10 October 2019
ACV06: East vs West Dance Training (Goh Seng Henk, Performer in West End Musicals, Part 2)
Seng Henk (instagram: @goseng) has been working and performing in the UK for the last 6 years. Born in Singapore, he was a competitive gymnast for 10 years before discovering his passion for the stage through theatre clubs in school. He danced professionally in Singapore for the next couple of years with Frontier Danceland and Re: Dance Theatre, as well as with entertainment companies White Noise Creations and SAF MDC. Thereafter, to expand his skillset, he pursued a degree in Musical Theatre at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in London. Upon graduation, he joined the original West End cast of Disney’s Aladdin in the Prince Edward Theatre London, performing and understudying the role of Iago, as well as acrobatic ensemble. He has just finished the International tour of Miss Saigon over the last 2 years having performed and understudied the lead role of The Engineer as well as Club owner, and as acrobatic ensemble.
3 THINGS I LEARNED
- The difference between Western and Eastern teaching styles. In a nutshell (with heavy generalisations): Eastern training is harsher, a more top-down approach – this builds resilience but sometimes comes with the cost of stifling dancers’ creativity. Western training focuses more on using praise as motivation, with the opposite effect.
- When Seng Henk teaches, he tries to communicate to students that ‘better than yourself’ should be the goal they work towards. I like this concept of always striving to improve.
- The time in between shows can be aggravating and scary. But it’s not difficult to find work as a gig worker, even in Singapore. Seng Henk has interesting ideas about how corporate gigs should not be looked down upon, and they represent an opportunity to push the envelope in terms of creativity and artistry. This could lift the standard of dance in Singapore in general.
- Miss Saigon (musical) – https://www.miss-saigon.com/ Check out the engineer especially
- Follies (National Theatre production) https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies
- ‘I’m still here’ (song by Stephen Sondheim in the musical Follies) sung by Elaine Stritch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xz1TUgdG6A or by Tracie Bennett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TInk1BcbAMQ
- RADA – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art https://www.rada.ac.uk/
- Singapore Art Elective Programmes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Elective_Programme_(Singapore)
- Cheng Ballet https://www.chengballet.org/
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