It’s time for our monthly feature! If you’ve read last month’s feature, we had our co-founder, Yiing Zhi, to do an exclusive interview on her life as a dancer. This week we have our co-founder, Grace Rundi, to give a little insight on her dance journey. As her personal quote goes, she’s many things including being a writer, dancer, dance teacher, and choreographer… Okay, we’ll let you read on to know more!
Grace Rundi’s Fast Facts & Personal Accomplishments
2013: Backup dancer for Malaysian artist Nadhira
2014: Backup dancer for artist Black Gs
2016: Short+Sweet (Dance) Finalist ‘This Is The Story of A Girl’, Backup dancer for Malaysian artist Ayda Jebat, Cast dancer in Esya ‘The Musical’ 2016
2017: Short+Sweet (Dance) Finalist ‘Right My Wrongs’
2018: Who Is The Champion (Vol. 7) Top 8 Dancehall Battle 1 on 1, Talk To My Skillz (Vol. 4) Top 16 All Style Battle 1 on 1, Dancehall In China (Vol. 2) Top 8 Dancehall Battle 1 on 1
Advertising Experience: Dancer featured in KOSÉ ‘Ikigai’ , Dancer featured in Ayda Jebat – Temberang Official Music Video
Dance Crew: Soul Vixenz, Queenz of Fyah
Favourite Quote: You can be anything and everything, further than you can imagine.
Q: Why did you start dancing?
A: I guess it all started when my parents saw me jumping and twirling around the living room. I was quite an active child. They took me to a ballet studio and that’s where I saw the older girls dancing ballet. I went for my first trial class and I loved it so much. I never stopped dancing ever since.
Q: What made you fall in love with dancing?
When I first started out in ballet, I loved how much I could story-tell with my movements. It could be picking stars from the night sky or dancing in front of the queen. My dance world became my reality. As I grew up and progressed into other dance styles, I found freedom in dance. My own freedom of expression. It’s pure and raw. As cheesy as this will sound, but the energy I get from dancing cannot be explained in words. You can only feel.
Q: What do you think is most important to be a good dancer?
A: Determination, patience, and perseverance. Dancing is not easy. To truly be a good dancer, you need to have a strong mentality that will keep you going. Lastly, and the most important thing, is to have that passion and longing to dance.
Q: You mentioned you progressed into other dance styles besides ballet. What kind of dance styles are they?
A: I’ve tried quite a few, such as hip hop, waacking, street jazz, contemporary, latin, social dances. But what I specialize in now is dancehall. I started dancing dancehall around the age of 15 when I was still dancing ballet.
Q: What sets the difference between both ballet and dancehall?
A: Hmm… this is going to take some time to answer fully because there really is so much to talk about! But I’ll give you a brief summary. The music they both dance to is an obvious one– classical and dancehall. Both dances came from a totally different culture and background. The motivation of the dance is also different. Ballet came from the background of royalties where the dance was performed in the royal court; whereas dancehall started in the streets and dance halls in Jamaica. Having both cultural background in mind, you’ll notice the difference in posture when dancing. Ballet is more upright, but dancehall has a relaxed, slouched posture.
Q: How was it dancing two contradicting dance styles at the same time?
A: It was hard. It always feels like you had to reset your body and mind whenever your dancing especially when I had a back-to-back class of ballet and dancehall. The most difficult part was learning how to switch my mentality and align it with my body movements when I’m dancing either style.
Q: How did you manage dancing both styles? Do you have any practical advice?
A: Dancing contradicting styles takes a lot of mental willpower. It is so important to train your mind to focus and to connect it to your body movements. The best thing you can do to help yourself manage both dance style is to truly understand the roots of the dance and its technicalities. How does the body move for this dance style? What is the posture? Why are the movements done softly instead of being sharp and strong? By having an in-depth understanding of the dance, the easier it is the get your mind and body aligned to execute the dance movements.
Q: What’s your best experience in dance so far?
Oh, this is a tough one because I have so many. Honestly, every rehearsal process or performance has its own unique experience. But I think the one that most impacted me was when I was in a dancehall camp in China last year. I was in a class by one of my favourite dancehall dancer, Katrin Wow, where she was demonstrating her choreography.
I teared up as I watched in awe how beautiful her movements were and how raw her energy was. I could feel it, deep down, whether it was happiness, pain, or sense of longing. At that moment, I realise this is where I was meant to be. I want to dance so that I could touch someone else’s life the same way she did to me.
Q: Based on your “Glance at Dance”, how has dance impacted your life?
A: Dance has been such a huge part in my life that it has become my lifestyle. I don’t see myself ever not dancing. It showed me what perseverance really means. To be confident and daring enough to be yourself. For a shy person like myself, it’s given me the freedom to ‘speak up’ when I was afraid to use my own voice. Instead, I used movements and music to pour out everything I have.
Dance helped me to be heard and seen. And I hope to share this with others who too is looking for their own voice.
I would like to say thank you so much for being here with us! Me and Yiing Zhi have got a long way to go but having you all with us is what keeps us going. We hope we were able to bring dance and you closer.
If you’d like to get more daily updates about me and my dance journey, you can follow my Instagram at @grace.swanzillaa. If you’d like to read more of my writings about health, fitness and travel, visit my site at Pursuing Lemons. Please feel free to drop me a message through the contact page! I’d love to get to know you 🙂
Also, stay tuned for next month’s feature! It’s going to be exciting!