People’s Association’s Dancethon 2015 brought together seniors and youths in an intergeneration dance competition.
Twenty-one-year-old Saifulloh Bin Khalid took up dancing as he was inspired by his mother, who has a passion for dancing. When he was young, he tagged along to her dance classes where she taught Malay traditional dances. Instead of being an observer, he started to develop an interest in dancing and learnt the dance movements from her. He hoped that one day, he could also choreograph and teach dancing. His dream finally came true when he took part in People’s Association’s Dancethon 2012, an annual event where seniors and youths come together to dance.
Saiful and his classmates from ITE College Central choreographed and performed a dance medley comprising seniors and youths. “I am really inspired by the energy of the seniors. They had great fun and took pride at the work that was created,” he shared. Since then, he has kept in touch with the seniors who were in his group, as they share the same passion in dancing and he enjoys dancing with them.
He returned to this year’s Dancethon, which took place in late May, and choreographed a new dance together with the seniors and youths in one of the highlights of the event – “Our Dance, Our Stories” Intergenerational Dance Competition. This year, 10 competing teams came together to choreograph the dance but also reflected and shared their personal dance journey with one another. Many heartwarming stories were revealed, bringing about stronger bonds and greater understanding among the two generations.
“Although some of the dance movements [this year] were difficult for the seniors, they were still willing to learn and practise the movements. Their tenacity to overcome new challenges touched my heart and encouraged me to have the same fighting spirit in life,” said Saiful. All their efforts did not go to waste as his team, the O’Honeybeez Squad took the top prize. The team now qualifies for the “Champion of Champions” Award and will be awarded a cash prize of S$1,000, if they successfully defend their title for three consecutive years at the annual Dancethon.
Learning a new dance
This year’s event organised by People’s Association (PA) Active Ageing Council and Ngee Ann City, and supported by Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central brought together 3,000 seniors and youths. Besides the intergenerational dance, participants learnt a new and catchy interactive dance, where they picked up new dance steps. Thereafter, 10 pairs went on stage for a friendly 50-second dance-off. Participants also learnt a new dance, SG Cha Cha, which is a simple dance paired with a lively and nostalgic tune.
Dr Tan Yong Seng, chairman of the PA Active Ageing Council, said: “We want to encourage our seniors to learn the SG Cha Cha during community events and when they participate in interest groups’ activities. For example, seniors can do the SG Cha Cha as part of their warm-up before their briskwalk activity or other community programmes. This is in line with the PA Wellness Programme which encourages seniors to take charge of their lives and stay active through participation in community activities.”
Senior Minister of State for Law & Education and Adviser for Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Grassroots Organisations, Indranee Rajah, said: “Dancing is a popular activity for all ages. I am happy to see seniors and youths with a common interest in dancing, coming together for this event. Dancing is fun while providing exercise at the same time. Dancing allows the young and old to better appreciate the life experiences, passion and values of one another.
“Youths learn from the seniors that age does not matter when it comes to learning new dances. They are inspired by the passion and perseverance of the seniors. These are good values which we want to inculcate in our youths as we honour our seniors and celebrate our 50 years of nation-building together.”