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Saturday
Sep292012

For my 2012 Advanced Students

I attended the Advanced introductory course many, many, many, many (is that plenty enough of many?) years ago. That was what Advanced 2 was called then. Back then it was simple, Pre-Elementary, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. These days, there’s Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2. It just confuses the parents.

It was during my pregnancy with Alison and therefore, I was rather immobile during the course. If I am not mistaken, it was quite early on in my pregnancy and with no bulge showing, I irked the tutor by refusing to dance but the safety of my unborn child was more important to me because my first trimester have always been very precarious.

But it was years and years and years (that should be plenty enough) before I was able to put it good use. Somehow, for those ‘dry’ years, my students all seemed to be done with ballet before getting to that level; for various reasons like furthering studies abroad or other commitments. And I had to attend a refresher course before I taught it again, to remind myself it was ‘this’ and not ‘that’.

But since then, I have had Advanced 2s every year. This year, in particular, I have had 9 Advanced 2 and 6 Advanced 1 under my care going for their Vocational Examinations. This, of course, does not include those whom are not taking their examinations for 2012.

Nonetheless, stress is an understatement. I spend much of my free time (whatever that’s left) thinking of strategies and ways to get my feedback across. The rest of the time, I was probably stuck in jams trying to get to them for classes.

It had been a challenge but one which I gladly embarked on. Teaching is like a game of tennis (although I do not play). One meets the serve of the opponent with an equal or a more dynamic return – again, this is what I perceive tennis to be, since I don’t play. If my opponent (aka my student) serves with a lack-a-daisy hit, I will probably lose my momentum and enthusiasm to return that serve with aplomb. But these students of mine hit me back with forces that can power a jet plane! How can I not make my way through those horrifying Klang town jams to get to the other end of Klang to teach Yuen Han, Camilyn and Men Fei every Wednesday? They work so hard, even when Adeline (their usual teacher) almost always empties their energy tank on Tuesdays.

Over in the Setia Alam school, these girls battle traffic too to get there. They come from the other side of Klang as well. They were even willing to change their schedule to meet mine when classes increased. I wished I had more time with them.

Then there’s my own bunch in DanceArt. I have had many batches of senior students passing through. Each one of them is unique and special, both in their batches and as individuals. Yen Nee shall be attempting her Advanced 1 in 10 days’ time. It is not easy being the only one in her class to take the exam. It meant many, many hours of practice and class on a 1 to 1 basis and it can be quite daunting. Over in Advanced 2 I have Celine who juggles studies, work, and ballet. She’s like a little Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going and going, keeps trying and trying and trying. I have Jean who excels in everything except entrechat six. But when she executed one a few weeks back, the entire class broke out in a thunderous applause. Such is my ‘family’ of students, their care and concern for each other is remarkable. Then I have Hwan Haw who comes to me for extra classes to ensure he gets through his Advance 2 in one year. He works so tremendously hard. He even memorized the entire syllabus very early on in the year. My last but not least in my group is Wei Cheng. His progress can be described as leaps and bounds. At times when I think, no, he can’t, he will surprise me with a ‘GASP! He CAN moment’. Therefore, these days, I just step back and wait to be surprised.

There are so many others whom I should mention but this is a blog post about my examination students and therefore, the others shall be mentioned but not right now.

Many others in the other centres which I have been teaching have already finished their examinations. For those in DanceArt, the culmination begins this week.

You all ran a good race. You are now running round the stadium doing your victory lap. The finishing line is just ahead. Hang in there, the moment to sprint is very soon. Once it comes, you shall soar and I shall be left behind like a speck on the ground. I shall see you soar and proudly say to myself, “This is a magnificent eagle whom I have helped spread its wings.

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