Health + Wellness

Got To Move 2018 – Family Dance Day @ Converge

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Got to Move (GTM) is an initiative by the National Arts Council , is a nationwide dance movement that celebrates the diversity of dance in Singapore. This platform brings together Singapore’s dance professionals and enthusiasts to showcase their talents and works to a diverse audience.

There will be two pop-up events throughout the year in addition to an anchor festival held in October. The initiative looks to get Singaporeans interested and appreciate dance. It is a national platform to bring together Singapore’s dance professionals and enthusiasts and to showcase their talents and works to a diverse audience.

GTM returns for their fourth edition in 2018 and takes place from 12 – 28 October, 2018.  The 3-week long festival kicks off with GTM ISLANDWIDE and culminates in GTM SPOTLIGHT, held in conjunction with Car-Free Sunday SG on 28 October.

For more information on Got to Move, visit us at www.nac.gov.sg/GotToMoveSG.

The Active Age spoke with Wei Zong, from Converge Studios to share about the Family Dance Day @ Converge.

The Active Age (AA): Tell us about Converge Studios.
Wei Zong (WZ): Located in the Central Business District of Singapore, Converge Studios serves as a sanctuary for dance enthusiasts of various levels and experiences. We house the largest number of weekly open classes and instructors in Singapore, and strive to ensure there is always a class suitable for any aspiring dancer, regardless of their concentration, level of experience, or training requirement.

We provide in-house dance training via open classes, courses and workshops, as well as dance education in MOE institutions. We also provide entertainment services to corporate clients in terms of private workshops, team-building exercises, performances and more. Past clients and partners include Mediacorp, Unilever, Skechers, Singapore Zoo, KPMG, Singtel, Flight Centre and more.

AA: What will the workshop at GTM 2018 be about?
WZ: Family Dance Day @ Converge includes 4 workshops – Mummy/ Daddy and baby, Mummy/Daddy and Toddler, Kids’ Hip Hop (Aged 4 to 6) and Kids’ Hip Hop (Aged 7 to 12). These workshops aim to let parents/guardians be part of the annual celebration of dance (Got to Move) while bonding with their little ones and introducing the little ones to movement and dance!

AA: Why is Converge Studios taking part in this year’s GTM 2018? Is this the first year or a recurring participation?
WZ: This is not the first time that Converge Studios is taking part in GTM. At Converge Studios, we believe in not just teaching dance, but teaching through dance. Got To Move, as an initiative, has been growing over the years, and we have witnessed its impact in terms of spreading awareness, understanding and appreciation of dance as an art form, physical activity and entertainment source. It provides current artistes, organizations, entities and practitioners a platform to reach out to the masses, and makes it easier for the public to directly access dance. CV taking part in GTM is but a humble effort to give back to the community, and to also help others better understand and appreciate dance.

AA: What should parents understand about movement and dance?
WZ: There truly is a dance genre and level suitable for everyone.

Individually, parents may think I’m too old for dance. We admit, there are certain dances that are more high-impact or require greater flexibility in order to excel, but like so many other dance studios in Singapore, varying genres and classes in Converge allows you to find one that is suitable for you physically, stimulates you intellectually, and engages you emotionally.

Also, to understand that dance is so much more than just physical movement. With the right teacher, dance can be art, sport, team-building, stress-reliever, physical rehabilitation and so, so much more!

AA: Why should parents encourage their children to take part in the workshop?
WZ: As published in a 2013 Study by the New England Journal of Medicine, dance can stimulate the brain and activate regions that control our memory (movement patterns, movement vocabulary) and spatial recognition (direction, levels, size). The positive impacts of dance in early development or childhood have been heavily documented (and is still growing), and this would be an opportunity to expose their children to this art form.

Similarly, “Mummy (or Daddy!) and Me” classes have been reported to not only emotionally connect parents and their young ones, but provide positive benefits for both independently. For kids, having a familiar figure with them definitely makes classes less intimidating (and a lot more fun!). As for parents, this would be a good chance for them to be involved in their child’s learning and growth, and also to give themselves a quick physical workout!

AA: How should parents approach learning through dance if they are looking to benefit their children’s development?
WZ: Like any other activity, we would recommend simple steps or actions pre-class, during class and post-class.

Before sending their children to dance classes, they can build interest by exposing them to music and movement, ensure children are physically fit for classes, and obtaining appropriate outfit / gear for classes. If they are taking a Hip Hop class, for example, covered shoes are expected to protect their feet and provide appropriate friction. Some schools that provide fixed curriculum and graded syllabus may be strict on dress code too, so it’s best to call or email beforehand if you’re unsure.

Daddies and Mummies may also want to decide if they want their children to take graded examinations, or to pick dance up for leisure and general development. Neither one is better than the other, but class frequency, structure, schedule and teaching style may differ. That’s where you may have to do some homework, or call up dance studios to understand more.

During classes, it is generally recommended that parents not be in the studio, but to observe from outside (unless it’s a parent-child class). This minimizes distraction, promotes independence and growth, and encourages children to build new bonds with their instructors and fellow dancers. This is also a good chance for parents to assess their children’s learning ability, interest level and social skills.

Post-classes, we recommend guided reflection with their children to not just further their learning, but help parents gauge if classes are effective in achieving why their children are sent there in the first place. It’s also good to communicate with the studio and instructor so that learning doesn’t stop once they leave the studio!


Picture provided by Converge Studios

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