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Getting in a Groove for Better Cancer Outcomes

April 26, 2024

Dalerina and Rohan D’Silva are Bollywood dancing their way through the month-long Workout to Conquer Cancer challenge.

May 1, the kickoff of  Workout to Conquer Cancer is like New Year’s Day for Rohan D’Silva.

“May is basically his January, when the resolutions kicks in,” laughs his wife Dalerina D’Silva. And the timing is actually much better, jokes Rohan, as it’s just in time for summer.

Seriously though, he says, “It’s a great start for somebody looking to get into a routine. Especially for someone like me. I’m not a person who likes to go to the gym every single day and work out.” Unlike Dalerina, he adds, who is a personal trainer (and a holistic nutritionist) and loves to go to the gym.

The husband and wife Bollywood dance instructor/choreographer duo are embarking on Workout to Conquer Cancer again this month. And while Rohan is less enthusiastic about the exercising, it inspires him to know that by moving every day in May he’s raising funds for people facing cancer.

It also helps to choose an activity you love. While he’s not a fan of traditional workouts, he says, “If you tell me to dance, for 16-18 hours, I will be there. Full energy, full smile, no matter what.”

Dalerina agrees and says the best part of Workout is connecting with the community she’s built though her seven years captaining the SimplyNourishd team.

“I started participating in Workout to Conquer Cancer because I saw an opportunity to make a difference while doing something I love — working out and dancing. Little did I know that it would be a great platform to bring people together and connect through movement, which I truly believe is medicine.”

“Moving our bodies every day helps us take back our power, brings us confidence and makes us more resilient. It is truly a conduit for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being,” she says.

Not to mention, exercise has been proven to reduce your risk of many different types of cancers including breast, colon, stomach and endometrial (uterine) cancers.

This year, Dalerina will be tapping into exercise’s ability to heal even more as she dedicates her month of May workouts to her dear Aunt Angelina, whom she recently lost to cancer.

Dalerina loves the month-long challenge because it pushes her out of her comfort zone to mix it up and try different things. For instance, if you’re stuck for ideas on how to move for 31 consecutive days in May, she says, “Come see us.”

Dalerina says adding a Bollywood dance class to your Workout to Conquer Cancer schedule is a fun way to stay motivated during the 31-day challenge.

The D’Silvas teach Bollywood dance classes through Shiamak Canada. Rohan has worked with some of Bollywood’s biggest stars, including Hrithik Roshan, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, and was first introduced to the animated form of dance, a mix of classical Indian, folk, contemporary jazz and hip hop, while growing up in India.

“We went to see a lot of movies. The energy, the expressive movements and the colourful costumes are larger than life,” he says.

A celebration of Indian culture, music and cinema, Bollywood dance often includes synchronized choreography that is fast paced, requires agility, coordination and stamina — in other words, expect to sweat. But beginners are welcome, says Dalerina. “It can be home to everybody.”

Expect to fall in love, warns Rohan, as it’s about a lot more than just exercising. The upbeat rhythm, the storytelling through dance and the connection to a vibrant culture and community, “it just makes you want to be a part of it,” — much like Workout to Conquer Cancer.


Sign up for Workout to Conquer Cancer and join Dalerina and Rohan in moving every day in May to help improve outcomes for people in B.C. facing cancer.