A beautiful ballerina

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A beautiful ballerina

AS GRACEFUL as a swan, Malaysian-born Mandy Kwan dances like a dream. Her movements are enchantingly beautiful. Aside from ballet, she is able to adapt to many different dance styles, including lyrical, classical and contemporary.

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“I love that ballet is very challenging and demanding, while being so expressive and full of artistry. It is an art and a sport. Dancers are athletes, too,” the 15-year-old said.

Kwan would still love to learn more about her craft, despite already achieving milestones that any young ballerina would be proud of.

She was selected as a finalist in the prestigious 2019 Youth America Grand Prix New York, and accepted into the John Cranko Ballet School.

She successfully reached the top 12 in the 2019 Asian Grand Prix International Ballet Competition Finals in Hong Kong, which took place in 2018, and was subsequently accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance and Queensland Ballet Academy.

She has won first place in both local and international competitions, including the Star of Canaan Dance International Ballet Competition in 2018, and received a scholarship to the Elmhurst Ballet School (UK) and the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (USA), Summer Programme.

Kwan also performs modern dance, which can be viewed on her Instagram (@mmykwan).

The ballet world is no bed of roses. Years of sacrifice and unending practice, facing criticism, and even enduring physical pain on the feet is no guarantee of success. However, Kwan dances on, courageously.

What inspired you to become a ballet dancer?

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“I believe that it was because of how much performing ballet enlightened me. I truly enjoyed the time spent on stage, and I hope to inspire others just like professional ballerinas do.”

What is your most memorable moment?

“I believe that it was during The Dance Society competition held in Malaysia. It is not the scale of the competition that matters to me usually, but the journey there instead.

“In that competition, I put in so much effort. I had self-practiced almost every day after school, and hoped to show my best to my teachers. I felt pressured to push myself so much, and told myself that I could do well.

“At last, the competition came, and my hard work paid off. I had a feeling that I was the one who worked the hardest and stressed the most about the competition, among all the participants.

“I am really grateful for that first place win, and every single one I got after that. It was my first win, and it was the most memorable one. I thank my teachers who didn’t give up on me, and myself, for never quitting on me.”

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What challenges do you face as a ballet dancer?

“The pressure and judgmental attitude in the ballet world can really get to me sometimes. I must be the best at all times or else people would talk, and I would get so self-conscious.

“Body image is one of the problems, too. I had to learn how to not hate my body and its build or structure, because that is something none of us can change.

“The most haunting moment is when others are not able to see any improvement or change (in my performance). That does really affect me, because it makes me feel as though all the effort I put in is wasted.

“However, I soon learnt that some days are just bad, and some days are better. We should all focus on the bright side and never give in to doubt and fear.”

What advice would you like to share with other aspiring dancers?

“Do not give up, and do not give in to your negative thoughts. I know that everyone else is going through the same thing and everything will turn out just as it should be.”

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Apart from ballet, what are your other passions in life?

“I really enjoy volleyball games, and I won state level matches in 2018. I also really love running, or just taking a walk outside.

“I cycle frequently and swim when I can. I hike with my parents and we love visiting waterfalls where we jump off rocks and feel the thrills!”

What is your future plan?

“I don’t have a clear plan I see for myself, but I really wish that I would just be as grateful and as happy as I can be. I want to enjoy what I am doing and hopefully, I will be able to explore many other professions, too.”

TRIVIA
Favourite ballet dancer:

Marianela Nunez.

Favourite performance: Giselle.

Favourite musician: Hua Chen Yu.

Favourite film: Maleficent.

Favourite book: They both die in the end by Adam Silvera.

Originally published here Entertainment & Lifestyle

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