Forget the Martinas and the Simonas. Last evening, some 30 children from the ActiveSG Tennis Academy
received their few-minutes of fame as they took centre court at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore 2016 presented by SC Global opening ceremony in a unique pre-show segment.
Kicking the show off with a performance choreographed to a humorous pre-recorded announcement, the young sports enthusiasts were thrilled by this chance to share the stage with some of the world’s greatest tennis aces.
Youngsters from the ActiveSG Tennis Academy go throught their performance at a rehearsal of the WTA Finals opening ceremony. Photo: SportSG
Ahead of the show, we spoke to the children, as well as their choreographer Jeffrey Tan, and learnt just how this opportunity served as an effective platform for building confidence, all while adding an element of fun to the opening ceremony.
“It’s my first time taking part in a major sports event like that and I’m happy and excited to be here. I do get a bit frightened, though, because there are a lot of people watching,” shared one of the participants, 10-year-old Kayden See.
Performing alongside his two sisters, Kayden revealed that he had only got started on tennis two months before, when he joined the ActiveSG Tennis Academy. He added: “And now I get to be a part of the WTA Finals! It’s really a bit scary, but fun at the same time. I hope to become more confident at the end of this.”
This special segment entailed a simple but coordinated display from the children as they mimed the ceremony’s introductory message out on the stage. Adapted from a similar show put up by Emirates stewardesses at one of Portuguese club Benfica’s football matches, the performance modelled itself after a typical in-flight safety video, but jazzed up its lines with an entertaining dose of dry humour.
Revealing that it was the ceremony’s creative director Beatrice Chia who had decided on the concept and written the script, Jeffrey said: “We thought that we needed something fun, if not the ceremony would be too serious. The kids are cute, so they’ll definitely present an extra dimension of humour.”
ActiveSG Tennis Academy youth at the Singapore Indoor Stadium rehearsal of the pre-show segment for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore 2016 presented by SC Global. Photo: SportSG
“This segment really adds colour to the whole show. It’s not your typical opening ceremony. With sports, we need to be more relaxed. Some people think that sports is very serious and competitive, and tennis has a reputation of being more for the elite. This helps set the tone for something more fun for the audience,” he continued.
Jeffrey also echoed Kayden’s sentiments on how the performance could aid the development of confidence in the young participants. Noting that thousands of eyes would be trained on them at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the opening ceremony’s venue, the veteran choreographer expressed that it would be a good learning experience.
“I think that this helps them to overcome whatever fears that they might have, and to help them to feel confident. As they grow as tennis players, it’s important that they become more confident so that they will be able to perform with others watching,” he expressed.
“They are our next generation, so it’s nice to have them involved and show them what they can aspire to as well. I hope that they will be inspired by the WTA stars!”
And, of course, being the energetic children they are, the little performers were most eager to be able to take part in the show alongside their fellow Academy players. As Kayden enthused: “I’ve made quite a few new friends. I hope to participate in something like that again!”