The pitter-patter of toe shoes
Compiled by Barry C Chung
As part of an outreach programme to promote ballet in the city, Young Post teamed up with Hong Kong Ballet to hold a workshop for our readers. The 10 lucky participants had different levels of dancing skills and experience. But they all left with a renewed love of ballet and its technical challenges.
The one-hour session taught them about teamwork and creativity - and, best of all, was a great way to spend an afternoon. They worked in groups to choreograph and perform a short dance routine. Here the participants share their experiences.
Kelly Wong Yuen-ling, 15, (left) & Cherry Wong Nok-yiu, 13
I was very excited about this workshop. I had never learned dance before, so I was a little nervous, too. When I tried to do the steps, I wasn't confident enough to do them properly, and I was a bit stiff. But I knew I could overcome that challenge.
I was also surprised to learn how different ballet warm-up exercises are from what we do in PE.
After the warm-up, we watched the video of The Sleeping Beauty. The teachers asked us some questions about ballet and the show we had just seen. Although we could not answer all the questions, I learned more about the art of ballet.
The most unforgettable part was the group performance at the end. During the seven minutes of discussion, our group had failed to decide what we wanted to do, so our first performance was a bit weak. With the help of the two instructors, we improved the second time.
The workshop taught me a lot about ballet and the importance of co-operation.
Natalie Lam Pik-ki, 18, (left) and Yvonne Leung Yin-fong, 15
In ballet, there is no narrator and no dialogue. Dancers tell stories and express emotions through body movements. Our instructors demonstrated how to do it by showing us photos and videos from a performance of Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet.
Based on what we learned, we created our own steps. My group reinterpreted Little Red Riding Hood. In our version, Red meets not one, but three, wolves. But instead of scaring her, they all play together.
I've wanted to watch The Sleeping Beauty for a long time. I am lucky to have taken part in the workshop. Not only did I gain more insight into ballet as an art form, I also discovered my own potential.
I realised co-operation was important if we wanted to move in time with each other. I learned to appreciate the challenges of being a dancer.
Emily Do Ka-yui, 14, (left) and Melody Yip Chung-yin, 14
The workshop was great. Instructors from Hong Kong Ballet asked us to introduce ourselves by performing a dance move!
They played a segment from the famous ballet The Sleeping Beauty by Russian composer Tchaikovsky. We then formed groups and choreographed a dance. We could choose either fast or slow music. We chose the slow-tempo solo of the Lilac Fairy from the ballet.
We all made new friends and learned to work together. The workshop was a meaningful and wonderful experience.
Tse Tsoi-an, 14, (left) and Jenny Kwong, 14
We entered a huge dancing room to meet the two instructors. They greeted us with big smiles, then we all introduced ourselves.
We gathered into a circle and the magical music started to play. We ran around, rolled on the floor and crawled like monkeys.
Then we watched a video clip of the opening of The Sleeping Beauty. The dancers were so elegant. We couldn't take our eyes off the screen.
Working in groups, we then had to choose between two different styles of music from the ballet. I chose the faster version and worked with my group mates to create a dance sequence of our own. This was the best part.
When we left, we had smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.
Frances Ip Chi-shun, 15, (left) and Sharon Tse Sin-lan, 14
Before the workshop, I wondered if the tutors would be strict. But I soon found out that they were nice and easy-going. I also made some new friends, and we laughed together as we planned our dance steps.
It was a very meaningful day. The warm-up was a lot of fun. They gave me new ideas for my own dance
After we watched the overture of The Sleeping Beauty, Hong Kong Ballet instructors explained the story and showed us some photos of ballet movements. We all tried to imitate their movements. Then we worked in groups to work out steps based on the ballet music.
The best part: we got free tickets to the Hong Kong Ballet performance!