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Poetic wrestling? Sing Lit Body Slam event aims to marry poetry and wrestling in performance art

SINGAPORE – For the first time, poets will be verbally sparring alongside pro-wrestlers as part of Sing Lit Body Slam held on October 6 and 7 at Aliwal Arts Centre.

SINGAPORE – For the first time, poets will be verbally sparring alongside pro-wrestlers as part of Sing Lit Body Slam held on October 6 and 7 at Aliwal Arts Centre.

The poets will be reading from original poems in a battle of the spoken word on the sidelines, while their avatar wrestlers duke it out on the mat.

The event is organised by literary non-profit Sing Lit Station in collaboration with Grapple Max Dojo, Singapore’s fastest growing pro-wrestling themed fitness school.

It was during a recent reunion that former schoolmates Joshua Ip, co-founder of Sing Lit Station, and Greg Ho, co-founder of Grapple MAX Dojo, came up with the idea for the programme.

Speaking with TODAY, Ip, 35, said this programme helps to “expand boundaries on how people see things in Singapore, not just in terms of collaboration, but as a concept for stretching your minds, to see that two completely different things can definitely meet”.

“As long as there is passion for storytelling, there is a common space and that’s the space we inhabit,” he added.

Ho shared that their hope is to reach audiences who are not familiar with poetry or wrestling.

“It’s such a new concept, so we are targeting everyone who wants to see something that’s first in the world,” Ho said.

The topics that will be covered range from a crash course for the uninitiated on pro-wrestling, a debate over Shakespearean and contemporary love poetry, a beat-down between Sir Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar over Singapore’s history, as well as a showdown between Singlish and the Queen’s English.

Audiences can expect dramatic throws and take-downs as poets recite poetry verses that synchronise with the physical wrestling. Wrestlers too, will take a turn to read verses directed at their opponent.

The performances will feature original poems exclusively written by Stephanie Dogfoot, Joses Ho, Rajita Jay, David Wong and Ip. And the lineup of wrestlers include elite fighters such as Ho, Dennis Hui and Jeff Ederer.

“When it comes down to it, poetry and wrestling are both about telling a story in the most impactful way possible. The best lines hit you in the heart and wrench your gut, just like how you wince each time a professional wrestler crashes onto the mat,” said Ip.

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