A dancer with a 'Spanish soul'

A dancer with a 'Spanish soul'

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amina yam
Amina Yam says learning the Fandango was a challenge

This week's artist is Amina Yam Long-yan from St Paul's Secondary School who talks about the fandango, a Spanish folk dance.

'Dance till you drop' fully describes my way of pursuing the arts. Practice is tough and long, yet worth it.

When I was younger, the reason I started dancing was silly yet simple: I wanted to dress like a ballerina. The hair ribbons, tutus and pointe shoes really appealed to me. But as I grew up, I started to realise how much I enjoy expressing myself through dance movements.

I can project different feelings to the audience in the form of body movements. This is not an easy task, but I love it.

Last year, I was given the chance to perform as a soloist in the fandango in Don Quixote act II. The piece was not the classical ballet I usually do, so I was especially nervous about it.

Fandango is a folk dance from Spain. It is a kind of flamenco which requires sharp head movements, quick footwork and exaggerated shoulder movements.

It was a real challenge for me. When I started to learn the steps, my whole body was out of control. My head, arms, shoulders and feet would not co-operate. The steps were especially difficult to follow with the fast beat.

I was under great pressure as I was dancing with a former student of my ballet school who was already a professional dancer. I was so frustrated I really wanted to give up. But my teacher's words inspired me. She said: 'It's a great chance for you, even though it's tough.'

Pursuing my interests in the arts was much harder than I expected. But I was determined to treasure the opportunity. I started to do research on the piece to understand the background of the dance. After that, I watched videos of different dancers doing the same piece and observed how they performed the steps in their own way.

I started to understand how to do the steps, Spanish style. Most importantly, I now firmly believe that nothing can replace hard work because practice makes perfect.

I paid close attention in every rehearsal, practising for a few hours after each session, and asked various people for their opinions. This was the first time I understood the true meaning of 'dance till you drop'. I gradually understood how to do Spanish-style dancing in a lively, passionate way, bringing out its rich diversity. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it so much I couldn't stop!

After three weeks of intensive training, our piece was finally performed on stage. I enjoyed every moment on stage and danced with a Spanish soul. That was a truly memorable experience which persuaded me to continue to strive to be a dancer.

The Arts Ambassadors-in-School Scheme is organised by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

It encourages students to take their passion for the arts beyond campuses and into the wider community. The ambassadors will take part in a series of arts programmes during the school holidays.

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Arts Ambasadors-in-school
Learn more about the Arts Ambassadors-in-School Scheme here

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