At 71, many ballroom dancers might have hung up their dancing shoes. But Tham Cham Soo, known as the 'one-leg dancer' among his friends after two stokes in 2005 left him walking with a limp in one leg, still travels with his dance partner Frances Teoh to learn new skills and take part in dance championships in the country and the region. After the stroke, he uses his left leg more in his dance moves. Tham said he and Teoh, who have been dance partners for 20 years, travel to Australia and China several times a year to hone their skills.
"We want to keep learning new things and we also needed a third eye to check our skills and posture," Tham said at the Nam Hooi Association in Chulia Steet, Penang recently. Tham, believed to be the oldest participant in the 18th Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship on November 26, is gunning to win the Standard Senior title for the 11th time. He has been winning it with Teoh for the last 10 years. The semi-retired chartered architect and Teoh, who is in her 50s are the holders of a Guiness World Record and are in the Malaysia Book of Records for winning 184 times in ballroom dance championships in the Asia Pacific region.
Tham said he suffered two strokes within a couple of weeks in 2005. "One doctor told me to stop dancing and another advised me to continue. I listened to the later. I remember leaving the hospital and performing straight away at a Chinese opera show," said Tham who is also an opera singer. Having picked up ballroom dancing at age 23 when he was studying in Australia, Tham now dances for exercise. Tham and Teoh are the organizing committee members of the Championship. Some 500 couples are participating. (The Star)