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Dancing to bring cheer

Elderly Group

Dancing to bring cheer
Caption: Mdm Chan feels one is never too old to dance. Dancing can connect people and brighten their day.

Ask Mdm Chan Woon Chee about dancing and her face lights up instantly. The 79-year-old senior from TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (TSAC) started dancing in her twenties. Despite having a knee replacement surgery seven years ago, she continued dancing albeit slower. As the oldest dancer in TSAC’s dance group, Mdm Chan is also one of its most active seniors.

“I have always loved to dance since young. Even though I stopped dancing for a period of time as I had to take care of my children, it was easy for me to pick it up again,” said Mdm Chan with a shy smile.

Every week, a group of 15 seniors would gather to practice their dance moves for their next performance. They have been doing so for the past decade. Led by TSAC staff Mr Richard Chia, the seniors would learn their dance steps bit by bit, synchronising them to perfection. From hip hop to zumba to rock & roll, the seniors enjoy a good workout - shaking their bodies, tapping their feet, lifting their arms up, as they soak into the rhythmic music beat. They have danced to a range of music, including Korean Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” and Luis Fonsi's “Despacito”.

crop dancer
Caption: Mdm Chan posing in her Zumba dance costume.

“Dancing helps me reminisce about the past. Sometimes, I feel lost in the moment, enjoying myself. I have always liked Israeli folk dance compared to contemporary dance. It feels original and the music is unique” quipped Mdm Chan.

The TSAC dance group usually performs at TOUCH’s fundraising events and sometimes at other festive events, including Chinese New Year and Christmas.

 charity ball dance
Caption: Seniors performing at TOUCH’s fundraiser

CNY dance
Caption: Celebrating Chinese New Year through song and dance 

I find it meaningful to dance at TOUCH’s fundraising events together with my friends from the centre. I can enjoy myself while raising funds for TOUCH. I also like dancing for the residents in nursing homes because we can lift their spirits. Seeing them smile makes me so happy,” added Mdm Chan.

“We see dancing as a good form of therapy for our seniors. We also have a choir group. They can be good ice breakers. We have seen seniors opening up to become more confident and sociable. They nudge each other to press on whenever they have a new song to learn or challenging dance steps to master.   After each performance, the seniors feel so fulfilled. When someone falls sick, the others would boil soup or prepare herbal drinks. They are very close,” said Ms Yong Yin Hoong, Assistant Manager from TSAC.