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Source: YouTube screengrab.

Passion With A Purpose: Local youths fundraise for Syrian child refugees through dance

With a heart wrenching piece inspired by and choreographed to the plight of Syrian child refugees, local dance group “The Passionate Dancing Elders” emerged champions of SUPER24 ASEAN Championships - one of Singapore’s most celebrated dance competitions.

Affectionately known as “ELDERS” in the local dance community, the team of 24 managed to win the likes of acclaimed international judges and audience alike in just 90 seconds, embedding the harrowing message of war and terror deep in the hearts of thousands in attendance.

The Passionate Dancing Elders (ELDERS) is a collective of youths from all walks of life brought together by our undying passion for dance. As a alumni dance group comprising of graduates from Temasek Polytechnic, ELDERS has dedicated themselves to quality productions, using dance as their medium to contribute to our local communities and to spark relevant social conversations in today’s times.

Renowned in the local dance community, ELDERS continues to showcase dance and its limitless energy, passion and heart, most recently through SUPER24 ASEAN Championships (2018) and two well received, full length productions titled “Love At First Squat (爱在第一蹲)” 2017), “The Boy, The Man, The Factory” (2015) - under the support of National Arts Council (NAC) and National Youth Council (NYC).

Amidst the glamour and prestige of victory, ELDERS has not once lost sight of their purpose for joining SUPER24 2018 – to use dance as a medium to raise awareness about the Syrian war crisis and help those so desperately in need.

Shortly after winning the competition, ELDERS launched a fundraising campaign aptly titled “Heart to Heart: Refugee Crisis Aid” in collaboration with World Vision Singapore and pledged their prize winnings of S$4000 to aid child refugees in Jordan (Azraq Camp) and Lebanon (Bekaa Valley), with feeding programmes, early childhood education and psychosocial healing.

The campaign has since received overwhelming support since its launch on 18 August 2018, reaching over 75% of it S$10,000 goal in just 3 weeks.

The team led by Marcus Leong and Toh Hui Lin had their fair share of doubts and difficulties on their road to the championships. The audience and judges reception towards the item was a big question mark from the beginning as a conceptual piece like such has never been presented on the stage of SUPER24.

Leong said: “We can always join the competition to showcase a fancy, hyped and impressive performance but dance has a much bigger purpose. As dancers, we can use our craft and our bodies to convey messages so powerful. At a time where war and violence is rampant, it felt right to shed some light on these issues using the language we know best.”

Despite the uncertainties, Elders ventured forth in the competition to rally for their cause.

Toh added: “If what we can do is bring awareness to these war-stricken children whose tomorrows are not really guaranteed, concerning ourselves only with winning or losing the competition seems so petty in comparison.”

Despite their crowning glory, ELDERS’ took the greatest pride in the positive reception of the performance; evident through thunderous applause and standing ovations from teary-eyed spectators. The humble group believes that the world can be a better place through art and that art can have the power to spark change, no matter how small its impact may be. The support received following the launch of “Heart to Heart: Refugee Crisis Aid” further affirmed their belief as artists.

Heart to Heart: Refugee Crisis Aid” campaign is set to close on 5 October 2018 to coincide with Children’s Day. It is the Elders’ hope for Singaporeans, most of which have known a lifetime of peace and security to count our blessings, step forth and contribute in our small ways to provide relief for the children of Syria. The children who lack the most basic of necessities, the children whose lives are surrounded by constant, persistent terror. The children who have lost life, limb and childhood to wars they never asked for. Though it is not in our power to stop the wars, we can, with your help, ease the plight of these children.