Conversations with Adult Ballet Students #6: Chacha Chan

This is the sixth 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》系列的第六章。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 Chacha Chan, a part-time teacher, a glamorous housewife and a business owner. Chacha calls herself someone who never sticks to one hobby but has, somehow, stuck with ballet for seven years. Find out what turned her attraction to ballet into a long-term relationship.

陳嘉敏是個半職教師、美女主婦和生意人。她自稱對任何興趣都只有三分鐘熱度,但遇上芭蕾,偏偏一學就學了七年,從未間斷。到底芭蕾有甚麽的魔力,促使她那麽長情呢?

Chacha-Chan_Class

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

A: When I was 14, I had a few lessons when my school opened a ballet class for beginners.

你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎是幾歲的時候

答:我十四歲那年,學校開辦了芭蕾舞初班,我就上了幾課。

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

A: In 2007, when I was 32.

你成年後何時開始學芭蕾

答:在2007年,當時我三十二歲。

Q: What motivated you to do so as an adult?

A: My daughter started to take ballet lessons at that time. I wanted to learn with her so that I could understand her passion better and to see if I myself was really “a good piece of material” for ballet, as I was told so many times by my ballet-dancing friends and even my teacher.

成年後學芭蕾的動機是甚麽呢?

答:那時我的女兒開始了學芭蕾舞,我爲了想了解一下她爲何對芭蕾舞有那麽大的興趣,便自己也去學;同時,我的老師和舞友常說我是跳芭蕾舞的“好料子”,於是我便懷着好奇心地,去看看到底我這個“料在”好到哪裏去。

Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge or difficulty?

A: Knowing fully that there are technical limits that I can never surpass, but still trying not to give up.

問:對你來講,成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰是甚麽?

答:明知道有些技巧是我的能力有所不及的,但仍然繼續努力去嘗試。

Q: What does ballet bring to your life?

A: It brings me new perspectives of looking at life and helps me understand that I can still enjoy something that I am not terribly good at.

問:芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽

答:它令我用一個新的角度去看我的生命,讓我了解到,有些即使我不太勝任的東西,也可以非常地享受呢!

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

A: Passing the RAD intermediate exam and starting a brand new career of teaching ballet at the age of 39!

問:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:通過英國皇家舞蹈學院中級考試,以及在39歲才開始教芭蕾舞的生涯!

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

A: The friendship I have with very young ballet dancers who have learnt ballet for over 15 years. The way they try to help me understand how to execute certain difficult movements and their encouragement are priceless. The trip to visit China National Ballet at its 50th  anniversary was beyond any expectations I ever had.  An exchange program in Inner Mongolia with a dance buddy I met on the Internet was also something I would never have imagined. Above all, the friendship I have with my ballet teacher and fellow dance lovers is invaluable. All these have helped me become a better person.

問:有没有甚麽意想不到的收

答:我跟一羣習舞超過十五年以上的年輕同學交上朋友,她們幫我明白如何做一些複雜的動作,而且經常鼓勵我,這種友誼真是難能可貴。令我喜出望外的是,有機會前往中國参加中國芭蕾舞團五十周年慶祝活動,還有跟一位志同道合的舞友一同到内蒙参加舞蹈交流團。這些年來,與我的芭蕾舞老師和同學建立起的友誼實在珍貴!而這些都令我成爲一個更好的人。

Q: What have you lost?

A: I haven’t really lost anything.

:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:没有失去甚麽。

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

A: The craziest thing was to dance three times a week, two hours each time, for two months in a row, and forced myself to do double pirouette before the RAD Intermediate exam.

你爲了芭蕾而作出最瘋癫的事是甚麽

答:在考英國皇家舞蹈學院中級考試之前,連續兩個月,每星期三次,每次兩個小時密集式訓練,另外為了考試而逼自己做雙轉圈!

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: Yes, of course.

:一切都值得嗎?

答:當然值得!

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

A: I never dreamed to be a professional dancer because it was just such a distant dream when I was a kid.

曾經想過做專業芭蕾舞蹈員嗎?

