All dance classes in Singapore are not created equal, mama! We recently sat down with owner, director and teacher Vicky Lee Ward of All That Jazz Dance Academy to get the lowdown on the dance scene in Singapore. Born in Malaysia and raised in Canada, Vicky has trained all over the world and is a fully qualified teacher by the Imperial Society Teacher’s of Dancing (ISTD, UK) for Ballet and Jazz. She has over 15 years’ teaching experience in Jazz and Ballet and has taught in Vancouver, London, New York and Singapore. From baby-wearing classes for mamas to a competitive dance team, All That Jazz offers a full bevy of fun ways to keep active in Singapore!
What is your background as a dancer and teacher?
I’m a dancer, choreographer and teacher whose career has taken me around the world. I trained professionally at London’s Urdang Academy of Performing Arts, Broadway Dance Center in New York, and at The Edge and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. Having trained with some of the most recognised teachers and choreographers in the UK and North America has given me a vast background in various dance styles.
Growing up as a young dancer, it was always my dream to have my own dance school. I’m so excited and grateful to have this opportunity to share my passion and love for dance, to nurture the next generation of young dancers and to continue to inspire the love of arts in my local community.
How is All That Jazz different from other dance schools in Singapore?
We use the British ISTD’s syllabus for Ballet, Jazz and Tap (whereas most Singapore dance schools are RAD & CSTD). In fact, we’re the only school in Singapore that focuses on it exclusively. As such, we have a truly diverse student body of both expat and local dancers!
Furthermore, our teachers are all professionals and experts in their designated genre of dance. We are young and fresh, and always looking for new opportunities to expand and explore for newest dance styles and techniques to keep the students up to date! Our classes focus on technique and performance but the real emphasis is always on the enjoyment of dance.
What’s the benefit of combining Ballet and Jazz – seemingly very different styles – in one class? Do all classes include both styles? What other classes are offered?
We offer ballet and jazz class for ages 2+ to adults.
Ballet is the foundation of all dance, especially for Jazz. We feel that without the knowledge of Ballet technique and the understanding of how to execute the moves correctly, students will find Jazz very challenging.
Ballet helps build a strong base, clean technique and proper alignment, while Jazz is free-spirited, lively and fun, with quick, controlled movement that displays technique and expression, and promotes endurance and flexibility.
We also offer open classes such as hip hop, lyrical jazz, contemporary jazz, musical theatre jazz, and tap as well as a class focused solely on perfecting turns and leaps.
We also offer private lessons for choreography, and there are competitions and exams for our most promising students. Examiners come from England for the ISTD Ballet, Jazz and Tap exams.
Are kids’ classes organised by age or ability?
Classes are organised by ability but we start off with the age group first and we move them according to their ability thereafter.
How old are your youngest students?
Our youngest independent students are 2+ years; they get dropped off for an hour (30 minutes of Ballet followed by 30 minutes of Jazz). However, our youngest students are actually the little babies who come in with their mommies for baby wearing dance class.
Tell us more about your Baby Wearing class for mamas; is past dance experience (or any semblance of rhythm) required?
All babies are welcome as long as mamas are comfortable wearing them in a carrier for 30 minutes of Ballet and 30 minutes of Jazz dance. It’s a fun class for mommies to bond with their little ones. No dance experience is necessary!
If you would like to give it a try, we are running a 20-minute segment of baby wearing dance at NTUC SG50 Celebrations at The Promontory @ Marina Bay on Saturday, 8 August at 6:25pm. Come out and join us!
What dance opportunities are available for older and more experienced students?
We have performances throughout the year at fairs and festivals, as well as opportunities to compete in dance competitions yearly. As I am also a dance lecturer at Raffles College of Music for their new dance degree which is affiliated with University of West London, students are able to pursue a dance degree here in Singapore for the first two years, followed by their final year in London.
Thanks Vicky! And mamas, definitely be sure to check out the free baby-wearing dance class on Saturday, 8 August at 6:25pm at The Promontory @ Marina Bay!
All That Jazz Dance Academy, 8 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229572
Tel: (+65) 8399 8016, www.allthatjazz.com.sg