On their third participation, Moon Dance group came in fifth place at the WDSF World Championship Formation Latin Adult (WDSF Championship), which took place in Bremen, Germany on December 10, 2016.
Moon Dance was formed just three years ago, yet they have made significant achievements, winning the State Dance Competition twice and taking fifth place at the WDSF Championship
last year. Moon Dance leader O.Erdene-Ochir spoke in depth about the group and the significance of their latest achievement in the interview below.
Congratulations. Tell us about this year’s WDSF Championship. Moon Dance competed on “Mongolia’s Got Talent” while preparing for the WDSF Championship, right?
Thank you very much. Our group has just returned after a successful participation at the WDSF Championship, held in Germany last December. We were able to become one of the top six teams by placing fifth and bring Mongolia’s first award from an international dance event.
“Mongolia’s Got Talent” was announced when we were rehearsing for the world championships. So we decided to take part and went to Germany after finishing the show. Had we gone to the finals of “Mongolia’s Got Talent”, we wouldn’t have been able to perform at the WDSF Championship. Nevertheless, the show didn’t hinder our preparation for the championship because we couldn’t make it past the top 32 on the show. The reason we decided to perform on “Mongolia’s Got Talent” is because we wanted to introduce Moon Dance to not only people in Ulaanbaatar but everyone in the country. I’m glad we were able to achieve our original purpose and compete in the WDSF Championship in good shape.
Moon Dance performed a brand new choreography, called “Ice Queen”, at the WDSF Championship. Did your choreographer O.Sarankhuu prepare the dance?
Moon Dance participated in the WDSF Championship twice before. We have been changing the choreography every year. Some teams rehearse a dance for two whole years. I noticed that some teams performed the same choreography they danced last year.
We performed our “Tarzan” dance on our first year at the WDSF Championship, “Marina” on our second year, and “Ice Queen” this time. Our Moon Dance club co-directors and coaches O.Sarankhuu and N.Oyunbat choreographed “Ice Queen”.
“Ice Queen” consists of five different types of dance. As for our costume, we wanted to make our girls look like Ice Queens and boys like Ice Knights. We started rehearsing the dance from last August. In the middle of our preparation, we went on “Mongolia’s Got Talent”, so we danced only a part of “Ice Queen”.
Moon Dance ranked third at first, and then slid back to fifth at the finals. What did you think about the judging?
Other groups started paying attention to our rehearsal for the final performance because they heard that an Asian group, moreover a group from Mongolia, made it to the finals. When we finished our final performance, other groups came to congratulate us. The judges underlined that our group was exceptional for a group formed only three years ago, and remarked that we were “stars of the new generation”. They said we ranked after Russian DUET Perm group, which came in second.
Can you tell us about Moon Dance members? What is the average age of your dancers?
Our dance group was formed in May 2013. Our dancers are all former students of Moon Dance Club. We have 16 members, two extra dancers, and two coaches. Six of our members are studying dance at the moment and the rest are amateur dancers studying in different fields at universities, such as the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences. We had 16 of our dancers compete at the latest WDSF Championship.
We have dancers who came all the way from Erdenet city and Khuvsgul Province to join the club. Our dancers are between the ages of 18 and 30. Our coach N.Oyunbat is considered as one of our dancers. Some of our dancers have been dancing for over 10 years, since they were children. Most members have been dancing for at least two years. Dancing isn’t easy – it requires a considerable amount of time to learn dancing techniques and skills. Dancers must practice all the time and learn new things every second, minute and hour. Dancing is a combination of art and sport.
In addition, Moon Dance Club constantly trains new members since it holds dance classes for Latin dances. The club has a junior team called Khos Shigtgee. Khos Shigtgee is a two-time champion of the State Dance Competition. Their members are very talented children who will become future Moon Dance members.
The Mongolia Dance Sport Federation received the prestigious Burte Chono Awards right before the New Year’s. Do you think Moon Dance’s achievement contributed to this?
The World Dance Sport Federation, Asian Dance Sport Federation and Mongolian Dance Sport Federation are our governing organizations. The Mongolian Dance Sport Federation won the Burte Chono Awards for the first time last December. Of course, Moon Dance Club and our group’s achievements influenced this. The federation has been organizing dance competitions without losing time. A Mongolian dancer also became an international dance competition judge. All of this must have been considered when the federation was chosen for the award.
Moon Dance is planning to hold a concert. When will it be organized?
We’re planning to do our first concert of 2017. The date and time haven’t been confirmed yet. Though we’re doing quite well in Latin dances, we’re capable of doing other forms of dance. Moon Dance Club has hip-hop and traditional dance groups as well. An array of performances will be showcased at our concert.
Many viewers were impressed by the synchronization and unity of Moon Dance during the “Ice Queen” performance at the WDSF Championship. How long do dancers have to train together to be able to move like a single entity?
Group Latin dance is extremely challenging. For example, we must first find 16 members, create choreography, learn to dance in perfect sync, and pay extra attention when changing positions while doing special dance moves. All of this requires tons of practice. We rehearse day and night. We even discuss what facial expressions to show and dance together until we perfect the choreography. Our scores and achievements depend on each member’s performance. That’s why we follow the famous motto “One for all, all for one”. One mistake by a member can ruin everything for the other 15 members and shatter their years’ worth of effort. Therefore, every member must be responsible and stay focused.
We were able to come thus far all thanks to our coaches, who have dedicated their whole life to dancing, and support from our friends, families and costume designers.
By the way, is it true that you had German experts fix your dance music for “Ice Queen”? Was the original version produced in Mongolia not fit for the show?
We had to have our dance music meet international standards so we sent it to Germany to have it assessed. The main reason for this is because there isn’t a producer specialized in dance music in Mongolia. We tried our best to make sure we beat rival groups in everything – this includes music and costumes. Every year, we wear new costumes decorated with authentic Swarovski crystals. We failed big time in our first year at the WDSF Championship in 2013 when we used fake crystals.
Costumes are very important for dance. How much do you usually spend on costumes?
Our coach designs outfits for us. We have special tailors who make our costumes. Swarovski crystals for costumes are brought from South Korea. Girls and boys both have their costumes decorated, so on average, each member spends 800,000 MNT to one million MNT on costumes.
Our team wears new costumes every year. The old costumes are rented at our club. Many people rent dance costumes for talent shows, festivals and company competitions. Our rent shop has numerous costumes for more than 10 types of dances, such as Latin and ballroom. We spend the income from renting costumes on studio rent, miscellaneous expenses for dance practice and choreography, and the next dance outfits. We don’t have a sponsor that finances us so we face challenges in covering transportation, accommodation and food costs when we participate in competitions abroad. The state doesn’t support us because dance isn’t an Olympic sport. Director of Ulaanbaatar Dance Sport Federation Ts.Altantsetseg covered all our expenses for the WDSF Championship. This stimulated and encouraged us a great deal.
What will Moon Dance do next?
Our plans are very specific for every year. Our next target is to win a medal from the WDSF Championship this year. We came in ninth place in our first year, seventh in our second year, and in fifth place in our third year at the WDSF Championship. We hope to work on our mistakes and continue to improve our achievements like we’re doing now. Compared to previous years, we now have a higher chance of winning a medal from the WDSF Championship.
The State Dance Competition will also take place in May. We plan to succeed in this competition and qualify for the WDSF Championship once again.