Conversations with Adult Ballet Students #4: Shirley Poon

This is the fourth in the series of Conversations with Adult Ballet Students. Leave me a message if you would like to be profiled in a future edition.

這是《與成人芭蕾舞學生的對話》系列的第四章。如果你有興趣與我的讀者分享你的心聲和經歷,請給我留言。

Introducing Shirley Poon, a management trainee in a Japanese company in Hong Kong. Shirley is going to share with us her bitter-sweet life as a life-long ballet student, and how learning ballet has helped her build a strong character and face life’s various challenges.

這次爲大家介绍的成人芭蕾舞學生是潘嘉敏。潘嘉敏在香港的一家日本貿易行做見習行政人員,她將爲我們分享學習芭蕾的甜酸苦辣,以及芭蕾如何讓她培養出堅强的性格,面對人生各種挑戰。

Shirley Poon

Q: Did you ever take ballet lessons as a kid? When was that?

A: Yes, I started dancing when I was three years old.

你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎是幾歲的時候

答:有啊!我三歲開始跳舞。

Q: Have you ever stopped dancing since then?

A: No, except for a month when I was preparing for the public exams at the end of my high school term.

問:中途有没有間斷過?

答:我除了在中學考公開試前暫停習舞過一個多月外,從來沒有停止過學習芭蕾舞呢。

Q: What motivated you to keep on learning ballet?

A: I’m constantly attracted to ballet because every gesture and every step exudes a sense of elegance. Besides, the costumes in classical ballet are so beautiful.

是甚麽促使你不斷地芭蕾

答:芭蕾舞的動作一舉手、一投足都會散發著優雅的氣質,還有古典芭蕾舞中漂亮的服飾,都是吸引著我學習芭蕾的原因。

Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge or difficulty for an adult ballet student?

A: I think the greatest challenge for an adult ballet student is how to keep up the spirit of perseverance. Many movements in ballet cannot be mastered in a short time. Rather, one needs to practice over and over to get a handle on them. Besides, ballet requires not only perfection in technique but acting skills and coordination with music. All of these make ballet an extremely challenging art form. During the learning process, there are many things that can lead to a strong sense of frustration. Sometimes you just feel like giving up. For working adults, it is doubly hard when you have to gear up to go to a ballet class after putting in a full day’s work, when you naturally feel like hitting the couch and having a rest! But ballet is an art that requires continuous practice to make it perfect, that’s why I think that perseverance is such a big challenge for adults.

:對你來講,成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰是甚麽? 

答:我想對成人芭蕾舞學生來說,最大的挑戰是要時時保持堅持的態度。芭蕾舞的動作好多不是一時三刻就能練習到,總要經過一段長時間學習,然後不斷反覆練習,才可能學會。芭蕾舞不只單單要求舞蹈員有技術上的訓練,還要學習情感表達、與音樂配合等等,這些要素大大提升了芭蕾舞的難度。在學習芭蕾舞的過程中,時時會遇到很多令人沮喪、很想放棄繼續學習的時刻, 而且對大多數成人芭蕾舞學生來說,每天下班後已經很累了,要堅持著下班後用本應休息的時間去學習跳舞,的確很困難。所以我認為要保持著對芭蕾舞的堅持是成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰。

Q: What does ballet bring to your life?

A: Throughout my life, ballet has helped me build character, making me a person who does not easily give up. As I said before, ballet is an art form that has extremely high requirements. Physical stamina, technique and aesthetics—take either one away and it’s not ballet. When you learn ballet, you must not be afraid of failing. Even if you fail, you must try and try again, because you might just succeed the very next time! So what ballet has taught me, is not to easily give up when I run into difficulties in my work. When I face challenges in life, I have taken what I’ve learned in ballet and used the same attitude to keep on learning and preserving.

:芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽?

