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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Dancing queens - and kings

Dancing queens - and kings

Thirty-two students, including six mentally handicapped from special needs schools, will perform a dance incorporated with tai chi elements on Friday - the first day of the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2023.
It will be the first time the dance troupe is performing at a world-class event.

The Po Leung Kuk ONE23 Dance Troupe was established last year to provide a platform for students from 11 mainstream and two special needs schools to connect and collaborate with one another.

The dance troupe presented four performances at The Mills and Po Leung Kuk's various celebratory activities last year.

Current troupe members were selected through an audition open to all Po Leung Kuk schools held in October last year.

The criteria was not just dance skills, but their attitude towards others. "The target of setting up the dance troupe was not nurturing top dancers, but to deliver the spirit of compassion and harmony," said choreographer and dance teacher at Po Leung Kuk Anita LL Chan (Centenary) School, Cheng Tak-ming.

Cheng said students with special needs found it difficult to adapt to a strange environment, and most of them could hardly express themselves.

"Some of them couldn't remember the moves, and needed normal students to guide them to the right position," he said.

"I also helped them open food packages, change clothes and praised them when they did right," said Yip Cho-yan, a primary four student from Po Leung Kuk Grandmont Primary School.

Cheng added that he was gratified when he heard students say they will not be uncomfortable when seeing mentally impaired children on the street. "The dance piece [performed at the Hong Kong Sevens] is born in caring," he said.

Combining the elements of Chinese tai chi, which exhibits softness, with the strength-based rugby, Cheng said the program will showcase the essence of cultural exchange between the East and the West.

Principal education secretary of Po Leung Kuk Loretta Lam Yee-mei, said the performance would not only bring students to the international stage, but also spread the spirit of "compassion and harmony" that the organization has always emphasized to people of all colors and nationalities.

A secondary four student from Po Leung Kuk No1 W.H.Cheung College Wong Chun-kim, said he was nervous and excited to perform at the stadium. "It will be embarrassing if I make mistakes, but I want to convey the dance troupe's spirit - care, tolerance and acceptance - to the audience," Wong said

After performing at the Sevens, the dance team will help choreograph with elderly people from care home to perform at the Po Leung Kuk 145th anniversary later this year, Lam said.

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