答:從來没有想過,因爲在我童年時代,這個夢想實在太遙不可及了。

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

A: All I want is to keep improving in all areas even though there are limitations. My goal is, from time to time, that I can look back at the techniques I couldn’t master before and realize that I can now handle them like second nature.

作爲成人舞者,談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:即使實際條件有所限制,我也希望能够在芭蕾舞的所有範畴裏獲得進步。如果時爾回首,能够發覺以前做不到的技巧,現在能够很自然地做到,那就是達到我的目標了。

Chacha-Chan-and-Gretchen-Lee

Chacha Chan (right) posing with her elder daughter, Gretchen Lee. Mother and daughter often goes to ballet performances together.

Conversations with Adult Ballet Students #5: Angel Chau

This is the fifth 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》系列的第五章。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。

Meet Angel Chau, who works with equity sales in a brokerage house in Hong Kong and finds her dream in the ballet studio, which she dubs her “wonderland.”

這次爲大家介绍的成人芭蕾舞學生是周文英,她在香港一家証卷行從市股票銷售的工作,工餘時常在她稱爲“樂園”的芭蕾舞室裏尋夢。

Angel-Chau_Photo

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

A: I took my first ballet class when I was around 4 or 5. I was so young that I don’t remember the details. All I can remember is that the music my teacher used for our dance came from the movie “An American Tail”—the title song of which is “Somewhere Out There.” When I was in junior high school, I joined a dance troupe called Crystal Western Folk Dance. Before we rehearsed our dances, we were given some basic ballet training. It was informal though. At that time, Winghong Wa became my first ballet teacher. He was in the first graduating class of the first ballet school in China. When I started my lessons with him, he was already over 50. In him, I see someone who is truly passionate about ballet, and this passion is not limited by age.

你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎是幾歲的時候

答:四、五歲時學過。年紀太小甚麼也不記得,只記得當年課堂上老師排舞音樂是老鼠也移民的主題曲–Somewhere out there。後來是初中時加入旭穎西方舞團,排舞前會上一些芭蕾舞基訓,不過也不是正式的芭蕾舞課。當年的芭蕾舞啟蒙老師-華永康老師是中國第一間芭蕾舞蹈學校的第一批學生,他教我跳舞時也年過半百了。從他身上我看到一個真正熱愛芭蕾的人,絕對不受年紀性別限制。

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

A: After university and having worked for two years, I suddenly realized that life was dry and boring—going to work day in and day out with the sole purpose of making money. So I decided to give myself the gift of dance as the birthday present for that year.

你成年後何時開始學芭蕾

答:大學畢業,出來工作兩年後,突然有一天想,每天這樣上班下班,每天錢錢錢錢,人生很枯燥。下定決心,學跳舞作為自己當年的生日禮物。

Q: What motivated you to study ballet?

A: I have always loved to dance since I was a little child. But I always have felt that ballet is the foundation of all dance styles. That’s why I chose the ballet studio to be my escape from the world of money—it’s my “wonderland.”

:學芭蕾的動機是甚麽?

答:因為從少到大也喜歡跳舞,而我一直覺得芭蕾舞是各種舞蹈的基礎,所以當年就選定了芭蕾舞室作為我暫時逃避金錢世界的wonderland.

Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge or difficulty?

A: Time.  When it comes to good ballet technique and stamina, there is no shortcut. The muscle tone, each tiny movement of the hands and the feet, the grace—all of these must be built through continuous training, hour after hour, day after day.

Adults are often constrained by their work schedule. Sometimes they have to socialize for work purposes during afterhours or travel on business, so they can’t make it to class. Besides work, some of us need to spend time with our significant others or our family. Some classmates may have been going very strong in class until they get pregnant and need to spend a tremendous amount of time to take care of their children. They can’t afford the time to take class anymore.

:對你來講,成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰是甚麽? 

答:時間。芭蕾舞的訓練是沒有捷徑的,你的體能是你一天連續上幾小時慢慢練出來的,你的技巧是一周上多少堂課,一個一個肌肉練出來的,你的舉手頭足,氣質,是日積月累浸出來的。

成年人工作繁忙,下班可能要應酬來不了上課,又或出差了上不了課,除了工作,還有其他角色,你的另一半你的家人需要你給他時間。有些同學,可能一直跳得很好,後來懷孕了,孩子出生後需要給孩子大量的時間,更沒時間上課。

Q: What does ballet bring to your life?