答:這些年來學習芭蕾舞令我培養出不輕易放棄的性格。就如前題所說,芭蕾舞是一項要求很高的藝術: 體能、技術和美感缺一不可。學習芭蕾舞一定要不怕失敗,即使失敗了,要繼續嘗試,因為可能下次嘗試就會成功。直到今天我出來社會工作,碰到困難時,都習慣了勇於學習及面對,不輕易放棄。

Q: What is the greatest achievement in your ballet life so far?

A: Ha ha, I can’t say I have made any special achievements. But if you count them as achievements, well, I have gotten a number of awards when I and my ballet buddies competed in some regional dance competitions.

:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:哈哈…我在芭蕾舞中不能說有什麼成就吧!一定要說的話,是跟朋友一起參與多區的舞蹈比賽友穫得獎項吧!

Q: What have you gained that was out of your expectation?

A: Sure! I have made friends with a big group of people who are just as crazy about ballet as I am. We often encourage and learn from one another. This is something that I didn’t expect in the beginning.

:有没有甚麽意想不到的收

答:當然有呀!我在學習芭蕾舞認識到一大群志同道合的好朋友,大家經常互相鼓勵,互相學習。這是我一開始學習時沒有預到的!

Q: What have you lost?

A: Because of the need to practice frequently, I have sacrificed time that could have been spent doing fun stuff with my friends outside the ballet circle.

:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:我有時會犧牲了和其他朋友作樂的時間。因為好多時候要練習的關係,和其他朋友一起玩樂的時間自然少了。

Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for ballet?

A: There was a period when I was preparing for a ballet exam and rehearsing for a performance at the same time. At that time, I started practicing from nine in the morning till eleven in the evening. After a whole day’s training, my body was so exhausted that it became numb. But the next day I would return to the dance studio right on time.

你爲了芭蕾而作出最瘋癫的事是

答:最瘋癫應該是有段時間因為臨近芭蕾舞考試,又要排練演出,所以那段時間要每天由早上九時練習到晚上十一時。那時候每晚練習過後,整個身體都累得沒有感覺,但第二天又會準時返回舞蹈室。

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: It is! Because I love ballet so much, no matter how tired I get, it’s all worth it!

:一切都值得嗎?

答:值得!因為我十分喜歡芭蕾舞,再累我都仍然覺得值得!

Q: Have you ever dreamt of becoming a professional ballet dancer?

A: Yes, when I was little, I did dream about becoming a professional ballet dancer. However, later on I realized that my physique is that of a professional dancer, so I did not keep my dream anymore. I am very satisfied that I can keep on learning.

曾經想過做專業芭蕾舞蹈員嗎?

答:小時候有過這個想法,但後來我知道自己的身體條件都不太適合做專業芭蕾舞蹈員,所以就沒有再想過了。只要能繼續學習芭蕾舞,我已經心滿意足了。

Q: As an adult dancer, what is your goal in ballet?

A: Different schools of ballet represent different kinds of aesthetics. My wish is to travel around the world and study different kinds of techniques in various ballet academies, so I can broaden the scope of my knowledge in my beloved art form.

作爲成人舞者,談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:在不同派系的芭蕾舞中各有不同的美態,我想到世界各地的芭蕾舞學院學習芭蕾,學習不同的芭蕾舞技巧,增加自己對芭蕾的認識。

Advertisements

Conversations with Adult Ballet Students #3: Fannie Siu

This is the third in the series of Conversations with Adult Ballet Students. Leave me a message if you would like to be profiled in a future edition.

這是《與成人芭蕾舞學生的對話》系列的第三章。如果你有興趣與我的讀者分享你的心聲和經歷,請給我留言。

What does a female police officer and a ballerina have in common? Well, discipline and determination are the qualities that neither should lack. Introducing Fannie Siu, both a member of the Hong Kong Police—a Woman Constable at the Police Community Relations Office, and an adult ballet dancer. She likes to train at the dance studio in her free time. Let’s hear her unusual story of how she entered the world of ballet!

