Short+Sweet 2012: Alisya Adam

Updated: 2 Sep 2012

She not only won klpac’s Short+Sweet Dance 2011 but 16-year old Alisya Adam sings, plays the piano (and not to mention computer games), bakes, paints, draws cartoons and portraits while completing secondary school, homework and sitting for exams. Currently living and studying in KL, Alisya takes some time off to tell us about her experience participating in the Short+Sweet (S+S) competition last year.

Where did your love for dance comes from?
I was introduced to ballet at the age of four at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. I was born and raised in Virginia, USA for seven years. Upon returning to Malaysia, I continued and developed my dancing further into contemporary dance genre. At the age of ten, I did my first performance for ntv7 Launch dance show, and at the age of 13 I performed at Istana Budaya for ‘Carmen and Paquita’. As part of the production, I got an inside look on what a professional dancer’s life is like – hard work and performing for people all around the world. To me that seemed like heaven and so that gave me the idea to pursue dance professionally.

I first entered S+S Dance Competition at klpac in year 2010 and won the Director’s Award. The following year in 2011, I was awarded as the best female dancer. In the same year, I also performed my first ever solo contemporary piece at penangpac in December 2011 under the DanceBox organised my MyDance Alliance Malaysia. My most recent achievement was when I represented Malaysia in the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Hollywood. I was in the junior solo category and participated in 5 genres of dance and brought back medals for Malaysia. I was also awarded a scholarship by Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles for three months. I hope to fly off to LA after this year’s S+S competition. In addition, WCOPA also awarded me the American Dance Industry Award.

How did you stumble across Short+Sweet?
I first came across the ad for S+S dance competition on Facebook. I decided to go for the audition thinking, what’s the worst that could happen? In 2010, I was chosen to be a part of the dance called ‘Dancin’ Man’ and to my surprise, I was awarded the Director’s Award for the most promising dancer. I love, love, love performing. Especially in front of big crowds because I can be whoever I want to be and get away with it as they have no idea who I am. I love the rush of adrenalin I get when I'm on stage. I also feel really alive. I guess I take after my late granduncle Sudirman Hj. Arshad.

Did you enjoy being a part of Short_Sweet?
It was such a great experience because I got to meet so many people with one common interest, which is dance. Even though it was a competition, I felt that S+S Dance festival was an avenue for all dancers to get to know each other. For S+S last year, we did a tribute to the late Michael Jackson so we danced to a medley of his songs. We combined lyrical, jazz, ballet and tap which to me was unique because none of the other groups were doing that. It was kind of nerve wrecking when I saw our other competitors because they were so awesomely good and I questioned whether we would make it to the gala night. Winning the award was totally the sweetest surprise ever. I didn't expect it at all. Being only 15, I thought one of the older, much more experienced dancers would win.

Has being a participant of Short+Sweet benefited you?
It has given me a bit more confidence in myself and it showed me that ‘Hey, I can actually do it!’ but there’s still a lot more room for improvement. S+S has also helped me in getting connected with the other dancers and choreographers from various levels. It’s a good platform to know the people in the performing arts industry better and provides opportunities in performance either locally or abroad.

And your advice to this year’s participants of Short+Sweet would be…
There aren’t many competitions of this kind in Malaysia that offers diversity in dance, so my advice is to make full use of the opportunity in getting to know the other participants of S+S and learn from each other. And don’t forget to have fun! Then good results will come naturally. Forget that it’s a competition and dance as if nobody’s watching.

This is final of a series of three interviews with past winners of KLPac's Short+Sweet. The first Short+Sweet festival for penangpac. Dance, Sep 5-8; Theatre, Sep 12-15. See event listings.

Enter our contest before Sept 5 and win two tickets to the Short+Sweet festival here.

Tags: Features