Interview with dancer Pearl Tasbur: Connecting international students through dance

Pearl Tasbur, a Singaporean student at Trinity College, used to be a shy and timid girl but since moving to Melbourne has used her passion for dance to connect with others in ways she never dreamed she could.

“Dancing makes me happy, which is the reason why I was fond of dancing at first, [and] my passion has kept me dancing till now. Dance has already [become] a part of my life,” she said.

Photo: Aldo Tasbur

She began dancing at the age of five and hasn’t stopped. The Singaporean dancer says she has experienced many rare opportunities and ventures through her art. One of her most memorable experiences, as she recalled, was being part of a recital by JUMP Productions — a youth engagement collective empowering young people through creativity — in 2016 back in Singapore. It redefined her perspective on dance as well as on life.

“I learned a lot more [about] teamwork and also learned how to make a positive impact on the lives of others through dance,” she said.

Following her dancing experience with JUMP, Pearl soon ventured to Australia to commence her overseas education. Like many international students, she felt very displaced and foreign. All she had to fall back on during hard times was her love of dance.

She wanted to share her love and experience of dance to those who had similar feelings of displacement and lonesomeness. With the help of her brother, Aldo, BOBA was born — a dance club for Trinity College’s students.

The name for the dance club is derived from a type of Asian drink that is known worldwide and has been adapted in foreign countries, just like the members of BOBA. They represent a club that wish to create something magical through performance.

Photo: Aldo Tasbur

BOBA’s committee and club members mostly comprise of international students who teach others on how to express themselves through motion. Pearl modelled BOBA’s approach to that of JUMP Productions’ and sought advice from her mentor at JUMP, Alvin Low, as well as other instructors and mentors in the JUMP team on what it takes to run a similar operation for her school.

Now, the successful dance club boasts approximately 160 members.

According to Pearl, it was a struggle to keep the club afloat at first but she is thankful to her committee members who’ve helped her push forward while she juggles academic life.

“It wasn’t easy to balance my double life of being a dancer as well as a student, let alone being the leader of my own dance club,” she said.

As for the future, she hopes that another group of international students in another intake will be influenced by her love for dance and eventually take over the current committee members’ roles. She would like to see the dance club continuously improve and evolve, even when she has graduated from Trinity College.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via

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