Cancer survivors get pole position at big venue

Team instructor Tan Li Leng, 60, a deputy vice-president at an insurance company, and Ms Sudha Muthukrishnan, who works at the Singapore Cancer Society, during a rehearsal for The Rose Diamonds on Monday. At 62, Ms Sudha, a breast cancer survivor, is
Team instructor Tan Li Leng, 60, a deputy vice-president at an insurance company, and Ms Sudha Muthukrishnan, who works at the Singapore Cancer Society, during a rehearsal for The Rose Diamonds on Monday. At 62, Ms Sudha, a breast cancer survivor, is the oldest dancer in the group.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Troupe to perform at Victoria Theatre, their first show outside pole-dancing studio

Five women have overcome one of life's toughest challenges and are taking to the stage to show that they will not be defeated.

They hope to set their audience's hearts pounding at the Victoria Theatre on Saturday, with acrobatic displays around poles as they twirl and dance in a performance that marries art and gymnastics.

These breast cancer survivors will be joined by two seniors and two supporters of patients of the disease as part of the pole-dancing team The Rose Diamonds.

Their dance will be one of the acts in the show, A Pole Story: Adventures In Wonderland, and will be the team's biggest performance yet.

The dancers will be performing outside their studio, The Brass Barre, for the first time, and are expecting more than 600 people to attend, said team instructor Tan Li Leng, 60, who is a deputy vice-president at an insurance company.

Previous performances were held inside their studio for 140 people at most, she added.

The oldest in The Rose Diamonds and a breast cancer survivor, Ms Sudha Muthukrishnan, 62, picked up pole dancing seven years ago.

RIGHT MOTIVATION

Once I am on stage, I will have made a statement that whether you have overcome a major illness or whatever stage of life you are in, as long as you have like-minded people who are encouraging, it can be done.

MS JOANNA LIM, 51, a first-time performer with pole-dancing team The Rose Diamonds and a breast cancer survivor.

Ms Sudha, who works in administration at the Singapore Cancer Society, said the coming show will be her fifth time performing.

"It is going to be a very big stage, so it is a bit scary. But we will give it our best," she said.

First-time performer Joanna Lim, 51, said she is overwhelmed to be performing in front of such a big crowd.

"But once I am on stage, I will have made a statement that whether you have overcome a major illness or whatever stage of life you are in, as long as you have like-minded people who are encouraging, it can be done," added Ms Lim, a breast cancer survivor who started pole dancing last year.

During the performance, the team will twirl around poles and dance to a song, Ti Amero.

The Brass Barre co-founder Anita Sadasivan, 29, who choreographed the routine, said it is the team's toughest one.

She added that she wanted to "push them to do something a little bit more artistic and try to take them to the next level".

"They are very consistent performers, so I know that on the day itself... they will be able to do well on stage and shine and enjoy it.

"In fact, I think they will be even better when there is the audience cheering for them," she said.

The Brass Barre sponsors the use of the pole studio for one hour every Sunday to support the fitness activities of The Rose Diamonds.

The team will be performing alongside other students and instructors of the dance studio, which organised the concert.

International pole dancers from Malaysia, Australia and Russia will also be performing.

For information on tickets, visit www.thebrassbarre.com/apolestory

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'Cancer survivors get pole position at big venue'. Print Edition | Subscribe