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'Stronger Together, Majulah!': HONUS in NDP 2022

Singapore’s National Day Parade was held at The Float @ Marina Bay, and 19 of Kent Ridge Hall’s very own dancers played an especially important role in the celebration. I got the chance to interview our very talented dancers, Matilda, and Wan Ngee, to find out more.

This year’s NDP theme, “The Story of Us” symbolised Singapore’s collective strength in braving the pandemic. The Halls of NUS dance segment in Chapter 1 played an essential part in relaying this message by portraying the lively pre-COVID Singapore as the opening for the show. The aim of the piece was for the audience to reminisce on the times when we could gather and have fun, carefree and untroubled. “That’s what we hall people do best, I guess”, Matilda commented. The exhilarating piece did not hold back on any element, involving a DJ, cheer teams, pyrotechnics (which Wan Ngee described as the “super sick fire things”), and of course, the dancers. Fun fact: their cheer was “Chapter 1, Best 1!” The dancers, in their colourful retro costumes, stole the show with their moves which fully energised the crowd. Apparently, Wan Ngee’s parents were dancing in their seats! And Matilda would especially like to thank the P5 kids who were screaming extra loudly for them during Boombayah. As much fun as the performance sounds, we cannot forget how tirelessly our dancers worked leading up to it.

The journey began in May when the hall dance captains had practices on Sunday nights till late to learn the choreography before they taught it to the rest. It would be good to add that their piece was choreographed by Stephanie and Deo, our KR alumni, keeping KR’s legacy strong! They would then have rehearsals with the army boys at Keat Hong camp (“Those were some tiring days” Matilda noted) and The Float every week. Despite how large scale it was, with around a hundred dancers, they were able to complete the entire piece in 3 practices. Of course, KR’s dancers are excellent at what they do.

Although the copious amounts of practices were exhausting, both Wan Ngee and Matilda found it a fulfilling experience. Matilda felt that the process enabled her growth “as a teacher and leader”. While the moves were manageable, she believed coordinating everyone and maintaining discipline was tough. For the piece to come alive, they had to get everyone to commit each week. However, she appreciates the dancers for pushing through the rehearsals together. Meanwhile, Wan Ngee felt grateful as the rehearsals gave her time to bond with others, both KR and people from different halls. At every practice, they could “play games together, take photos and go for supper”. As always, KR achieves success not as individuals but with the help of one another and emerges stronger and closer.

As for the performance itself, it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both of them. Performing on a massive stage for a crowd of 25,000 at each show (and practically the entire nation) is a feat not everyone can say they have achieved. Although nerve-wracking, they loved the energy from the crowd and the feeling of being a part of such a grand production. You can see this from the way they performed! I would expect that everyone reacted the same way as the NDP Crying Man after witnessing such a spectacular performance. All in all, KR should be proud of our dancers for giving it their all to become the highlight of 2022’s NDP.

Written by Ho Lian Ann, Joy Davidia

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