End of La Dame….

Tonight was the last show of La Dame aux Camélias. This series of 19 performances have actually been quite enjoyable.

Chun also had the honor to wear Manuel Legris‘ (Famous French Etoile dancer) costume for this production!

The rehearsals which started in August 2018 have been very stressful for Chun, as he had to face his weaknesses in partnering. He had been brave to go through it, having “硬著頭皮做” in his mindset to confront each challenge.

He was very nervous and worried that these 19 performances would be even worse than the rehearsals. But eventually things just work out with hard work and perseverance.

Very touched to have finished this period, during which Chun learned very much. Will be up again for airport bus in only a few hours, heading back to Hong Kong.

2019!

2018 had been a very important year for Chun. Full of ups and downs, challenges and emotion, he went though the most revealing and shocking moments imaginable. It made him learn so much, and grow.
It is a year to remember. Now he sees things very differently and has a new attitude towards his life.

To take a step back and look at the year 2018, he could appreciate how wonderful life had been. Happy New Year to you all!

 

Looking back on Chun’s 2018…..

– A very nice two-weeks stay in Hong Kong
– Preparation of Concours de Promotion in March 2018
– Understudying Daphnis and Chloe (Millepied) and Bolero (Bejart)
– Ankle injury, unable to participate in Concours
– Met new friends in Paris, had so much fun visiting around together, and nice talks.
– Came back in Die Grosse Fuge (Keersmaeker)
– Decided to do Varna International Ballet Competition in Summer, speedily started the preparation
– Understudying La Fille Mal Gardée (Ashton)
– Injury at the hip
– Varna Competition with the injury, surprisingly won a prize.
– Nice family trip in Paris
– New Season at Opera, started rehearsing La Dame and Robbin’s Glass Pieces
– Concours de Promotion in November
– Trip to Budapest (for visit)
– La Dame performances……….

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat / Egon Schiele @Fondation Louis Vuitton

I think Chun has never spent so much time in a single exhibition….


He arrived at 9am at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a beautiful building by the architect Frank Gehry, and at noon, he had lunch appointment, so he had to leave, but he would have stayed even longer!

This Basquiat/ Schiele exhibition was really interesting. The main focus was on the Africo-american artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, an impressive collection of his works was exposed in four levels at the Fondation LV, many of the works were said to be never exposed, owned by private collectors. While the Austrian artist Egon Schiele‘s works only exposed in one level.

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Chun spent more than 3 hours there. Carefully studied each artwork. He could appreciate Shiele’s aesthetic, beautiful and poetic work, while Basquiat’s is full of symbols, messages and stories behind, and often anger.

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Chun’s favorite by Basquiat
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Chun’s favourite by Schiele

To end his visit, he enjoyed a meal at Le Frank, the restaurant at the Fondation LV, before taking a nice “little train” to Porte Maillot to head home.

 

 

Concert in the Church of Madeleine~

The “La Dame aux Camélias” group of dancers is now on a short holiday of 5 days before finishing the last two performances of the series on 2nd and 3rd January.

Chun takes this occasion to finish his homework, and to enjoy the beautiful city of Paris before going back to Hong Kong on 4th January.

Yesterday evening, he joined his friend to a concert in the famous church of Madeleine. It was his first time in the Madeleine, and was very excited to listen to Maurice Ravel‘s Bolero and Beethoven‘s 9th symphony in this grand church.

The Hélios orchestra of Paris is an associative orchestra, founded in 2014 for graduated musicians to begin their career and guided by experienced musicians (according to Wikipedia).

It turned out that there were few mélomanes in the audience. Almost everyone was clapping in between the four movements of Beethoven‘s symphony, many were asleep during the entire concert (probably tourists tired from a whole day of visiting, shopping and sight-seeing?)

But I have to say that the acoustic was…. bad. A musician friend of Chun’s said that in Madeleine it has one of the worst acoustics in Paris. The associative orchestra did a great job, but the Paris Opera standard made his ears picky.

It was in any case a great experience to listen to masterpieces in such a beautiful place in the center of Paris! What a great way to start the 5-days break!

Pointe shoes training and sewing…

Pointes shoes, the ultimate symbol and cliché of classical ballet and reserved for female ballerinas, is often a fascinating technique and savoir-faire. Not only is the technique of going on pointe extremely painful and difficult, choosing the right pointe shoes, learning this technique correctly, and even preparing the pointe shoes in a way that’s appropriate to each dancer is highly important.

Indeed, each ballerina prepares her shoes a little differently, there’s no perfect way to do it, each dancer has to take years of experience to figure out what sewing methods/ how to “break” the shoes make her feet look the best. Fascinating isn’t it?

Even thought male dancers won’t ever go on pointe in a performance (there are exceptions, I think of the Trocadero ballet, and several roles like the stepmother in Nureyev’s Cinderella, in some contemporary pieces, and others), some of Chun’s teacher suggested that he learns a bit of the pointe work to help with his foot work and his jumps.

Doing some simple pointe work exercises seriously actually helped. However, one must be very careful. Some male dancers would go crazy with their pointe shoes on, having fun and doing all kinds of female steps, which could easily lead to injury, for we don’t have the proper strength in the ankles for the pointe work that the girls have.

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A colleague’s foot after a rehearsal.

Chun just bought another pair of pointe shoes recently, he has to learn to “break” them and to sew them properly, which is so much work too.

Respect to all the female dancers who have to keep doing this over and over again, using up to 4 pairs of pointe shoes in one Swan Lake performance!

 

Christmas!

On Christmas Eve, after a nice usual dinner at home, Chun peered out from the window….

In the building facing him, he could barely listen to some laughters, Christmas carols, and he could recognized nicely decorated tables ready for Christmas dinners, Christmas trees and people having a good time with their family.

Chun’s family in Hong Kong never really celebrated Christmas, although they used to set up a Christmas tree when Chun was small, he loved to play with the twinkling garlands.

His colleagues are so shocked to learn that he spent Christmas alone and had just a usual dinner… “You’ve never had that strange feeling when you’re sitting in a classroom for lessons at Mid Autumn Festival, or working like a normal day at Chinese New Year while receiving hundreds of “Kung Hay Fat Choi“s on WhatsApp, of course you are shocked”, Chun thought.

Writing this at the Opera after doing the Red Ball on 25th December. It’s not a big deal not to celebrating birthdays, Christmas or Chinese New Year, as long as you can find your own happiness.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Demonstrations Ecole de Danse (Paris Opera Ballet School)

Yesterday, Chun went to see the last demonstrations of the Paris Opera Ballet School. The demonstrations are more or less a showcase of the students’ work at the school.

What seemed so phenomenally important all those years ago seems so much less today….
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