Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 7 July 2015)
ON the surface, ballet and Bharatanatyam (a classical Indian dance) may share nothing in common but to Kimberly Yap Choy Hoong, her foundation in the former is very much responsible for her passion in the other. As a matter of fact, Yap's lifelong affair with dancing began with a case of love at first sight.
"My mum brought me to watch my first ballet show in Istana Budaya when I was four or five years old. I can't remember which ballet it was but it inspired me to take up ballet and I've been doing it up until now. That was how I discovered my love for dancing," shared the 24-year-old.
Despite completing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA) only recently, Yap has already been signed as Senior Apprentice with the ASWARA Dance Company, where she would officially kickstart her career.
And although she is a Bharatanatyam major, the soft-spoken ballerina has mastered different genres including traditional Malay folk, classical Malay, Chinese, Iban and contemporary dances in the three years of her diploma programme.
"People commonly tell me things like, you're a dancer and you won't earn that much. But that doesn't matter to me. It's more of doing what I love and being happy. If you have the love and passion for dancing, go for it. Don't think twice!" said Yap.
What do you love about dancing?
Dancing helps me express things that I can't. I'm not good with words so being able to communicate through dancing gives me a fun, exciting feeling.
Why did you choose to major in Bharatanatyam?
I'm more of a technical dancer – I like techniques; I'm all about the lines, extension, angles and how the body should look like. Bharatanatyam is similar to classical ballet in the way that it uses a lot of lines and angles so I grew fond of it and eventually fell in love with it.
Why do you think your parents are so supportive of your career in dancing?
I guess because both my parents love being involved in arts. My dad used to play the guitar for his band when he was younger and my mum loves drawing, painting and arranging flowers. Initially my mum was a bit taken aback when I said I wanted to pursue dancing as a career but when she saw me strive towards it with focus – I joined the cheerleading team and traditional dance society in secondary school – she saw how much I loved it and wanted to be in that field.
What kind of challenges did you face as a dance student?
I struggled in my first two years as a diploma student. The schedule was really intense; I would have eight hours of classes every day and from 6pm to 10pm, I would either attend elective classes such as basic acting or vocal lessons, or practise on my own. Self-rehearsals are required because you can't go into the next class not knowing what you're supposed to do so you really need to practise in front of the mirror to know your posture, movements, expressions, how it's supposed to look and feel like. These elements don't come in one or two hours – it's a gradual process.
Do you have a fitness regimen or diet you adhere to, to stay fit?
I do a lot of abdominal workout because your core has to be strong. I'm blessed with a high metabolism rate so I get to eat a lot without feeling guilty. I'm not a breakfast person so I usually take a protein shake in the morning, rice with vegetables and chicken for lunch, and I pig out during dinner. I keep snacks such as oat crunch biscuits or cereal bars in my bag too for an easy and quick refill.
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