到底警花和芭蕾伶娜有甚麽共同之處?就是兩者都要有高度紀律和決心才能勝任,不可缺其一。今次爲大家介紹的成人芭蕾舞學生是邵瑞芬,她任職警員,駐守警民關係組,一有時間就會到舞蹈室練功。讓我們聽一下她與芭蕾奇遇的故事吧。

Fannie-Siu_Kitri_Photo

Q: Did you ever take ballet lessons as a kid? When was that?

A: I never learned ballet as a kid!

你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎是幾歲的時候

答:小時候,我從未學過芭蕾舞呢!

Q: When did you start taking ballet class as an adult?

A: I started at the age of 19.

你成年後何時開始學芭蕾

答:直到19歲那年才開始學習芭蕾舞!

Q: What motivated you to do so?

A: In the beginning, I was actually taking karate class. But because of the lack of flexibility, I was unable to achieve what I wanted to achieve during free fight. Determined to reach my goal, I found out that ballet could help improve my flexibility. So I started going to ballet class. Once I stepped into the studio, I fell in love at first sight. Thinking back, this is quite a hilarious story! 

:學芭蕾的動機是甚麽?

答:說出來也覺攪笑•••當年正學習空手道,但由於柔韌度及靈活性不足,與對手打 free fight 時未如理想,決心改善的我在查問後得知學習芭蕾舞最能增加柔韌度,於是便開始踏進芭蕾舞的小小世界裡,而且一學便立即愛上了! 

Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge or difficulty starting ballet as an adult?

A:  For an adult, the biggest challenges are flexibility and coordination. In addition, the learning process requires a great deal of hard work, patience and perseverance.

:對你來講,成人才開始學芭蕾舞,最大的挑戰是甚麽? 

答:對成人來說,身體的柔韌度及協調性會是學習芭蕾舞的最大考驗;而在學習的過程中,亦要有刻苦、耐性及堅持的心! 

Q: What does ballet bring to your life?

A: It allows me to understand and appreciate the art form. Although I don’t have the ideal physique for ballet, I have learned how to enjoy the process of the dancing. That’s why I have kept on dancing over the years and watching ballet performances. It is such a joy to surround myself in the world of ballet in my free time.

:芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽?

答:使我能更了解及欣賞芭蕾舞!縱使我不是學習芭蕾舞的材料,但亦學懂如何享受跳舞的樂趣。所以多年以來仍有繼續跳舞及欣賞芭蕾舞表演,使我更能善用工餘時間,享受一點點的芭蕾人生!

Q: What is the greatest achievement in your ballet life so far?

A:  While I can’t claim any great achievements in my ballet life, I consider myself very lucky to be able to get into the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA) to major in ballet after having started as an adult and trained for only four years in my free time. I have to thank my first teacher, Ms. Shum Ying-ping, who turned me into a dancer. She is a former guest instructor at the Hong Kong Ballet Company. Under her professional guidance and patient tutelage, I was finally able to get admission into the HKAPA. A special thanks to Ms. Shum!

:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:雖然在我的芭蕾舞生涯中並沒有甚麼大的成就,但以成年才開始學習芭蕾舞,只在短短四年的工餘時間學習,便能考入香港演藝學院主修芭蕾舞已算幸運!說起來其實這也不算是我的成就,應該是我的芭蕾舞啟蒙老師岑映萍女士的本事才真,她是前香港舞蹈團客席芭蕾舞導師,在她悉心及專業的指導下,我才能在短時間內考入演藝學院,所以在此我要特別感謝她呢!

Q: What have you gained that was out of your expectation?

A: My biggest gain was a group of friends whom I made during the four years of full-time studies. We stayed on as a closely knit group through thick and thin. I can’t even start to describe our friendship with words. Even today, after so many years, we still get together regularly and share a good time!

:有没有甚麽意想不到的收

答:在那四年全日制芭蕾舞學校生涯中,能認識到一班志同道合的好朋友是我最大的收穫;那些年大家一起經歷的苦與樂,實在難以用筆墨來形容,但這些更能鞏固我們的友誼,至今我們仍常聚在一起,令人津津樂道!

