Two of Dubai's best dancers attempt to break a world record for video game dancing.
Dubai pair aim for Guinness record for video-game dancing
Two Dubai-based dancers have set their sights on breaking the Guinness World Record for video-game dancing.
Christopher Lawrence and Christian Ortega, both professional dancers and instructors, will begin the dance marathon today at Mall of the Emirates, taking on the Xbox 360's Dance Central 2 game.
The current record holder is the Californian Carie Swidecki who played Dance Dance Revolution for 15 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds. Lawrence and Ortega aim to dance for 16 hours.
In between a rehearsal break just days before the event, Lawrence said he was "extremely happy to be given the opportunity to attempt to break the record".
The duo will begin at 6am sharp and the public is invited to cheer them on just outside the cinema, during the opening hours of the mall.
"This is an amazing part of my life and something to be really proud of. I did not even hesitate and didn't care about the long hours," said Lawrence, who's also celebrating his 28th birthday today. "I didn't doubt myself - I just grabbed the chance because you only live once."
Both Lawrence and Ortega, teachers at Kadomz Dance Studio at Dubai Marina Mall, followed a strict diet and fitness programme ahead of the big day.
"I started dancing when I was 12," said Ortega.
"I'm now a choreographer teaching new and LA-style hip-hop. When I heard about it [Guinness World Record attempt] I was excited. I love dancing - it feels like I'm the happiest person in the world when I perform."
Microsoft officials say the Kinect for Xbox 360, introduced a little more than a year ago, changed gaming by incorporating complete body motion interactivity.
"Video gaming has sometimes been criticised for promoting a solitary couch culture, especially among the youth," said Microsoft Middle East and Africa's Aman Sangar.
Participating in the game, players adopt a more active lifestyle and work up a sweat, improve their fitness and even track calories burnt.
"This innovation is ideal for our region, when maybe outdoor sports facilities are not readily available or the weather conditions are just not suitable. It also breaks the psychological barrier people may have towards fitness, by creating a fun and engaging platform to stay healthy with family and friends in the convenience of the living room," said Sangar. When not teaching dance, Ortega and Lawrence can be found taking part in informal dance battles in various clubs around the city.
"When I got to Dubai in March 2010 from the Philippines, I had to start from scratch. I had no connections for the first two months but then I met the Extremer and Swat dance crews during dance battles in the club - it was like wow!" said Lawrence.
"When I first got the project for Xbox, they were looking for a guy who can do all styles. I was familiar with the game already so I just had to work on stamina."
Since moving to Dubai a decade ago, Ortega has taken part in many company functions and musical events, including the recent flash mob at Mall of Emirates and the Billy Crawford concert.
Lawrence, too, has taken part in events including one for the recent Formula One festivities. He has also done choreography for Samsung's brand launches.
"Back home I trained with the Philippines All Stars - the two-time world hip-hop champions and I attended workshops by Lenny Len [an international choreographer]," said Lawrence. "I did music videos and commercials, I handled talents and also taught family members - basically we are all one big happy breakdancing family."
During today's event, the pair will be dancing continuously for an hour, followed by a 10-minute break.
At times, they will have to dance non-stop for more than an hour and a half. They will have to pause during prayer times.
Guinness has requested there be independent witnesses, video footage of the whole event and photographs taken every minute to serve as evidence that would then be studied.
"Our confidence goes as far as the dancers' confidence goes, and they are pretty confident," said Sangar, adding that the record is "definitely achievable".