~I've decided to tell my dance story...as an inspiration to other dancers and dancer-to-bes. Enjoy!~
I first started dancing at the age of 5...and took my first Primary RAD exam at 7. Unfortunately, my parents stopped my classes when we shifted to a new town that did not offer ballet classes. When a Yamaha School was set up there a few years later, I dragged my mother to the school to let me sign up for classes. I was so upset when I found out they didn't have classes "for my age and grade at the moment". On the other hand, I guess my parents were quite relieved as my piano lessons were already eating into their pockets.
I continued on with life of course =P...but still looking with envy at other girls dressed in pink leotard and skirts on their way to ballet lessons. My passion still burned in me...and grew as I read ballet story books at the Tampines Regional Library. When I finished reading all the ballet books available, I had to switch libraries...
Just when I thought I could find no more ballet books to read, I chanced upon an RAD guidebook for Pre-primary to Grade 5. Using my window sill as a barre while I carefully copied the pictures in the book which I placed on a music stand, I began my self-taught ballet at the age of 13. Soon I found that I wasn't able to understand the steps on my own. What made me decide I had to find a teacher was this step called "glissades". It was mind-boggling...the pictures only showed poses of the movement...but nothing between the poses. (yeah, I didn't have internet at that time for me to click on "glissades" and watch a real dancer execute the step)
I started calling up dance schools in the yellow pages...I was going nuts...I just had to dance! The rates they quoted to me were all for adult beginners...which were too expensive for someone like me with an $18/week allowance. I finally found my beloved teacher, Mrs Lim Soo Chern through a church friend. I was 15. Mrs Lim allowed me to stomp around her studio with the rest of her Grade 6 students...letting me find my way. My fellow classmates were extremely helpful, agreeing to come down earlier every week to coach me just before lessons.
2 yrs later, I took my Intermediate Foundation (RAD Vocational Exams)...with a sprained ankle. Yeah I was seriously depressed and freaked out about my ankle. But things turned out okay. The next few years I took Grades 6-8, achieving perfect scores for Grades 6 & 7. My Grade 6 was done with my still-recovering ankle, and Grade 7 was done with a fresh sprain on the other leg. Grade 8 was done with stress fractures on both legs from the knees down to the feet. I found out that I had very lax ligaments...so that in addition to my late and accelerated training caused all my injuries.
I finally did my latest examination in 2005 (Intermediate RAD) with a pinched nerve in my foot which didn't allow me to dance for the crucial last 2wks before the exams. So far, I have danced with SDT in the role of snowflakes in The Nutcracker in Dec 2005 (with the pinched nerve and a sprained toe) as well as "dance of the hours" in Coppelia March 2007 (for once no injury!). I'm glad that my passion has driven me to survive such "ordeals".
My dream has been to teach late beginners or late "restarters" like myself..just like the way my teacher patiently groomed me to what I have become. I have also found great importance in conditioning exercises that have helped me strengthen and tone my muscles to make up for my lax ligaments, and stretching exercises to soothe and lengthen tired muscles to reduce overuse injury. This is the impetus for my Stretch & Strengthen classes.
I hope my story has inspired you! Do email me with your own stories which I would gladly post here =P
Keep on dancing and live your dreams!