Readers with sisters know that they can be both the best friend you will ever have, as well as your worst enemy. If you ask Joyce Kei, she will tell you her older sister, Crystal, is the former.
The Kei sisters are dancers. Earlier this year, they took part – and won awards – in the Dance World Cup-Asian Cup 2018. Joyce, 12, took home the Gold Award in the Children Solo Modern category, while Crystal, 17, won the Silver Award in the Junior Solo Jazz category.
Their triumphs in March mean they will be heading to the Dance World Cup finals being held in Spain June 22-July 1, where 5,500 dance prodigies from around the world will show off their skills and talents.
Young Post caught up with the Renaissance College students to learn about their love for dance, their sibling bond, and their plans for the finals and beyond.
Crystal said that she has loved the power and the vivid expressiveness of jazz since she was 10.
“[In] jazz, there is a big emphasis on moving really firmly and strongly, and using a lot of facial expressions,” she said, adding that she loves the freedom to “break rules and be creative” that contemporary dance allows her.
Joyce is much the same. The younger sister said she loves being able to express her emotions through movement, and credits her sister with introducing her to the art form.
“I’m mostly inspired by Crystal … and [the] things she shows me,” the talented modern dancer said, adding that she has from an early age loved to watch her older sister dance. Now that she is older, they often exchange dance ideas, choreograph them together for fun, and give each other recommendations when they come across gifted dancers on social media.
When asked about their winning performances in the Dance World Cup-Asian Cup 2018, Crystal said she did a dance to Beyoncé’s Run the World.
“I chose that song because it’s really empowering, with a feminist message,” she said, adding that she relates to the song on a personal level. “It was a song where I could build dramatic tension and express myself really strongly.”
Joyce’s winning performance, where she focused on matching her movements to the rhythm, mood, and tones of the song, was danced to Adele’s Hello. In Spain, she plans to tell a story to This is Me from the 2017 hit musical film, The Greatest Showman.
“My idea is to portray a character that is bullied, really shy, and scared of what other people think [of her]. But as the song progresses, this character gets more confident, and by the end is not [afraid] to be who they are,” she said. Crystal, on the other hand, plans to perform a variation of her dance to Run the World.
“I didn’t have that much time [to choreograph my dance in the Asian Cup] because of school work … Now I have time to think it over and improve it.”
Crystal said she is rehearsing every day after school to refine her moves. All that practice can be stressful, even if you’re not particularly worried about the outcome. But when asked if they felt nervous about the upcoming finals, both sisters had very positive outlooks. Winning the Asian Cup was a wonderful surprise, they said, but that doesn’t mean they expect the same in Spain.
“I’m going to see this as an experience, and I’m not going to focus much on winning,” said Joyce. “I just want to do the dance well and try my best.”
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Crystal said she will give the dance her all and see what results she will get. She added that they’re lucky not to have a typical “stage mum” – their mother offers them only encouragement and support, never pressure.
“She never pushes us to win. That’s why we don’t [get] stage fright or anything,” Joyce said.
“More traditional families think that dancing is not something you [should] pursue or spend your time doing, especially when you’re older, “ Crystal said.
“But I think our mum understands that this is something that [we] really like to do, and she will support [us].”