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“Precious Gems 14″ – Dancing Gems
07 July 2017

There were helium filled balloons everywhere and many young people were mingling in a carnival-like atmosphere. At the Aliwal Arts Centre, our Young Caregivers Programme (yCG) team was, for the first time, putting on an event “Colour the Wind, a dance presentation”. Three Primary schools and eight Secondary schools were participating and the audience included our Daycare patients, school principals, teachers, HCA’s council and committee members and the large numbers of school volunteers from St Nicholas, Clementi, Crescent, Anglo Chinese and the West Division Girl Guides.

Earlier, our 41 Daycare patients were treated to a bento lunch and soya bean drinks at the Arts Centre. Each was well “guarded” by at least two volunteers, who looked after their every need – from pushing them in their wheelchairs to getting them serviettes and most importantly, befriending and lending a listening ear. Every patient waved at me grinning excitedly. Several held my hands tightly expressing their thanks and gratitude for arranging the outing for them. It was a little heart-wrenching for me to think that just bringing them to a dance event could evoke so much appreciation from the patients.

The time came for the patients to be wheeled into the dance hall. They patiently waited their turn and finally all 41 patients with their “guardians” and our day care assistants were settled in.

In the holding rooms, participants with perfectly coiffed hair were dressed to the nines in their dance costumes. Everyone was chatting excitedly with each other.

With much guidance and support from the Founder and Artistic Director of Odyssey Dance Theatre, Dr Danny Tan, the dance festival started with much pomp and fanfare. Showcasing a myriad of dance genres, each team danced their best. We had Modern Contemporary, Hip Hop, Bollywood, Latin Samba, Chinese folk dance, eschewing the theme of “Empathy, Compassion and Empowerment”. Each of the eleven dances was impressive – well rehearsed, well choreographed and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

The 15 youngest performers were an all-boys team from Primary Two and Three and I was especially impressed as they were the only male dancers. All the other team members, except for the Latin Samba dancers which had three boys, were all girls. The judges had a difficult time deciding on the two teams for “Best Theme” and “Best Ensemble”. I had a tinge of regret in not being able to give out eleven awards, as every team gave their best. The only consolation was that every school was given a framed certificate of participation.

After the dance, the all-boys team went round shaking each patient’s hand. The other older performers followed suit. I was amazed at how the youngest was able to take the lead. I could see the excitement of the patients as they were greeted by the performers. I saw and overheard a patient patting each of the boys on the head and saying “Good boy!” It was an enjoyable outing for our patients!

This was an inaugural dance festival that pulled together the yCG team, the Daycare team, the Volunteer team and the Community Relations team. Everyone put in a lot of effort to make “Colour the Wind” a resounding success. We are so proud of all our staff and volunteers!