A: I have learned the importance of perseverance. I’m a typical Hong Konger, which means I want efficiency and cost effectiveness in everything. But when it comes to ballet, there are no short courses. To be able to dance well, you’ve got to put in a long period of training time. If you persevere, you will find yourself having improved after a few years.

Another thing I got from ballet is friendship. I have made friends who are younger than me, who share the same interest as me. We have gone through exams and stage performances together. All these years, my classmates are not only friends but my teachers as well.

:芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽?

答:堅持—我是很典型的香港人,事事講求效率,快靚正,但芭蕾舞是沒有這樣的雞精課程的。要跳得好是要花上一段長時間的訓練,只有堅持,日復一日的練,幾年後你才會發現自己有進步。

友情—一堆比我年青的女生,一堆有共同興趣的朋友,一堆一起考試的戰友,一堆一起在舞台上發光發亮的追夢者,一堆這些年來教過我的良師益友。

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

A: Although I have performed countless times, I know that I still don’t dance very well, so I can’t really say I have any achievements. But, I’d get very emotional every time I have finished a performance after having worked hard with my teacher and classmates.

Last year, I took two coworkers who were absolute beginners to take class with me. Gradually, they started to fall under the spell of ballet’s magic. Having successfully promoted ballet is an achievement that I am very happy about.

:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:雖然跳過無數大大小小的表演,不過自知自己跳得不是很好,實在無法認為是成就。

不過,當老師同學一起努力幾過月,最後完成表演後,每一次也很感動。

還有,去年,無意中帶了兩個從未學習芭蕾舞的同事去上課,然後她們慢慢迷上芭蕾,成功把芭蕾推廣也是叫我很開心的成就。

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

A: Ha ha ha, well, I don’t have to spend money on pedicure. In the summer, I would still wear sandals. If someone criticize on the look of my toe nails, I’d explain that this is what lies behind the beauty of ballet.

:有没有甚麽意想不到的收

答:哈哈哈!夏天不用花錢去做水晶腳甲。夏天,我仍會穿涼鞋的,如果有人批評我的腳甲不美,我會說這是芭蕾舞者美麗背後的辛酸。

Q: What have you lost?

A: What I have gained is far greater than what I have lost.

:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:獲得的遠遠比失去的多。

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: Sure is!

:一切都值得嗎?

答:值得!!!!!

Q: What is your goal in ballet?

A: To stay healthy and dance until I die.

:談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:身體健康,能够跳一世芭蕾舞。

Q: You also have continued to perform folk dance as an adult. Having studied both folk dance and ballet, what similarities do you find between the two dance forms?

A: There are quite a lot of similarities. Take Italian folk dance as an example. A lot of its allegro steps are based on ballet.

:我知道你從小以來都一直有表演民族舞。可否講下民族舞和芭蕾舞之間有甚麽相似之處?

答:兩者是有不少相同之處的,例如意大利的民族舞,它的快板舞步有很多都是基於芭蕾舞的快板舞步的。

Q: How has folk dance enriched your life?

A: I have traveled with my dance troupe to Inner Mongolia for an international folk dance festival, where I met many different dance groups from different countries. Later on when dance festivals are hosted in those different countries, our troupe will be invited to attend too. Two years ago, I also participated in a folk dance festival in Slovakia and made many friends.

民族舞爲你帶來了甚麽驚喜嗎?

答:我曾經跟我的舞團一起到内蒙参加國際民族舞節,與世界各地的民族舞團互相交流,日後,那些國家也會邀請我們到他們那裏表演呢。兩年前,我也到過斯洛伐克共和國参加他們的民族舞節,並且交了不少朋友。

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。

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.

Conversations with Adult Ballet Students: #2. Mary Zhou

This is the second 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》系列的第二章。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。

Meet Mary Zhou. Mary is a university professor in Hong Kong and dances 6-10 hours a week.

這次爲大家介绍的成人芭蕾舞學生是周慧泉。周慧泉是大學教授,每周習舞6至10小時。

Mary-Zhou_Tutu_Photo

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

 A: No, never.

你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎

答:從來没有。

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

A: When I was 28 , in Fall 2008 at the University of Pennsylvania gym. There, I took one class a week. Then I started seriously taking classes in Spring 2009 at Symmetry Dance Wellness with a Russian-trained master teacher, Kip Martin, four times a week. Later on, I took class every day except for Sunday, when the studio was closed.

你成年後何時開始學芭蕾

答:2008年秋天,28歲的時候,最初在賓夕凡尼亞大學的體育館,每周一堂課。然後2009年春天正式開始在Symmetry Dance Wellness跟隨俄派導師Kip Martin,先是每周4堂課,然後每天都去上課,除了星期天(學校没課)。

Q: What motivated you to do so?

A: I always wanted to try ballet, but did not have the chance. Then I happened to see they have ballet beginner class offered at my university gym. So I decided to give it a try.

:學芭蕾的動機是甚麽?

答:一直很想學,不過没有機會。然後忽然發現大學體育館有芭蕾基礎班,就决定去試試。

Q: Tell me more about your initial experience of taking class.

A: In the first two and a half years, I took class at a studio in downtown Philadelphia. My teacher, Kip, is such a wonderful teacher. I think he is the one who made me the dancer I am today. He really took adult students seriously. He believed in us, and believed that adults can achieve as much as children can. So I followed a systematic training with him, which built the foundation for my further training with other teachers. Today, I still think of Kip as someone who created me as the ballet dancer.

還記得你開始學芭蕾時的情景嗎

答:我最開始的两年半時間都在費城跟隨Kip學舞。我覺得他是一個非常棒的老師。是他造就了今天作爲舞者的我。他對待成人學生非常認真。他相信我們,相信成人可以像小孩一樣被塑造。所以在他的系統訓練下,我打下了很堅實的基礎,令到我後來可以再跟隨其他的不同老師學習。所以,到今天爲止,我仍然認爲Kip把我變成了芭蕾舞者。

Mary-Zhou_Class_Photo

Kip Martin teaching Mary Zhou

 

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

A: I think it is to overcome that feeling that even if you try your best, you won’t be as good as those people who started as a kid. And of course, you can never reach professional level. Also, you are sort of constantly reminding yourself that when those kids are learning, they are growing up, but when you are learning, you are growing old…. That means you will become worse instead of becoming better.

對你來講,成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰是甚麽? 

答:我覺得需要克服一種想法,就是,無論你怎樣努力,你都不可能像那些從小學舞的人一樣好。而且,你永遠不可能達到專業水平。同時,你還在不停地被現實提醒:當那些小孩子不斷學習,他們不斷長大;而當你不斷學習,你就在不斷變老……就是説,你會越變越差,而不是越變越好。

Q: What does ballet bring to your life?

A: I think it just opened up a different world for me. Before I took up ballet, I was a researcher and a writer. So I had only colleagues, classmates and fellow writers as my friends. Now I have a lot of dance friends too. Of course I learnt a lot of new things, and tried out new things. So I think it just added another dimension to my life.

芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽?

答:我覺得芭蕾爲我打開了另外一個世界。在學習芭蕾之前,我是個研究人員和一個寫手,所以我有同事,同學,和其他寫手朋友。現在我有許多芭蕾朋友。當然,我也學到了許多新事物,嘗試了許多新事物。所以我覺得芭蕾爲我的生活添加了一個維度。

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

A: I used to set a goal: to get on pointe before I get my PhD. Now that’s done. I don’t think there is a single achievement, like performance or competition. I think being able to achieve my current level is an achievement. I am happy when other people say to me they do not believe I started ballet only in Fall 2008. I guess I wasn’t expecting to make such progress in such a short time either. So I will keep on working hard.

:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:我以前有個目標,就是在取得博士學位之前可以穿上足尖鞋。那個已經實現了。我不認爲我有一個單一的成就,好比表演或者比賽。我覺得能够達到今天的程度,本身已經是一個成就。當别人説他們不相信我是從2008年秋天才開始學芭蕾的是時候,我總是很高興。我想,我自己也没想到在這麽短的時間裏可以有這樣大的進步。所以,我想我要繼續努力跳舞。

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

A: Being a writer, I also wrote one ballet novel. I put it online, and people liked it. Some of them thought I was a professional ballerina (ha!). One publisher was interested, and asked me to finish a sequel. Perhaps they will combine the two and publish it. So I’m working hard on finishing the sequel.

:有没有甚麽意想不到的收

答:作爲一個寫手,我最近完成了一部芭蕾小説。我放在網上,讀者都很喜歡。他們有些人以爲我是專業舞者(哈)。有書商聯系我,讓我完成續集,他們考慮將正傳和續集一起出版。正在努力碼字中。

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

A: Well, I once took all classes offered in a studio, like 21 hours a week. But last year, I did a summer intensive—four hours a day for 13 days straight. Summer intensives could be quite crazy! I could not even point my feet at night.

你爲了芭蕾而作出最瘋癫的事是

答:我曾經每天去上課,每周上21小時。不過去年我參加了夏季密集課程,每天4小時,一共上了13天。真是够瘋狂的。每天晚上回家後已經不能綳脚了。

Q: What have you lost?

A: I guess I have less time to write now. It used to be work and write. I  have been writing novels since 2002. Now it is work, write and ballet. My readers and editors are not happy about it.

:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:我想我現在放在寫作上的時間少了。以前我的生活就是工作和寫作。自從2002年就開始寫小説了。現在是工作,寫作和芭蕾。我的讀者和編輯不怎麽高興。

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: Yes.

一切都值得嗎?

答:值得。

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

A: No, since when I started, it was already impossible to have this kind of dream. Plus, I actually enjoy taking classes more than performing.

曾經想過做專業芭蕾舞蹈員嗎?

答:没。因爲我開始學的時候已經過了做這種夢的年纪。而且,相對演出,我更喜歡上課。

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

A: Not sure. I guess just keep improving.

作爲成人舞者,談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:不太清楚。我想,就是繼續進步吧。

 

Conversations with Adult Ballet Students: #1 Wong Sin Ting

Ballet is tough. Tough on the body. Tough on the mind. It’s an art that belongs to the youth—if you wish to be a professional dancer, you’ve got to start young—and you generally finish your career young. But there is a group of adults who are so smitten with the beauty of this art form that they have started to learn it. For some, they started as a child and continue to take class in adulthood. What motivates them to pick up ballet in the first place, and to continue taking class despite the challenges? Follow me in my series of “Conversations with Adult Ballet Students.” My focus will be on adult ballet students in Hong Kong but will also include those in other countries. Leave me a message if you would like to be profiled in a future edition.

芭蕾舞是一門艱苦的藝術,對身體和意志都有極大的挑戰。它是一種属於年青人的藝術—如果你想成爲職業舞者,必須開始得早,但退休也早。不過,職業舞蹈圈以外,還存在着一羣熱心人,他們被芭蕾舞的美感深深地攝住,在成年後才開始學習芭蕾。有的呢,就從小開始學,到長大後仍不舍不棄,繼續鑽研。到底是甚麽驅使他們學習芭蕾呢?在筆者《與成人芭蕾舞學生的對話》系列中,讓我們認識一下香港—以及外國—的成人芭蕾舞學生,對於學舞的一些感想。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。

Joining us for the first conversation is Wong Sin Ting. Sin Ting, or Kitty, works as a facilities manager and program officer in Hong Kong. Let’s hear what she has to say!

第一位被訪的是黃蒨亭。蒨亭在香港任職設施管理及籌辦活動的工作,看看她的分享吧!

Sin Ting Wong

Sin Ting Wong 黃蒨亭

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

A: Yes, I did. When I was five.

問:你小時曾經學過芭蕾舞嗎?是幾歲的時候?

答:有,當時五歲。

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

A: I have been learning ballet since I was a child and since then haven’t really stopped.

問:你成年後何時開始學芭蕾?

答:由細學到大,其實冇咩點斷過。

Q: What motivated you to learn ballet?

