More career opportunities for young choreographers

More career opportunities for young choreographers
Christina Chan, dancer and choreographer with Frontier Danceland.

Choreographer and dancer Shahrin Johry was just 15 when he won his first dance competition with a self- choreographed, boyband- inspired routine.

When he took part in the contest, organised by the now-defunct entertainment magazine Lime, he had no formal dance training or a space to rehearse.

Instead, he and his friends would gather at public places to perfect their routines and watch videos to improve.

"At that time, the boyband craze was going on. Their music videos were our teachers. We saw how they did their movements and tried to copy them," says Shahrin, now 31. He began his formal training in dance at Lasalle College of the Arts only in 2007.

Now the principal dancer and assistant choreographer of Maya Dance Theatre, he has come a long way since his days practising outside the National Youth Council at Somerset.

Since joining Maya in 2007, he has presented works at overseas festivals and, last year, he clinched the Most Promising Work award at Sprouts, a national choreography competition organised by the National Arts Council and Frontier Danceland.

There are now more avenues for young choreographers who want to follow in Shahrin's footsteps.

The last four years have seen the growth of new platforms which allow emerging choreographers to create and showcase their work. There are at least six regular showcases for new work and one annual national choreography competition.

There are opportunities with contemporary dance companies, some of which have started programmes dedicated to exhibiting the work of fledging dance artists.

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