Dancers set free to jazz it up

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 June, 2006, 12:00am

A group of Young Post readers took part in the exclusive dance workshop organised by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance last Saturday. Hundreds of our readers applied, but places were limited and only 35 were selected.

The lucky team of 13- to 18-year-olds attended a two-hour dance class at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA).

The introductory workshop consisted of an hour of modern dance coached by the APA's senior lecturer John Utans, followed by an hour of jazz by APA's artist-in-residence, Keith Hawley.

The modern dance class started with basic warm-up and breathing exercises to relax and focus the participants. The steps then became bigger and more flowing. The class stressed a sense of freedom.

The jazz class was more athletic and aimed to let students enjoy their own musicality.

Some workshop participants were dance novices, while others had been attending dance classes for years.

Zaneta Cheng, 15, from the German Swiss International School (GSIS), said she enjoyed the workshop because it was a new experience to dance with so many people in a class.

The aspiring dancer said she started ballet lessons when she was three, after her mother took her to watch a dance by the Boston Ballet Company.

'Ballet is so elegant and it looked effortless when I first saw it. I wanted to learn to go on pointe and I practised at home when I was a kid,' Zaneta said.

She has also attended jazz and modern dance classes. She said dance has become part of her life, and although sometimes it is 'annoying and difficult', she always enjoys it in the end.

'It's good for self expression, especially when you don't want to tell things to people but you want them to know how you feel,' she said.

Fifteen-year-old Alicia Mou from Island School attended ballet classes for several years, but stopped two years ago. Her favourite types of dance are jazz, modern and Indian. She said the workshop inspired her to pick up her favourite hobby again. 'It's just like playing piano,' she said.

'You express yourself with music, but, with dance, it's through using your whole body,' she said.

'Dancing is fun but very tiring. Even when you do a wrong step, it's still fun because everybody laughs at you.'

Emma Caviezel, 14, also from GSIS, has practised dance since she was four. She now attends ballet, tap and modern/jazz classes every week. 'Dance is fun. But it's also more than that. It's hard to explain but I love doing it,' she said.

Elicia Mirandilla and Stephanie Legaspi, both 13-year-olds from Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College, are performing arts enthusiasts. They attended the auditions for Fame and Disco Inferno, which were arranged by the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation in the past.

Elicia said the dance workshop was a good chance for her to learn more and be more optimistic. 'I'd like to be a dancer when I grow up, so I want to make use of as many opportunities as I can now' she said.

Stephanie said: 'Dance exposes your emotions and feelings to people. It's also a fun way of exercising. It's not like running around in a gym.'