From gangster to mentor, from drugs to dance
Dance instructor Mel draws from her troubled past to inspire delinquent teenagers to veer away from the life she once led

MANILA, Philippines – Thirty-four-year-old Mel turns to the dance floor where a group of boys struggle to get their choreography right.

She bellows at them like a drill sergeant – her face immobile, her gaze piercing. She commands them to practice, and she will watch.

All 8 boys oblige and get working on their dance steps. They – collectively known as Pluspoint – have a gig to prepare for.

Pluspoint was officially set up in June 2012 when Mel decided to channel her energy and attention to dance to keep her away from drugs, violence, and a life of crime that had landed her 3 years in prison. 

“I started dancing because I felt it can throw away my sorrows,” she says.

She was only 16 when she gave birth to her firstborn. Her youth was turbulent, as she spent most of it on the streets rather than in school. Mel turned to drugs to numb herself from hardships of life, joined gangs for security, and even turned to prostitution to fend for herself and her offspring. 

Mel is a single mother of 7 and a sister to the boys of Pluspoint, who are all “upcoming” gangsters.  She teaches delinquent teenagers because she believes dancing is her way of pulling them away from a life of violence and crime – a life she once led.


If you are based in Singapore, and would like to learn how to dance or spin like a DJ – or have Pluspoint perform at your wedding, party or corporate event – support the group’s Indiegogo campaign.

Find out more about Pluspoint from their Facebook page.

This is brought to you by Our Better World, an initiative of the Singapore International Foundation – sharing stories to inspire good

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