JULY 2011
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WBC and ABC - Here We Come!

 I had the opportunity of accompanying my daughter, Andrea, to the United States to participate in an international ballet competition in early-June 2011. Under her dance teachers, Mr Hsienfa Cheng and Ms Yaling, a group of 9 talented young dancers from this part of the world took part in the World Ballet Competition (“WBC”) and the American Ballet Competition (“ABC”).

We finally flew off from Changi International Airport on the last day of School Term 2. Together with her friend, Samantha, and her mum, Pauline, we survived an uneventful 30-hour flight (with transits in Frankfurt and JFK) and landed in sunny Florida feeling really excited about the events that would be taking place within the next ten days. For the four of us, it was going to be a whole new experience, totally!

The WBC was held at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Orlando from May 30 – June 3, 2011. Over 120 competitors from 18 countries participated in this year’s event. Competitors were scored by a panel of eight judges via a computerized scoring system such that each competitor’s score will be known immediately after his/her performance, similar to the Olympics. Our three dance soloists - Sarah, Natalie and Moeka – danced extremely well amidst tough competition from dancers from other parts of the world. It was such a joy to watch the beautiful ballerinas in their lovely costumes and powerful male dancers pirouette across the stage!


Hosted by Ballet Austin, the ABC was held in Austin, Texas from June 2-5, 2011. The four-day event was packed with daily Masterclasses for each division in the mornings, followed by staging, rehearsals and competitions in the afternoons. As a parent of a participant, I was able to get a pass to sit in and observe how the Master classes were conducted. It was an eye-opener for me! Athough the class size was big (at least to me, easily more than 50), the participants were very disciplined and attentive when the Master was talking, and she would go around the studio, stopping to correct someone's posture from time to time. She explained how the body and its system of muscles work to achieve the perfect balance, and emphasized on facial expressions. I felt as though I have attended a class in the theory of (not practical) ballet!


Finally, the big day that we have all been waiting for – the "Ensemble Performance" category! Choreographed by Mr Hsienfa Cheng to the music of Bach Concerto in C Minor, and aptly entitled "Bach", the Cheng Ballet Academy sent a team of 8 girls to compete in this category which attracted seven participants this year. In other words, our girls were competing against the other six. Anxiety rose among the mothers who were in the audience seats as we watched the performances of the first five groups, each being better than the previous one. However, I must say our girls did not disappoint at all – they came in third. Bravo!


photo4Andrea's reflections:

"The US trip was very memorable for me as it has allowed me to broaden my horizon on dance and life. I learnt that dancing is not just about the footwork and technique. It is about using your heart to feel the emotion and play the role or character in the repertoire.

The dancers there were experienced and skilful, so through them and the teachers' helpful advice, I learnt useful tips on how to improve myself when I dance. Given the chance, I would encourage everyone to go overseas for dance competitions or concerts. It is a very enriching experience, especially if you go with friends. My friends corrected me when I did wrong steps and I bonded with them much more.

With this experience now, I am certain that my dancing will improve and be further enriched."