Singapore Youth Festival: Celebrating 50 years

Learning together, growing together

Juying Primary School Hip Hop dance team - Juying Radicalz - with instructor Isham Rahmat (front). The team won a Certificate of Accomplishment at this year's SYF.
Juying Primary School Hip Hop dance team - Juying Radicalz - with instructor Isham Rahmat (front). The team won a Certificate of Accomplishment at this year's SYF.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ISHAM RAHMAT

Juying Primary School dance instructor Isham Rahmat knows exactly what he wants from his charges.

"I want the kids to experience that same enjoyment, passion and love for dance I've felt all my life," said the 39-year-old.

He picked up his own passion for dance when he was in polytechnic, he said.

Affectionately known as "Papa Isham" to his pupils, the allied educator in Science has been with Juying Primary since 2012.

He told The Straits Times that the Hip Hop CCA was introduced only after his posting.

Many of the pupils who joined were new to dance.

"But everybody gives their all, and they perform with so much happiness. That's what matters most," he said.

This year, he led the "Juying Radicalz", a 24-member hip hop team in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), where they received a Certificate of Accomplishment.

This is the youngest team he has put together and included pupils as young as 10.

The Radicalz also got to performed their SYF piece, "Triumph of Light", last Friday at the SYF Celebrations TRANSCENDance: The Challenge, a street dance contest anchored on improvisation.

It was held at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

To prepare for the event, the team trained up to three times a week, even coming back during the first week of June school holidays and resuming rehearsals immediately after school reopened last week.

"They have hearts of steel; not one of them ever gave up. Instead there were all determined to improve every rehearsal," said Mr Isham. "They got to practise together, dance together and most importantly, grow together."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2016, with the headline 'Learning together, growing together'. Print Edition | Subscribe