Training the spotlight on the future

Mr Fredy Kosman Kwee (above, centre) leads a troupe of 720 dancers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz. Their futuristic-looking LED costumes and Mr Kwee's atom-like prop representnew ideas and innovati
Mr Fredy Kosman Kwee (above, centre) leads a troupe of 720 dancers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz. Their futuristic-looking LED costumes and Mr Kwee's atom-like prop representnew ideas and innovation in Singapore.

Six years ago, professional dancer Fredy Kosman Kwee helped choreograph parts of the National Day Parade. Dancing in it like he did yesterday, however, was a completely different experience for the 31-year-old.

"When you're helping to choreograph... it's more of teaching the dancers what to do," he said.

"But as a performer, part of my job is to help bring up the energy of the other dancers."

JAZZING UP THE SHOW

When you're helping to choreograph... it's more of teaching the dancers what to do. But as a performer, part of my job is to help bring up the energy of the other dancers.

MR FREDY KOSMAN KWEE

Mr Kwee, who kicked off the fourth act with a solo performance, also had to ensure that all eyes were drawn to him - even though, for most of the audience, he was just a small figure on a vast stage.

"To do that, I had to do what dancers call 'stretching' your movements - use bigger movements rather than small, intricate ones," said Mr Kwee, who has been dancing professionally since 2008.

He acted as a symbolic herald of Singapore's future, welcoming 720 other performers clad in slick black suits studded with LED lights, who joined him on stage for a futuristic lightshow. On the sidelines, eight drones resembling atoms joined in the display, rising into the air and wheeling in circles.

One of the young dancers was 13-year-old Lorraine Koh from Commonwealth Secondary School, who was participating in the National Day Parade for the first time. Her outfit - a long-sleeved shirt and pants, goggles and a heavy vest - could feel "quite heavy", she said. "After a while, we got used to it. Sometimes it was tiring, but overall it was quite fun."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2016, with the headline 'Training the spotlight on the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe