Two young talents who won the first Hong Kong Young Ballet Stars Award are determined to become world-class dancers. The two Japanese dancers beat 31 outstanding participants to become champions in the senior boys and senior girls categories. Contestants had the rare chance of dancing solo in front of an audience. The award, organised by the Hong Kong Ballet Group, aims to motivate budding dancers to improve their skills and develop their creativity. The winners will attend a training workshop this summer to enhance their ballet skills. 'I am overjoyed. I didn't think I would win because my performance was not that special compared with the other contestants,' Keiko Hara said. The 20-year-old student, who teaches kindergarten pupils at a ballet school, said the contest had boosted her confidence to take up dancing again. Ms Hara had suffered a leg injury and stopped practising ballet for about a year until January. 'Dancing is my life and I can't live without it,' the ballerina, who developed a love for dance at an early age, said. She performed a piece from Esmiralda with a drum to portray passionate feelings. 'It was difficult as I have never seen the piece performed before. I used my imagination while listening to the music,' she said. Ms Hara started to learn dancing at the age of five with a Japanese teacher in Hong Kong. 'Hong Kong is a small place and there is not much space to play and have fun. My mother suggested that I learn ballet,' she said. What started as a game to relieve stress from schoolwork turned into a strong passion. Ms Hara studied with seven teachers in Hong Kong and two in Britain, including internationally ac claimed ballet dancers Joan Campbell and Tomoko Ukishima. A Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA) scholarship and a distinction in Grade Six Examinations of the Royal Academy of Dancing proved her talents in ballet. She then went to the English National Ballet School in Britain where she had the rare chance to perform for the late Princess Diana at an open day. 'Dancing is like acting without the words, you have to depend on body gestures, dance steps and facial expressions,' the ballerina said. Fifteen-year-old Fuzuki Nakajima started dancing under his grandfather's tuition at the age of three. He inherited artistic talents from his mother, a choreographer, and his father, a painter. Fuzuki said as a young boy, he hated dancing because his friends would make fun of him. He gradually became very fond of dancing and mastered difficult routines. 'My techniques have improved a lot and I have overcome many obstacles,' said the budding dancer, who came to Hong Kong last summer. He chose a difficult piece by world-class ballet dancer and choreographer Yuri Ng. 'I enjoyed the applause from the audience and it motivated me to dance better,' he said. Fuzuki is studying at the APA on a scholarship. He attributed his success to his grandfather, who is his role model.