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A Motivating Journey

photo1I was delighted to accompany my daughter Kai Hui to the American Ballet Competition ("ABC") this year. It was the second time Kai Hui was taking part in the ABC and our second trip to Austin, Texas. Whilst we are now familiar with the venue and the ABC, the experience this year was different because the Cheng Ballet contingent for the ABC has grown significantly. Besides the solo competition, Kai Hui also took part in the ensemble together with 8 of her dance mates.

The experience this year was also different because we went to Orlando, Florida to observe the World Ballet Competition ("WBC") prior to the ABC. The 2 competitions were scheduled close to each other such that we were able to attend the WBC before moving on to the ABC. The WBC is a prestigious international competition and participants had to undergo a prequalification process. This year 3 Cheng Ballet ballerinas Sarah, Natalie and Moeka were chosen to participate. Some 120 competitors from 18 countries took part in the WBC. Watching the WBC was a great experience for Kai Hui. The pressure of competition was intense and Kai Hui was able to observe how the dancers coped with the pressure. She saw how the dancers pick themselves up from a bad routine and go on to better themselves later on. She was amazed at the different interpretations of the same dance routine by the competitors. It was an eye opener for Kai Hui to see the panel of 8 judges awarding the marks almost immediately after a performance like how it was done in the Olympics! The experience has certainly motivated Kai Hui to better herself to qualify for the WBC in the future.

photo2After the WBC, the Cheng Ballet contingent moved on the Austin for the ABC. With last year's experience under her belt, Kai Hui hoped to do better this year. She certainly has more support this year as more of her dance mates were there. Although I felt she did well in her solo performance, she was not satisfied. She felt very tense and it affected her ability to express herself properly in her routine. The pressure of competition is something she has to learn to master and I guess it will come with more exposure and experience. Our Bach ensemble did very well and was awarded the third prize. It was a great reward for our dancers. It was good experience for Kai Hui to perform with her mates as a group. It fostered friendship and camaraderie among the dancers.

photo3Overall, I feel Kai Hui benefited a great deal from the trip to Orlando/Austin. She told me that watching the WBC and ABC has motivated her to work harder on her dance. It certainly adds substance to the notion that to excel one has to work hard and that there is no substitute for hard work and dedication. So I do not expect to hear any more complaints from her on how hard the teachers at Cheng Ballet are pushing her and that the training is tough!

Finally, I would like to thank Mr Cheng and Yaling laoshi for their time and effort in preparing our dancers for the WBC/ABC and to accompany them there. I believe the girls have gained invaluable experience and exposure from the trip.