Dancesport fever catches on in Hong Kong
Dancesport combines exercise and leisure - so you can have fun while keeping fit
Most people think of Latin dance as a luxury leisure activity, performed by stiff-suited men and women in high heels. But it is actually a form of 'dancesport' which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
Dancesport will not be a competition event in Beijing this summer, although some enthusiasts have lobbied for its inclusion. It is growing in popularity in Hong Kong and around the world.
Dancesport is divided into two categories: Standard and Latin. And each category includes various dance elements. The Standard has waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot and quickstep, while the Latin takes in cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive.
Flora Lam Chau-ha is a local Latin dancer who has won many local competitions and represented Hong Kong at international events. She has been a dancesport instructor for five years.
'Until recently, Latin dance was thought of as old-fashioned and best-suited to mature people. Now, however, it is becoming trendy and is attracting the young,' Lam said.
She has witnessed dancesport's increasing popularity in Hong Kong. 'The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has organised a lot of dancesport classes and more private dance schools are opening up in Hong Kong,' Lam explains.
'The demand for both Standard and Latin classes is expanding and it is no longer considered an activity reserved for the rich.'
Lam's daughter, Sylvia Lai Hoi-ting, is among the youngest of the new dance enthusiasts. She started taking lessons when she was just three years old.
'Normally, I teach small kids how to concentrate on the music, follow the beat and develop body co-ordination. When they are six years old or above, they can start learning the steps and skills,' said Lam.
Dancesport is an energetic exercise. 'The pulse can rise up to 80 per cent of the maximum heart rate, which is the same as playing basketball and running,' Lam adds.
Sylvia is now five and already performs the five types of Latin. 'I love dancing. I don't find it hard or difficult,' she said. 'I love paso doble the most, because it is the most difficult.' Her mother thinks she has become healthier, happier and more confident since taking up dancing.
The second Dancesport Festival kicks off tomorrow in Hollywood Plaza, with a series of exciting performances planned for next month.
For more details, visit www.dancesport.org.hk/