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.
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.
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.
Q: When did you start taking ballet class as an adult?
A: In 2007, when I was 32.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Q: What have you lost?
A: I haven’t really lost anything.
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.
Q: Is it all worth it?
A: Yes, of course.
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.
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.