‘It’s like a mini performance’: TP student’s viral breakdancing moment on graduation ceremony stage

The dance routine was only half of what he originally planned.

Dini Qistina Binte Ali

You can find me in record stores even though I don’t own a record player.

Published: 9 May 2023, 5:50 PM

Not many of us would be comfortable with dancing on a big stage with scores of people eyeing your every move.

However, this was not the case for Aston Tan as he performed a breakdancing sequence on the graduation ceremony stage.

That was how the Hospitality and Tourism Management graduate from Temasek Polytechnic unexpectedly amassed over 2,000 likes on the school’s Instagram page.

“I was eating lunch with my family when I saw my notifications blowing up, with my friends tagging and mentioning me,” said the 20-year-old.


Aston pulled off the stunt without any practice at all. PHOTO CREDIT: TEMASEK POLYTECHNIC


While some might think he did it in the spur-of-the-moment, or perhaps because of a dare, Aston clarified that it was an intentional stunt planned with a friend just the day before.

Since they were graduating on the same day, they wanted to make the ceremony “more interesting.”

The graduation hall eventually reverberated with “oohs and “ahhs from the audience. He was also met with stunned expressions from both his parents and friends afterwards.

“It’s kind of like a mini performance,” he quipped.

In fact, the stunt was only half of what he originally planned. He had stopped in fear of hitting the board behind him. Sporting both a formal gown and shoes made it all the more challenging, he added.

Aston was a member of the Dance Ensemble (TPDE) group throughout his three years at Temasek Polytechnic.

He joined the group to build up his confidence in breakdancing, also known as b-boying, but stayed because of the community.

Aston was first introduced to breakdancing in secondary school when he saw his now-close friend – Christian Wong, 21 – perform as part of the school’s b-boying team. They became closer after finding out that they were enrolling in the same polytechnic.

Christian was Aston’s first “instructor” and taught him a few moves before they enrolled in TP’s Dance Ensemble together.


Aston (left) going against his close friend, Christian (right), at the Dance Ensemble internal battle. PHOTO CREDIT: ASTON TAN MINGDE


Since then, it marked his official entry into the breakdancing scene.

To Aston, breakdancing during a momentous occasion such as this meant a lot more to him than some might think. He believes that the act of dancing helps portray his happy, enthusiastic, and spontaneous character.

“In the breaking scene, there’s no fixed way of dancing. There are a lot of different moves and it’s very creative,” he said.


Aston teamed up with his partner and close friend, Ismail bin Wahab, at the Gimme’ A Break Vol 8 competition. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@HINGSUYI


“It’s a very wholesome feeling being able to represent myself on stage and to show people who I am,” he added.

While in school, he also took part in competitions, more commonly known as jams, where he went up against some of his peers. He also had to learn to choreograph dance items and collaborate with other dancers with differing ideas.

Aston believes his experience in the Dance Ensemble was a “teaching experience”.

“It taught me three things: how to work well with others, patience, and determination,” he shared.

Although his graduation ceremony marked the end of his breakdancing journey in TP, he is far from done with the scene.

Aston plans to participate in more breakdancing competitions in the future where his extraverted self can “battle” with other dancers, meet new people, and introduce the culture of breakdancing to a wider audience.

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