Step by Step!
By Timothy Wee
February 21, 2013
With SAFRA Dance Fiesta 13 just around the corner, local hip hop dancers are making a bee-line to the dance workshops to hone their skills. Thus, your faithful writer decided to drop by Danz People Studio to catch some moves!
While most participants were busy on the dance floor, I took the golden opportunity to chill with the legendary local hip hop dancer, Kayte Willis to boost my street cred. Word y’all!
Tim: I understand that you started off as a cabaret dancer with Kumar in Boom Boom Room. How did you end up specialising in hip hop?
Kayte: Even when I was in my first job as a dancer with Kumar, I was a street dancer. I had a crew and we would practice in the streets, parks and pretty much everywhere. So I was a cabaret dancer by night, but other than that I was busy trying to make it. Trying to make it in hip hop in that point of time.
Tim: Why should people get into dance?
Kayte: Because dance is a lot of things. For me, it is more of a passion. But if you want me to talk about it on a deeper level, it is definitely freedom for me. And it is something that I always fall back on. Basically, I turn to it whenever I have a bad day or whatever. But for other people, corporate or people who just want to exercise, it is definitely good for you. It is good for the soul. And it’s fun. It’s like laughter.
Tim: How easy is it for someone to get into dance?
Kayte: You can come down for a class. But then, you know there are some people that are a little shy. But so, if you know what you want to learn, you can always look up courses. Take it day by day.
Tim: As mentioned before, you chose to specialise in Hip Hop. Can you briefly describe the history and the unique moves of this particular genre of dance?
Kayte: Hip Hop is a culture. Hip hop dance is part of a culture. But other than that, hip hop is a culture. You need to know hip hop music. You need to know hip hop dance and other than that, you need to know the hip hop elements as well. But, hip hop dance when it is more catered for the youth, it is definitely a lifestyle. Almost like a culture now. So, that is what hip hop dance is to me. It is everything.
Tim: Who is your favourite dancer?
Kayte: I think everyone knows that my favourite dancer is Ray Hardstyle from Japan.
Tim: What should dancers bear in mind when they decide to create their own dance routine?
Kayte: I think music. Music is important if you are trying to choreograph something. You really need to study the music. And feel! And not many people understand ‘feel’. Choreography is choreography. It is steps. But if I was a dancer and a choreographer, I would definitely listen to the music and really think about the ‘feel’ of that music. Dance is passion for me, so I need to think about how this sort of music makes me ‘feel’.
Tim: Having been a judge at numerous dance competitions, you would have an in-depth knowledge of the local dance scene. If you could sum up the local dance scene in one word, what would it be and why?
Kayte: I think, perseveration. I think in Singapore the community is getting better and better. I have been in the scene for really long, and they (local dancers) are getting better FAST! And it is not like on a certain level, it’s a rapid reaction. I am starting to see new people that I have never seen before and they are absolutely amazing. So, I think Singaporeans or the scene in Singapore is PERSEVERATION! They are all working really hard so that is something that I am really proud of.
Tim: Do you have a message for all local dancers?
Kayte: If you are trying to make it in the scene, or where ever basically, I think practice is really important. Whether it is ballet or whatever kind of dance that you favour, practice is really important. And you have to take classes, and really learn from everybody. Everybody! Take classes, travel if you have the opportunity and learn because I think that’s learning. You can never go wrong with learning and that is the key for you to make it to the top. So learn and persevere and keep learning. PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
And there you have it! Practice makes anything perfect!
So, you think you can dance? Or wanna dance? Want a mentor like Kayte?
Hurry down to the Danz People studio and sign up for our special workshops in conjunction with Dance Fiesta 2013!
Check out Kayte’s interview on our Facebook video today!
1 Selegie Road #02-18, POMO