In a heartwarming and innovative initiative, a group of individuals battling dementia and their devoted caregivers were given the chance to shine as dancers for a day. This unique dance workshop was organized by Dementia Singapore as part of the global observance of World Alzheimer’s Month.
Led by renowned Japanese dancer and choreographer, Osamu Jareo, the workshop brought together four individuals living with dementia and their respective caregivers. Together, they embarked on a journey of free-flowing, improvised dance movements set to the enchanting melodies of live music performed by the award-winning Singaporean percussionist, Yaziz Hassan.
The inspiring session took place in Dance Studio 6 at Our Tampines Hub and was graced by the presence of Guest of Honour, Desmond Choo, Mayor of the North East District. This remarkable collaboration between Dementia Singapore and the Japanese non-profit arts organization, torindo, aimed to merge dementia care with creative arts and was proudly supported by the Japanese Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs.
“Totsu-totsu Dance” is a dance workshop and performance that Jareo and torindo have been actively involved in since 2009, specifically designed for elderly individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. The term “Totsu-totsu” is derived from Japanese words signifying “faltering” and “unsophisticated,” evoking a poignant image of a slow, wavering, and hesitant dance style.
The Totsu-totsu dance session served as just one of the many engaging activities held at Our Tampines Hub to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Month, observed annually in September. Dementia Singapore also hosted its Family Fiesta Carnival at the Hub’s Town Square, featuring a gigantic inflatable playground where families could soak in the festive atmosphere while indulging in complimentary snacks such as ice cream, popcorn, and cotton candy.
The day culminated in a sold-out fundraising concert featuring the Danish band Michael Learns to Rock at the Hub. This spectacular concert raised an impressive $1.1 million in funds for Dementia Singapore, supporting their crucial initiatives aimed at aiding the dementia community and their dedicated caregivers.
In addition to the concert’s success, Dementia Singapore received a generous donation of $80,000 from the Yongjing Family Office, further reinforcing the commitment to improving the lives of those affected by dementia in Singapore.