January 26, 2013 00:00 By Manta Klangboonkrong
Remy Martin finds its 'Ultimate Urban Dance Crew' at the Centaur showdown in Singapore
Last Friday, Asia proved that it too can dance as six teams from six different countries took turns on the stage of Singapore’s Sands Expo and Convention Centre in a battle to win the coveted title of “Ultimate Urban Dance Crew”.
Organised by French cognac brand Remy Martin, the second edition of the Centaur Dance Showdown featured crews from Thailand, Malaysia, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. Judging the teams were Taiwanese Mandopop star and Remy Martin spokesperson Jolin Tsai, Singaporean hip-hop singer Sheikh Haikel, Japanese break dance artist Katsuyuki Ishikawa and Vietnamese singer Ho Ngoc Ha.
The sophomore season of the competition saw Vietnam’s S.I.N.E Crew – short for Saying Is Not Enough – walking away with the championship title and a healthy US$10,000 (Bt300,000) in prize money. Singapore’s Radikal Forze was voted the audience favourite through SMS and social media, while Katoon Network from Malaysia was awarded the Centaur Spirit Award.
With the highest total score of 100 points, each team was judged on creativity, showmanship, synchronisation and overall performance, the latter category taking up the largest percentage.
Some 2,000 dance fans and supporters dressed up in their finery and coughed up S$49 (Bt1,180) to S$388 (with all-you-can-drink booze) to join the party.
“Remy Martin is proud to have organised this exciting dance competition, which sees six of the region’s best dance crews gathered at Marina Bay Sands to compete and, most importantly, to fulfil their dream of performing on a regional stage. We hope that this dance competition will bring more great opportunities for these talented dancers”, said Xavier Desaulles, managing director for Southeast Asia, Middle East and India of Remy Cointreau International.
Thailand’s representative, the Zoo, was the first to show off their moves in front of the judges. Founded in 2006 with two female members and after several competitions and battles, the seven-strong crew has been developing steadily over the years. Interestingly, they were the only team in the competition with female members.
“Our style is very eclectic, very mixed.” 23-year-old Wirattanaporn “Pin” Karndee told us. “We see dancing as a way of expressing our inner drive and primal forces through many street dance styles.” Among the 30 hopeful entrants who sent in video submissions, the Zoo made it through to the final round with other six teams, and was crowned Thailand’s champion late last year. They’ve been rehearsing and perfecting their three-minute act non-stop ever since.
“For me, the Zoo stood out in the battle round,” said Ratha “Yaya Ying” Pho-ngam , one of the judges for the Thailand heat. “They have been together for so long all they have to do is just look in each other’s eyes and dance it out – it’s like the seven of them have one mind and one body to move. They trust each other completely, and that blesses them with such dynamic teamwork.”
For choreographer and judge Eakkaraj “Nikki” Chonlakit, the Zoo was Thailand’s best because of their diversity. “They have a very distinctive style, which is a balanced mix of old and new school dance. It’s very rare to see that, because most kids would just go for the newest moves and move on without looking back. Do they stand the chance to win this competition? I would say yes. But you know it is all up to the judges’ likes and tastes.”
It was indeed, as at the end of the night, S.I.N.E Crew from Vietnam was announced winner.
“When the emcee announced our name, we were shocked. Many fans congratulated us on our win and it was amazing,” said a S.I.N.E. team member. “Now that we have the money, we can travel to other countries and compete in many more competitions.” Watch out, world, S.I.N.E Crew is coming.
Based in Hanoi, S.I.N.E embodies the genuine qualities of any champ and is easily one of the strongest crews in Vietnam at the moment. Centring freestyle dance’s ever growing diversity worldwide and tasked by the members of Big Toe Crew, S.I.N.E gives the impression of impeccable uniformity in any styles they chose, from b-boying to popping and from new style to locking.
Bottles of champagne popped, several toasts were made, and the party continued on till late with Singapore’s star DJ Andrew Chow manning the deck.