Q: What have you lost or sacrificed in your pursuit of ballet?

A: For me, I never feel like I lost or sacrificed anything for ballet. I have only gained! But for my family, as I was the breadwinner at the time when I decided to become a full-time student, I did create financial burdens for my family members. I really appreciate their understanding and support during that period!

:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:對我來說,芭蕾舞從沒使我失去甚麼或犧牲甚麼,這只有得著呢!但對我的家人來說,當年我也是家中經濟之柱,卻突然轉為四年全日制的學,的確增加了家人的經濟負擔,實在非常感謝他們的體諒及支持!

Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for ballet?

A:  Oh yes! Knowing that I was a late-starter, I wanted to take the last chance to get myself up to speed right before my entrance exam for the HKAPA. So I signed up for the day-time summer intensive even though I was holding a full-time job. This course required me to take half days off on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during an entire summer. My boss didn’t approve. Without thinking twice, I just handed in my resignation letter, which shocked both my boss and my coworkers! In the end, some of my coworkers persuaded my boss to return my resignation letter and let me take a leave of absence. Others tried to talk me into taking back the resignation letter, as they understood that I needed to save money for my ballet studies—working three more months would help me save for my tuition. In the end, I got what I wished—I was able to continue working while taking the summer intensive! 

你爲了芭蕾而作出最瘋癫的事是…

答:哈! 有!在將近入讀演藝的時候,當時仍在工作中,但我想把握最後機會,因為我明知自己遲起步,所以參加了演藝學院日間的夏季密集課程,那要每逢一丶三丶五上午要請半日假去上課,當時老闆唔批,我連想都唔想就立即打了封辭職信遞給她,嚇呆了老闆及其他同事呢!最後,要其他同事勸告老闆批我放假及交返封辭職信俾我,亦有勸我收返封信,因為佢哋知我要儲錢入學,做多三個月都好吖,到最後都如我所願,工照返舞照跳! 

Q: Did you ever work as a professional dancer after graduation? Can you share your experience with us?

A: No, I started working in the police force right after graduation, so I never worked as a professional dancer. But I did work as a freelance dancer in my free time while pursuing my ballet degree, so that I could pay part of my tuition fee. At that time, I would dance for singers on TV shows and concerts.  In the weekends, I would teach kids ballet. But all of these were part-time jobs.

:畢業後曾經做過職業舞蹈員嗎?可否分享一下你的經驗? 

答:我在演藝畢業後就立即當警察,所以也沒有任何有關跳舞工作擔任過!不過,在入讀演藝學院的那段日子,我曾用課餘時間幫補學費;我會間中接 job 做,如幫歌手伴舞及跳演唱會等,每逢週末亦會教小朋友芭蕾舞課的,但全都是 part time 工作!

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: Sure! It’s all worth it, as long as I can enjoy the process of dancing ballet with all my heart!

:一切都值得嗎?

答:只要能用心享受跳芭蕾舞的過程及投入箇中跳舞的樂趣,那自然會發現一切也是值得的!

Q: As an adult dancer, what is your goal in ballet?

A: My goal is to continue dancing! This June, I will be participating in the Vaganova Ballet Academy International Seminar (Summer Course) in St. Petersburg, Russia,  as well as watch the performances of the Paris Opera Ballet in France. I hope that in the future, I’ll have more chances to visit various ballet schools, watch performances all over the world and share my passion with fellow ballet lovers!

作爲成人舞者,談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:繼續跳舞!在本年六月已計劃前往俄羅斯聖彼得堡參加 Vaganova Ballet Academy International Seminar (Summer Course) 及到法國欣賞 Paris Opera Ballet 的芭蕾舞演出;希望在往後的日子,仍有機會到訪世界各地,參觀及了解當地芭蕾舞學校及舞團的演出,一起感受各舞者對芭蕾舞的那份熱誠!

Fannie Siu_Siu Hak

Fannie Siu with her late beloved Ms Siu Hak, who was trying to figure out what pose she was striking in the middle of the road.