11-year-old uses her taiji skills to raise money for charity
When Joanna Rekha's wushu coach asked her if she wanted to perform in this year's ChildAid concert, she jumped at the "golden opportunity".
The 11-year-old has been practising taiji, a form of wushu, for two years since she took it up in Primary 3 as a co-curricular activity in school.
Taiji is a Chinese martial art ideal for defence training, provides health benefits and helps with meditation.
"It will be my first taiji performance. I thought it would be good exposure for me and it is also for a good cause," the soft-spoken Primary 5 Hong Wen School pupil told tabla!
Organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, the theme of ChildAid 2019 is Sing! Play! Dance!
This is the 15th year of the charity show.
It will be held on Nov 20 and 21 at Esplanade Theatre and will showcase a multitude of child talents.
ChildAid raises funds for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Since the concert began in 2005, it has raised $18 million for the two funds, which have helped more than 175,000 children.
Initially, Joanna, whose mother is Chinese and father Indian, wanted to join wushu so she could learn complex martial art routines that also involved the use of a sword.
But during the try-outs her coach deemed her more suitable to train in a slower form of taiji because of her grace.
Her mother Diana Ng said her coach observed the way she did her warm-up exercises and realised she could balance well.
Her father Thomas Joseph credits his daughter's grace to her ballet experience.
"She has been learning ballet since she was three, so I believe that has helped her too," he said.
She has showcased her skills in three competitions - two inter-school contests and the Singapore National Wushu & Sanda Championships last year, when she won silver and bronze medals.
At the ChildAid concert, Joanna will be performing a five-minute choreographed taiji routine with five other performers to music from Kung Fu Panda.
"The performance requires us to synchronise our movements, so we have been focusing on that," said Joanna.
Catch ChildAid 2019 on Nov 20 and 21 at 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets, priced at $38, $28 and $18, are available on Sistic.