Dancing their way to good health

Daniel Lim

There are a myriad of ways one can maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some fancy spinning, Zumba, or aerobics, while some prefer jogging along the beaches or hiking and trekking along a mountain path.

For these ladies, they chose line dance. The Sally Line Dance Group is led by 73-year-old Sally Yong.

I met Sally when she along with Women Group of Foochow Association members celebrated the first year anniversary of their line dance group, where the latter had invited Sally to teach its members line dancing.

Sally recalled how she started line dancing as a hobby.

“I was a nurse and a mid-wife at Panaga Hospital (now called Panaga Health Centre, Seria). I retired in 1998 and then I went overseas, where I picked up dancing.” Interested in dancing since she was young, she continued as she grew up. “I thought it would be good for my health if I took up dancing after my retirement.”

Some of the members participating in line dancing. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
Sally Yong during the interview

On her return to Brunei in 2000, she used her knowledge and set up classes for people interested in line dance, especially for senior citizens. “I feel senior citizens should be more proactive in partaking in activities that have a positive impact on their health.

“We started our activity in Kuala Belait. Some girls have moved on and become line dancing teachers themselves.”

Sally noted that the group, formed as an impromptu avenue to share the passion for line dancing, has resulted in them making friends not only Bruneians, but also those from overseas. As Sally explained, line dancing is a form of choreographed dance with a variety of musical influences such as Waltz, Salsa, Cha-cha and Merengue.

The line dancing routines encourage physical movement of the body, but are also easy and not a strain on senior members.

“Being a nurse before, I used to suffer a lot from backache.

“When I started line dancing, it loosened my muscle around my back and my legs got stronger so I don’t have problems in climbing the stairs.”

In addition, she said that line dancing also aids mental health. “I feel that line dancing does bring out the best in people and really opens their hearts and minds.”

Being a choreographed dance routine, I was curious as to the learning process of line dancing, especially for beginners. Sally said, “You will not straight away know how to dance, because you need to use your memory to remember the steps.”

Sally said that she is looking forward to continue teaching line dancing for years to come, while also bringing together senior ladies to further make a positive impact on their health.