A: I’m inspired by the beauty of the movements. At the same time, taking class is a good workout. I can kill two birds with one stone!

問:學芭蕾的動機是甚麽?

答:因為動作優美,同時又可當做運動,一舉兩得。

Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge or difficulty?

A: The biggest challenge is flexibility. Without a good degree of flexibility, it’s difficult to produce beautiful and elegant movements.

問:對你來講,成人芭蕾舞學生最大的挑戰是甚麽?

答:身體柔軟度。如身體柔軟度不足,很難將動作做得靚及優美。

Q:What does ballet bring to your life?

A:My life revolves around dancing. I love going to ballet performances, for example, I would go with my classmates to Taiwan for ballet shows as well as sightseeing. When I visit the UK, I would find a dance studio to take class and go to the Royal Opera House to watch performances by the Royal Ballet. I don’t read many books but all the books I have at home have to do with dancing.

問:芭蕾爲你的人生帶來了些甚麽?

答:我嘅生活都圍繞著跳舞,如為左睇芭蕾舞星的演出,與跳舞同學一齊去台灣旅行兼睇表演;去英國旅行都要去搵舞蹈室上堂及去Royal Opera House 睇Royal Ballet。我本身係一個唔多睇書嘅人,但我屋企有嘅書都係同跳舞有關嘅書籍。

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

A: Being recognized for my own choreography. For example, in 2013, my work “The Time is Now” was chosen to be showcased at the Hong Kong Dance Festival. In 2012, I got the silver award for my choreography for the Group Dance category at the 8th Young Ballet Stars Award organized by the Hong Kong Ballet Group.

問:直至目前爲止,你的芭蕾生涯中最大的成就是甚麽?

答:自己所編排的芭蕾舞作品獲得認同,如2013年所編排的“瞬間即逝”獲選參與2013年度香港舞蹈節演出、及2012年香港芭蕾舞學會第八屆芭蕾舞超新星大賞群舞組銀獎。

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

A: Well, to me, dancing isn’t just about making movements. It has trained me to persevere and stick to my goals with strong will power. It has also improved my bodily coordination and analytic skills. I feel that what I’ve gained from ballet has helped me become much more efficient when doing other things.

問:有没有甚麽意想不到的收獲?

答:有。跳舞唔單止只係“跳跳跳”咁簡單,訓練埋我嘅恆心、毅力、鬥志、手腳協調能力、思考分析等,令我做其他事情有事半功倍的感覺。

Q: What have you lost?

A: As I spend most of my free time in dancing, I’ve sacrificed the chances to hang out with other friends and go shopping and dining.

問:有没有失去或犧牲了甚麽?

答:有,因大部分時間用來跳舞,犧牲了同其他朋友去食飯同行街嘅機會。

Q: Is it all worth it?

A: Sure, because dancing is what I like to do most!

問:一切都值得嗎?

答:值得,因為跳舞是我最喜歡的東西。

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

A: Well, I did dream to become a dancer, but when I was in secondary school, I realized that I didn’t have the right body to become one—I was not flexible enough, my legs were not straight enough, and I didn’t have a high arch. But I think that I might have other talents related to dancing, such as piano accompaniment or choreography.

問:曾經想過做專業芭蕾舞蹈員嗎?

答:其實都有夢想成爲芭蕾舞演員嘅,哈哈… 不過,中學時期放棄了這個想法,因為我自知唔夠鬆,腳唔夠直,又冇大腳背,唔係一個專業舞者應有嘅身型。但我會諗其實可能我係跳舞另一方面都會有才能,例如彈琴伴奏或者編舞。

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

A: As I won’t be a professional dancer, I only hope to be able to continue to dance happily with my dance buddies. I have once had the desire to choreograph a full-length ballet to be performed on stage. Perhaps this can be considered my ballet dream, ha ha!

問:作爲成人舞者,談談你的芭蕾夢想或目標好嗎?

答:因為我不是想做一個專業芭蕾舞蹈員,所以只希望繼續跳舞,與志同道合的朋友一齊開開心心地跳舞。但是,我曾有想過編排一套full-length嘅芭蕾舞劇係舞台上演出,可能這個都算係芭蕾夢想,哈哈!