Jive and boogie to raise funds for charity

The team of NUS students organising the dance marathon. Clockwise, from left: Ms Anne Hwarng (in purple pants), Ms Zheng Xiaowen, Mr Shane Chen, Mr Everard Choo, Ms Rachel Fam, Ms Ellen Zeng, Ms Charlene Kwang and Mr Lai Wei Xuan.
The team of NUS students organising the dance marathon. Clockwise, from left: Ms Anne Hwarng (in purple pants), Ms Zheng Xiaowen, Mr Shane Chen, Mr Everard Choo, Ms Rachel Fam, Ms Ellen Zeng, Ms Charlene Kwang and Mr Lai Wei Xuan.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A 10-hour dance marathon this weekend hopes to raise $20,000 to help those in need

This Saturday, please don't stop the music. For 10 hours, starting at 10am, hundreds of revellers will pour out onto the open space next to Marina Bay Sands grooving to different beats - all for a good cause.

In its third year, We Will Dance is a dance marathon organised by a group of students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) to raise funds for the needy.

Reminiscent of the 1920s dance marathon craze in the United States, We Will Dance offers a spectrum of genres for people to groove to throughout the day, from heart-thumping Zumba fitness routines to the gentle flow of lyrical jazz that infuses elements of ballet.

And participants need not be a dancing king or queen to hit the dance floor this Saturday.

"All the (dance) instructors coming down to the event know that they have to teach at a beginner's level," said one of the eight organising members, Ms Ellen Zeng, 21.

Providing their services pro bono, dance crew and instructors will guide the participants on a new dance style every hour. Revellers can choose how long they want to dance for, and tickets range from $30 to $55. They will be joined by beneficiaries of the NUS Student Assistance Fund and three organisations for which the funds are raised.

The dance marathon was first organised in 2013, with the intention of helping a group of students in the NUS University Scholars Programme who could not afford the roughly $6,000 per year on-campus residential fees.The programme allows undergraduates to pursue multi-disciplinary courses on top of their degree.

The marathon has evolved to benefit other organisations. This year, it will raise funds forSPD, formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled, the Autism Association (Singapore) and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

These groups were picked because they offer skills training for those in need - a vital factor as the organisers believe that education is the social leveller that can help and empower people, said organising member Lai Wei Xuan, 23.

The organisers have run dance workshops for some of the beneficiaries to help them prepare for the marathon. For example, foreign workers seeking shelter at Home got to experience Zumba for the first time last week.

"I had never tried something like this before, it was amazing," said a foreign domestic worker who wanted to be known only as Michelle.

We Will Dance hopes to pull an 800-strong crowd to raise $20,000. Mr Lai said it would be heartening to see people with disabilities dance alongside other Singaporeans and migrant workers, everyone "coming together to have fun for a good cause".

• We Will Dance will take place this Saturday at the Bayfront Event Space from 10am to 8.30pm. For more details, visit http://wewilldance.sg/

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Jive and boogie to raise funds for charity'. Print Edition | Subscribe