If you’ve been at a campus event that involved its organizers pacing up and down all 7 seven floors in order to secure a booking for speakers from the FMD, chances are you might have been a spectator for one of their many performances. They’ve done performances for every O-week since they started out in 2016, they’ve done this semester’s Mingle Night, the AGM Opening for Monash Cup and most recently, they opened up the socials for MONMUNIC 2017. Even as a relatively new club, they’ve already had an event – the D.A.M.N (Dance and Music Night) in collaboration with the Music Club back in October 2016. These performances were served by none other than the Monash Street Dance Society.
Li-Sha’s right in the middle!
SDS’ President, Yeo Li-Sha and I decided to have a quick chat, just to let fellow Monashians know them a little better.
The only regret I have from this interview is that I didn’t get to start off by addressing her with ‘Yo, Li-Sha”.
LJ: What is the Monash Street Dance Society?
LS: It’s a new club, started last year, semester 2, and we prioritize on street dance culture, because we feel like Monash’s street dancing culture is not that strong, so we want to bring it up. We provide students with exposure from outside as well, like street dance competitions, workshops, and cypher sessions – a free, interactive session where students come together and dance. It’s also like a knowledge-exchange session.
We’re working together with Sunway students, since their dance culture is really strong, thus the establishment of this society.
LJ: Branding – How are you guys branding yourselves differently, because there are other dance societies on campus?
LS: One thing is that we priorities on street dance, and prioritize on the quality of our students, we want them to improve in terms of individuality, confidence, and also grow as a group, family, and together as dancers.
LJ: And I think that’s also really important, when I hear people talk about going to some dance classes, they always feel that coaches only teach really experienced students, and if you’re a newbie, they don’t really give two hoots. I think it’s really good that you guys are creating an atmosphere like this.
LS: There’s always this misunderstanding like, if you danced for this many years, you must be pretty dope. But we’re trying to incorporate everyone, because it’s always a learning process for all of us dancers, you can’t always be the best, there will always be new dancers who are better out there.
LJ: Can you tell me what you guys offer as a club? Do you guys offer classes?
LS: Definitely! We offer classes in hip-hop, urban, street jazz, K-pop (both male and female), and Latin. These are the types of classes we offer now, but we may definitely bring in new genres in the future.
Respect yourself, I guess!
LJ: When it comes to your classes, are they conducted by students? Or do you guys outsource coaches?
Ls: Outsourced coaches – we seek quality and experienced coaches to share their knowledge and push the students to improve. They have a name in the dance culture,
For example, our hip hop instructor, Kim Superbism, he’s really active in the dance culture, and has won several titles – Astro battleground, and other international dance competitions. Same goes to our other instructors!
LJ: So it’s not just people who are interested, but they are people who have industry experiences as well. Other than classes, do you guys have like, workshops?
Ls: Workshops would be happening during semester 2. What we have in mind for now is a B-Boy and a Girl Style workshop, but these are subject to change, depending on the demand.
LJ: For beginners or for experts?
LS: Mixed, it’s open for all. We don’t discriminate between beginners or experienced dancers.
LJ: I think a lot of people like to learn how to dance, not for the sake of performing but maybe for like, a good workout. You also mentioned that there’s an upcoming competition?
LS: That’s one of our major events this Semester 1 – our very first dance battle – Novice Floor, and ‘novice’ means it’s for beginners. We define ‘novice’ as dancers who have not won any awards. It’s open for all – for Monashians and people from other universities. We want to provide a platform and simulate how it’s like to be in an international dance battle.
LJ: Do people join as a group or as individual performers?
LS: There will be 2 different categories: Allstyle will be the individual category, freestyle. That one will be the one where you just come out and dance according to the music, and contestants will be judged based on your musicality, technique, and skills. Another category would be the showcase, so that would be between group performances.
LJ: Can we watch the competition as an audience?
LS: People outside who aren’t competing are welcome to come join us as an audience! No admission fee required.
LJ: Is it being held in Monash itself?
LS: Yes, our very own badminton hall.
LJ: Registration is from 12-2. Competition takes place after.
LJ: Are you guys sending teams yourselves?
LS: It’s a secret! But it’s a competition so you have to be fair to both Monashians and outsiders.
LJ: Are you guys bringing any judges?
LS: We have 3 judges – two of them will be our instructors, Kim and Brandon, along with a special guest judge – Spinroc, he’s more of a B-boy style.
LJ: Oh, so you have people who are experienced in different fields of dance.
LS: So it’ll be more fair when it comes to judging.
So all in all, anyone is eligible to compete, as long as they have not won any external competitions, and no matter how long they’ve been dancing – thus the reason why our event is known as Novice’s Floor.
*Preferably 2 months before your event
Here’s Li-Sha’s Dance Playlist, available on Radio Monash Malaysia’s Spotify page!