Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Macau’s oldest ballet school celebrates a birthday

Posted by Kimberly on June 22, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
June 22, 2007, page 5 (571 words)

When Shanghai-born Hong Peng Wa first came to Macau in the 1980s there was no ballet school.
“I thought why did Macau have no culture? So I opened this school to teach children to dance,” she said.
Twenty five years later, the Hong Peng Wa Ballet School is celebrating its Jubilee year and wants the public to be a part of it.
The free workshop will be held this Sunday to allow the curious to gain an idea of the classical dance and will be conducted between 2.30-4.30 pm.
The workshop will introduce the origins of ballet and give a brief history of the Hong Peng Wa school.
An examination from the Royal Academy of Dance will also be conducted, while the advantages of ballet are set out followed by a demonstration.
People from ages three to 93 are welcome and are required to bring their own attire.
The school has the honour of being Macau’s oldest ballet school and the only one to have received recognition from the Examination Board of the Royal Academy of Dance.
“This is the only ballet school. Perhaps there are other art schools that have different types of dance,” said Erica Cheong, a twenty-four-year-old who has been a student at the school since the age of three and now teaches there.
Hong Peng Wa graduated from the Beijing Dance Institute in the early 1960s before moving on to become a dance master of the National Ballet of China.
Encouraged by her aunt, she took up the dance at the age of four.
Incidentally, her aunt Hu Rong Rong was the former Director of the Shanghai Ballet School and also the first Chinese to take the initiative in organising a private ballet school in China.
From a space of 700 square feet to the current size of 3,500 square feet, the school has had several locations including its current one at NAPE. The growth is also reflected from the initial one class to the current twelve, from seven students to over 200.
During the past quarter century, the school has taught a total of more than 4,000 students.
Using both a mixture of the Royal Academy of Dance and the Russian curriculum, the school aims to foster interest, cultivate self confidence and enable students to learn the techniques of body co-ordination, perfect posture and noble sentiment.
“For students in the class they can build relationships with their friends,” said Miss Cheong.
While specifically geared towards children and teenagers, adults are most welcome.
They can expect to face difficulties if wanting to begin ballet at such a late stage, but this should not deter the determined.
“It’s quite difficult because ballet is not easy. They must work hard but if they practise more they can get better.
“Many adults are now here wanting to learn ballet because when they were young maybe they could not practise,” said Miss Cheong adding that, “for the adults we don’t emphasise on the techniques.
“It’s just for the interest or if they want to exercise their body. For the students we teach them the techniques, like the position of the arms.”
While it is a requirement that those wishing to attend the workshop have a ticket, this is not strict.
“If you’re interested but have no ticket you can still come,” said Miss Cheong.
Interested participants can obtain a ticket on a first-come-first-served basis by contacting the school.

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5 Responses to “Macau’s oldest ballet school celebrates a birthday”

  1. june machin said

    hi.
    can you tell me the address of the ballet school in macau.
    thank you
    kind regards
    june

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