance never wavered, only increase tenfold. The number of pirouettes they can do in one single move is astounding and their flexibility shocking [within such a short time span]. That was the last I know and today, Amin is one of Singapore’s best up-and-coming dancer. I’m pretty sure this journey was not just filled with sweat [a whole lot of it, take my word], blood and tears, it must had been filled with doubts, criticisms and all, perhaps by the people closest to him. On the larger scheme of things, dance; like arts is after all rarely seen as a job that can bring in the dough [in Singapore].
I like what American author, Henry David Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
One quote we always recite in Church, “If you can see it, you can have it.” And Amin did just that. Awarded with the coveted Singapore Dance Delight winner’s trophy, performed the centerpiece item for O School’s Wonderment and flying off to Japan to represent Singapore; the journey’s tough, but the pain is worth it.
See, it doesn’t matter what others say or think. If you have a dream, you got to keep running for it. There will be the up slopes [don’t stop running] and the down slopes [enjoy the moment]. It’s gonna be tough, you may run out of breath and it may take every ounce of fiber in you to keep putting your feet forward one after another, but don’t stop. Keep going. Run with the wind. Before you know it, you’re that much closer and would have inspired a whole movement behind your back.
To end, American author, Marianne Williamson said:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
“I’m so proud of you bro! It’s my honor to have known you! Do us proud in Japan!”