What is “Nancy Cross Dance”?
When we look into Nancy Sit’s career highlights, one of her outstanding performance was her unique dancing signature — “Nancy Cross Dance”, which is the topic that I would like to talk about.
Sit Ka Yin Nancy, was born on 30 March 1950. She started her acting career from the age of 10 in 1960, mainly working in TV and Film production. Besides naming herself as a new superhero “Captain Nancy” in 2018, she is also named as “Ka Yin Mama” by lots of kids and parents, as she established The “Ka Yin Mama Art Centre” in 2004, in order to provide performing arts training to children such as acting, singing and dancing.
“Nancy Cross Dance” was actually realised by the audience in “Virtues of Harmony” (皆大歡喜), which was one of the most successful TV situation comedy in Hong Kong TV production history. The programme got a great success and turned out to be a series as “Virtues of Harmony 2” was followed to produce after the first chapter. During 2001 to 2005, this series had around 700 episodes in total.
Those ironic and creative stories in the sitcom, which were related to most of the citizens’ life, resulted in high viewership ratings with positive feedback successfully. However, if you try to use one subject to represent this programme only, “Nancy Cross Dance” must be one of the most significant representatives, because Nancy always performed this dance with all the other artists on the stage while playing the opening theme music of the programme in many public shows.
According to Nancy’s interview, she decided to practice “Nancy Cross Dance” with all the artists, who were active and talented in dancing and singing, because they were often invited to have a group performance in some big concerts and events in Mainland China, thus they could easily dance properly to promote their programme and also create a celebrating atmosphere.
Since Nancy would like to ensure that every artist could dance immediately and followed the beat with different background music, the design of dance movement was not difficult, but easy to memorize and dance properly as a team. It only requires 4 steps which are all solid steps with equal tempo. The general direction of the steps are “front — front — back — back”, but imagine dancing like a minimised “十” shape.
To explore the footwork in detail,
- Step the right foot to the front middle firstly.
- Put the left foot across the right foot which can even more towards the right direction.
- Finally, the 3rd and 4th steps are resolving the right foot and left foot back to the natural position of the body respectively,
- Then start to repeat the 1st step from the beginning continuously.
Therefore, this dance is named as “Cross dance”.
If we want to perform the dance in a more energetic and eye-catching way, twisting waist and proper hand position are important.
Firstly, the range of stepping out the second step is the key foot through the whole dance. If we try to step it wider in a contrary direction (Stepping left foot to right direction), the flexibility of our waist is focused to help increase our twisting range to the foresee direction, which presents a contrast impression to the audience.
Secondly, although Nancy did not mention the exact hand position, it could be found that she threw her hands next to her body from her past performances. The 1st and 2nd hands movement were opposite to the direction of the foot but turned to be the same direction in 3rd and 4th steps. The opposite hand positions help expand our body and dance elegant.
“HEY YA-HEY YA-HEY~~~ YA HEY-YA HEY”
This is the first line lyric of the “Virtues of Harmony” opening MV. It immediately shows the celebrating and happy atmosphere to the audience. This song is generally encouraging the audience to be brave and overcome the obstacles together with family and friends in our life. It is in 4 beats with stable tempo and rich harmony, thus the design of the dance is not only easy to match with the beat and mood of the music, but also apply the meaning of the lyrics. Stepping front and back continuously is a symbol of our life with success and barriers, but we still need to smile to face all the situations.
Basically, the structure of the footwork is unchangeable, but the tempo, standing position on facing different directions, and the stepping range are actually based on the mood of the music. In TVB talk show “Sze You Tonight”, presented in 2015, Nancy was invited to perform her signature cross dance under various unexpected music genre. She approached her footwork very well with the music. For example, when the band played jazz music, she expanded her body movement widely and freely to express a mysterious feeling, especially her hand movement was following the rhythm by throwing her arms in and out.
Relationships with the Community:
The “Nancy Cross Dance” was firstly promoted in the TV programme and it turned out to be popular surprisingly. This dance was just a visual entertainment for citizens to feel relax and joyful in the beginning. After the end of the programme, Nancy has promoted this dance as an educational tool in her Art Centre. Through teaching children to learning dancing, children could express their emotion through moving their body, not only training up their coordinate ability but also providing an opportunity to perform in front of people.
Moreover, Nancy introduced her dance to the elderly for them to train up their body and heart system. Elderly could practice their balance by twisting their waist, and also having fun. Especially for those living in nursing homes, this dance provided them with a chance to work on this easy exercise and maintain positive emotions.
As mentions on the above research of the “Nancy Cross Dance”, this dance is very easy to pick up, since those 4 steps structure is stable and the variations of the dance just based on the chosen music to dance creatively. Comparing with the footwork of hip-hop dance, such as Cross Step, Kick Cross Rock Step and Criss Cross, “Nancy Cross Dance” is more suitable for beginners to follow in order to explore the dancing world. Through Nancy’s interviews, she believed, dancing “Nancy Cross Dance” was a good way to share happiness and love to all the citizens in Hong Kong.
ATTENTION: This article is edited from my past university assignment.
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