Having participated and judged in numerous local and international dance competitions, Shanice A.K.A Lady Bird is our November DOTM!
Not a stranger to the dance battle scene, she recently participated in Don’t Back Down Vol.1 2017 and emerged as winner, she was also the Runner Up in the Taitung City Freestyle Battle 2017 in Taiwan. Sounds formidable? Read on to find out more about her and what pushes her to be the very best!
Talk me through your dance journey. Who/What inspired you to begin dance?
“When I was still in Kindergarten, I started with doing performances such as “Macarena” and the flower dance. Moving on to Primary school, I was inspired to do a graduation showcase with my classmates after watching the then popular Jabbawockeez perform on “So You Think You Can Dance”, this continued when I had to choreograph for my CCA – Girl Guides – in Secondary school.”
“The person who inspired me to move was my house helper. She was the one who played music throughout the living room and randomly danced with me. I think that really played a part in how my body reacts to music.
When I was 14 and knowing that dance was a good form of destress, I attended weekly Friday “hip hop” classes at Bukit Gombak Community Centre taught by Zelia (who is still dancing actively as part of The Glamourettes). After O Levels ended, I went to DanzPeople – my first dance studio – and took unlimited packages to attend classes almost every day across various genres for the months I signed up for.
What kept you going?
“The thought of being different and cool when I was young. Of course the support of my family for letting me go to classes and providing financial support for my “hobby” also kept me going. I remember thinking of dance as my passion when I was 16.
Right now, it is my crew (UFO Crew), boyfriend (Lester Chee), family, teachers and my environment that pushes me to be better.
After winning mini battles, I fell in love with battling, and the thought of being able to travel and dance overseas pushes me to be always better than myself – by constantly giving myself goals for the year such as winning xx battles. How? Work Hard. Think Hard. Analyze Hard. Train Hard. Dance Hard.
I want to be the better version of myself, recognition pushes me too – it gives a good feeling when people start to know who you are.”
How do you think dance will change in the future?
“I think the future is now. There have been new kids – Momo, Jamiel, R Kids (to name a few) – on the battle floor, and it is heart-warming. I love the current street dance scene now, thanks to great teachers like Jin and KS, so right now I feel we should concentrate on the current.”
What does dance mean to you?
“Everything that defines me right now – character, personality, mindset. When they say dance is a lifestyle, it really is a lifestyle. The language I use when I am communicating with my classmates in school is generally more formal and sometimes words we commonly use around dancers like “ dope” are used and they will go “what?” When I am out of school, I feel more like myself.
Dance is a discipline – to want to go hard and far. This is a principle I try to apply across all areas of my life.”
What influenced your decision to follow dance as a career?
“How dance makes me feel and how time passes so fast while teaching, rehearsing and performing because it is fun. I am never ‘tired’ in comparison to sitting on the chair in the office every day. I can’t sit still.”
To all dancers that intend to take up dance as a career, any words of advice for them?
“Go with what your heart tells you. It will propel you through moments of uncertainty and judgements from others. Why conform when you don’t want to conform? Then again, I am saying this in the context of right now when I am still studying and freelancing. Things will definitely change once I join the workforce and I hope this mind set will stick through.”
Having been in the free-styling scene for a while now, how would you say it has progressed?
“I am definitely proud of my achievements thus far since 2012. I stepped into the street dance scene in 2012 when I was interning at *Scape. At the point, *Scape was a place where the locking scene was actively involved in and because of my exposure and constant bumping into people who are part of that scene, it gave me the first step to get out into the dance scene and step out of my comfort zone to make friends.
I knew I had to do it even if I am alone and I am very lucky to meet people who are willing to help me through offering hard trainings. I was guided very carefully and immensely. After acquiring knowledge from them, I trained almost every afternoon during my gap year.”
“That gap year was the most important year because I built up muscle memory for basics in Locking and I constantly trained what others taught me. Time and energy was on my side then. Money-wise, I was already freelancing in schools as an instructor, assisting and leading.”
“I won my first big international event in 2014 – R16 Locking Southeast Asia Finals and my first overseas represent in Korea on the big stage. That marks two years in Locking and I have to thank my teachers, friends, family and crew for building me up.
Because of the hospitality I had in R16, it pushed me to go further then as it brought me closer to my goal of “dance and travel”. Back in 2014, I’ve earned three solo champions and three runner ups, you could say it was my peak year.
Right now I am taking a break from battling to clear my mind and train more. I love this battle life, it’s a roller coaster but it’s a good kind of challenge. At the moment, I am completing my last year of university, freelancing and competing. It is a very hard and tiring life but it has been ingrained in me since polytechnic so I had to find a way to work around my problems.”
It is often said that free-styling is for niche genres of hiphop, such as waacking and locking. What do you think of that saying?
“Haha, really? Nope, that is not true. If you consider yourself a dancer, then you got to freestyle, dance is not just made for choreography.
But if you are speaking in a competitive context, then it is up to the person’s liking. Because battles, showcases, competitions and dancing for fun are all different lifestyles altogether. Find the one that defines you the most.”
Finally, any other events in the upcoming months that we will be able to catch you at?
“I would be performing at the Battle Royale Luminiq 11th Anniversary Jam! Next year March, I’ll be performing in Tokyo for Dance Dance Asia, under Crazy Beans (Team Vince) – all thanks to Felix Huang for giving me the opportunity.”
Thank you Shanice! We are definitely looking forward to your future works. But for now, check out her latest video: