House of rising stars

House of rising stars

HK winner tells us about The House of Dancing Water summer camp


Anson Yeung enjoyed learning how to apply her stage make-up.
Anson Yeung enjoyed learning how to apply her stage make-up.
Photos: Derek Lee
With the deadline looming, 18-year-old Form Six student Anson Yeung Cho-yu rounded up friends to "Like" her application video for The House of Dancing Water adventure summer camp on Facebook. Her last- minute efforts secured her a place to represent Hong Kong, making her the youngest winner of the contest.

The week-long camp was held from July 31 to August 6, to celebrate the third anniversary of the water show at City of Dreams, Macau. It offered six candidates - "passionate people who ... felt that the sky was the limit" - the chance to soar.

To enter the competition, fans from Greater China (the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) were invited to upload their application videos on social media platforms Sina Weibo and Facebook, and then get as many people as possible to vote for them. Applicants had to be 18 years old or above, speak fluent Putonghua and English, be able to swim a minimum of 20 metres, and not be acrophobic (irrationally scared of heights).

The summer camp was launched with a high-voltage opening ceremony on July 31, featuring the "King of Dancing Water" himself, Aaron Kwok, who made a dramatic entrance onstage with a motorcycle. The contest winners were presented, and the next day it was down to business.

The six winners were put through their paces during the camp. Under the guidance of an outstanding international production team, they learned and experienced the highlights of this spectacular production, including flying, high-performance diving and moto bungee (bungee jumping on a motorcycle).

Anson says there were many challenges at the camp, both individually and as a team. Lucky enough to have a swan-like neck on a lithe, dancer's body, she credits her grace and stamina to years of jazz and Latin dance training, as well as avoiding smoking and drinking. But she readily admits that she had to face down some hair-raising thoughts as she mentally prepared to fly 17 metres in the air.

"My family has always stood by me and supported my academic and extra-curricular activities, so I had the courage to attempt the spine-tingling performance," says Anson. Her courage came in handy when she had to do the crash course in scuba diving that was necessary for the performance.

"The performers can easily end up spending up to six hours a day in the world's largest commercial pool, so it is heated to provide more comfort," she says. Next to all that, walking on stilts while manoeuvring as part of a giraffe seemed easy.

Anson also had to quickly master the hand signals needed to communicate with the production team. All of that water means no radios or headphones, so performers use their hands to show they are ready to perform a trick.

When she wasn't at dizzying heights or underwater, Anson had the chance to explore behind the scenes of other House of Dancing Water departments, such as the wardrobe and make-up sections.

"All the costumes are especially designed to withstand the demands of the show, and not be too heavy or slippery when wet," says Anson.

She adds that one of her favourite sessions was learning how to apply the stage make-up, which required a special technique so that it stayed on properly. A make-up artist demonstrated this on one side of Anson's face, and left her to finish the other half. But it was not all work and no play. The winning team stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, Macau, and partied together in their free time.

On the final day, the participants had the chance to change into their favourite character from the show, and a certificate of recognition was presented to each of them.

While coy when asked if she had any dreams of performing in the future, Anson says she felt the experience helped her learn that she should dream without limits and set her goals high.

To see Anson in action during her rehearsals.

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