The major reason for going to Singapore last July was to watch my niece, Kate Jimenez, perform and compete in the 10th Asia-Pacific Dance Competition, held at the NAFA 3 Lee Foundation Theater. And of course to meet up with my sister (her mom). Kate’s dance school, Shirley Halili-Cruz Ballet School in Quezon City, Philippines, has been a regular competitor and major winner, giving all the other schools from the region (those who also join) a run for their money. Thus competition is so stiff to the extent that parents and teachers are even more stressed than the dancers. We went there to watch and be entertained. But we didn’t really expect to sense the competitive spirit, but it was there, and strong. The Halili School garnered most of the awards and prizes, and came out the over-all winner, as in previous years. Congratulations to all of them for all their hard work.
Some other countries who joined were China, Thailand and of course, Singapore. A couple of schools each from China and Thailand joined. Majority of the schools are from Singapore. We enjoyed watching all the dances and the various forms of creativity expressed in the actions and steps. There were classical, modern, and retro styles, and the costumes were also very nice. There were solo dances, of which Thailand had a lot of entries. Most of the Thai dancers were already in their mid-teens. They also danced well.
The amazing ones were the group dances, and by the younger kids, especially the below 12 age group, where my niece belongs. She is 11. I could just imagine how hectic their schedules must be, as they balance their regular schooling with the grueling dance practices. But I guess it has some benefits such as learning discipline, order and organization at an early age. But to what extent? Ballet is an expensive hobby and talent, so to speak. I remember my sister and brother-in-law commenting before that with their daughter attending ballet classes, it seemed like they have an additional child based on the expenses.
It is well-known that only the rich families can afford it. No wonder some ballet dancers can be a pain, i.e. spoiled brats, as what we have also observed in some of the kids there. Uh-uh. But there are some middle class families who are working hard just to send their kids to ballet school. It depends on the parents and teachers to instill in their students’ minds to value the ability to dance and to enjoy the glamour that goes with it, and not to forget that success comes through working hard, really. I hope that all the dancers will continue to have this dedication, not only in ballet, but also in all other aspects of life, and in the profession they will eventually choose.