Freewheeling dance style

July 31, 2009 – 11:20 pm
Friday July 31, 2009
By DERRICK VINESH

SIMPLY captivating. This best summed up the dance performances by a group of wheelchair-bound persons with their able-bodied partners in a fund-raising concert in Penang.

It was also a night of fun for the 33 disabled persons on wheelchairs as they ‘danced’ and swayed to the rhythmic beats of the songs with their partners at the event held at the Jit Sin Independent High School in Bukit Mertajam.

The audience clapped along as the performers captivated them with creative dance movements that were specially choreographed for wheelchair-bound persons to perform with able-bodied partners.

Themed ‘Creativity Beyond Limitations’, the three-hour long concert was pre- sented by members of the Beautiful Gate Foundation For the Disabled (BGF).

The dancers performing from their wheelchairs.

BGF executive director Sia Siew Chin said the show was aimed at creating awareness that disabled persons on wheelchairs were part of the nation’s rich multi-cultural society.

In the show’s first segment, BGF presented a cultural dance showcasing eight disabled boys and girls on wheelchairs together with their partners in matching traditional costumes.

Next was a segment called Joyfulness in Life where nine disabled persons and their accompanying volunteers performed a dance skit to the upbeat numbers Macarena and YMCA.

During this item, one of the disabled persons suddenly fell off the wheelchair and struggled to get back on it.

Rock and roll: BGF members show that onw can have fund and style even on a wheelchair.

“This skit is to depict the difficulties that disabled persons have to face in life.

“But, with perseverance and determi-nation, they can succeed in the end,” Sia explained.

Subsequently, four disabled persons on wheelchairs and volunteers participated in separate ballroom dance items, namely the rock & roll, samba, rumba and cha-cha.

“This item is to showcase that disabled persons can also live together and enjoy life with other able-bodied persons,” Sia said.

Four children, aged between seven and 14 years, later took part in a disabled children’s wheelchair dance presentation, where they used sign language to relate heartfelt messages through two Mandarin songs.

And, after visually impaired singer Daniel Yap belted out three melodious Hokkien numbers, the BGF Performing Arts Troupe members regrouped for the finale where they invited the audience to join them in a freestyle dance.

Earlier, pastor Lee Lip Hock from the Bukit Mertajam Chinese Methodist Church (BMCMC) presented a cheque for RM153,039 that was raised from the concert’s ticket sales and sponsorship to Sia. BMCMC was the event co-organiser.

“We will use the money to buy teaching aid and as well as equipment and amenities for disabled youths at our BGF Kampar Centre in Ipoh, Perak,” said Sia.

Also present was State Youth, Sports, Women, Family and Community Deve-lopment Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi.

For details on BGF, visit their website at http://www.beautifulgate.org.my/

Source from: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/7/31/north/4371706&sec=north

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