Moving tribute to local ballroom legend

Dancing and family were the two great loves of Mr Sunny Low, the Singaporean ballroom legend who died on Sunday at the age of 82.

So, it was fitting when his family and students paid tribute to him with a spontaneous and joyful round of the Chilli Cha Cha during his funeral on Thursday.

The dance group included Mr Low's widow, Mrs Aleena Low, sons Melvyn and Jovyn, daughters-in-law Nancy and Cindy as well as his grandchildren. His sister Betty and brother Lawrence also took part in the dance. A video of their dance has since gone viral on social media.

Mrs Low, 67, told The Straits Times the cha-cha had special significance because her husband had been a household name in the 1970s as the king of rock 'n' roll and cha-cha.

"I met Sunny when I was 15 and then began dancing with him. I wanted to complete the dance for him," she said.

The couple had met at the dance studio of Mr Low's father in 1969, and married in 1989.

In the interim, they established their own space - Sunny Low Dance Studio - in 1986.

They also dedicated themselves to sharing the art of ballroom dancing with their fellow Singaporeans and to growing the local dance scene.

In 1987, they founded the Singapore International Ballroom Dancing Championships which, for 26 years, brought world-class dancers to Singapore - placing the nation on the global map of ballroom dancing and elevating dance standards both here and in Asia.

Mrs Low added that her husband had been at his happiest recently when spending time with his grandchildren and loved ones.

She shared a photo of him at his granddaughter Claira's first birthday party recently - beaming widely while holding the toddler.

Birthday celebrations on May 1 for his four-year-old grandson, Jaren, also proved to be meaningful.

"That was the latest happiest time for Sunny as Covid-19 restrictions were just lifted, and we were able to invite past and present students as well as relatives," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Moving tribute to local ballroom legend. Subscribe