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Lifetime chance to become pro dancer or actor
Published on: Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: Sabahan youths who aspire to become a professional dancer, actor or musician are invited to take part in a five-day free expert training and class sessions, courtesy of the America-based YES (Youth Excellence on Stage) Academy. This opportunity of a lifetime, provided under the Kota Kinabalu programme called YES Hip Hop, KK, which is sponsored by the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Association of American Voices, is only open to 75 youths aged 15 and above from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

The YES Hip Hop KK's free daily intensive expert training is scheduled to be held here from June 1-5 this year.

On the night of the final training day, there would be a concert called "Jesselton Street Jam" by the students of this programme to showcase what they have learned to the public.

The training and classes to be offered to youths accepted in this programme include dance (Breakin, House, Popping, Locking, Choreography, Hip Hop, Freestyle and Krumping); DJing, Rapping, Beat Boxing, Turntalism and Spoken Word; Graphic and Design; and Community - learning from HaviKoro Crew who are leaders in hip hop for social change on how youths and how hip hop can help the community.

HaviKoro Crew is one of the USA's most awesome Hip Hop teams, comprising Yung Chris, a dancer who specialises in house and hip hop style, Mario (hip hop, poppin, freestyle and graphic design), Criket (house and bboying) and Joe B (poetry, mcing and djing).

For those interested, all they need to do is either to attend an audition that would be held at every major town in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan (can also check out for the details through facebook under the programme name) or go for an online audition at website; http://yesacademy.info or email to KK@yesacademy.info.

At the end of this programme, the students would feel more confident in their performing skills, made new friends from new places, tried new things and feel motivated to use hip hop as a positive force in their community.

They would also feel more connected to their peers in dance, rap, design and activism.

The YES Hip Hop Academy is a joint non-profit production of the US and Bangkok-based non-governmental organisation, American Voices and Kota Kinabalu-based Medley & Encore (ME) Malaysia.

The programme that would be held here is also supported by Battle 21, The Rock School Musical Theatre, Music Mart and Daily Express, as the official newspaper.

John Ferguon of the YES Academy, together with Izzie Zainal of ME and Peter Chua, who is the President of Malaysia Suzuki Association (MSA) which is an official partner of the programme, were at the Daily Express recently to share about this programme.

According to Ferguson, YES Academy is the educational wing of Association of American Voices, a non-governmental organisation based in San Louis, United States, which works all over the world to provide professional training to aspiring dancers, actors and musicians.

He said some of the countries involved in this programme are Malaysia, Thailand, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on, which typically has a lot of social exchanges with the US.

"So we try to give the students the opportunity of a lifetime to follow their dreams as a singer, dancer or actor to pursue what they want to do professionally later in their life," he said.

"We would have a comprehensive programme where the students would learn not only dance styles but also graphic, as well as attending sessions on community empowerment and community organisation, where they would look at ways to use for improving their community, give back to their community," added Chris.

Ferguson said this is not like the reality show programmes as seen on television that involves eliminating participants, finding the best participant and so on, but more of everyone (participating youths) finding their own best within themselves and collaborating across the borders of their crews, or across their city or state.

"So this is a very collaborative kind of programme that involves students who would break down the barriers and challenge themselvesÉbut there is no winner in this programme," he said.

This programme provides a rare opportunity for the Sabahan youths, said Chua, adding that for this programme the criteria they are looking for would be those Form 1-5, college students, university students or young professionals.

He said they would also submit a proposal to the State Youth and Sports Minister to do a similar programme like this on a yearly basis in Sabah for the benefit of youths in the State.



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