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.
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!
Q: Did you ever take ballet lessons as a kid? When was that?
A: I never learned ballet as a kid!
Q: When did you start taking ballet class as an adult?
A: I started at the age of 19.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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！