13 June 2013
Who am I?
A Dancer & Life Enthusiast
Why am I writing this?
Many family and friends have quietly written to me over the years when they are in a dilemma or at a crossroads in their lives. The question is always how did I do it? Do what? I hear all of you say. I will explain. Coincidentally, recently I was asked a lot of questions when I applied to do a fundraising dance project via an online website. Thank you for asking the questions.
When Boon, my old college friend asked me how has Dance helped me overcome life’s hurdles, my answer is how has it not?
My Dance journey had not always been all flowery, pretty, easy or smooth like you would imagine a princess dancing all the way happily in la la land.
You see, for my immediate family and close friends that know me, I went through a depression period after I returned to Malaysia upon graduation not knowing what to do with my life supposedly doing the ‘natural’ thing which is to enter the office workforce like society expects you to. I ended up working 16 hours a day 7 days a week with low pay in reputable organizations for a few years to the point of destruction. Without realizing what was wrong with my life, my body, my speech and my mind started to deteriorate to the point of stuttering in my speech, chopping off my hair, completely disorientated with no control over myself or my life eventually ending up in 3 breakdowns. I was so deep in the grave, I did not know if I could crawl back up until one day you reach a point… you snap. I woke up. And I will never turn back again. EVER. God gave me a second chance at life. And I should be so lucky to share this story and what I do with the rest of it in this world until no one wants me to anymore. I have to thank my Dad and my sister and my Mom that later understood and now supports my Dance. My mom naturally worries about financial stability. I have none.
Let’s go back to how it all started. According to my parents and my aunt, I never walked when I was little, instead I would hop and skip always moving never stagnant but calm and peaceful as a baby. I would create steps with my feet tapping heels and toes, imitating dance moves on TV, arms swirling in the living room. I was constantly surrounded by a wide genre of music from pop to opera, classical to modern, traditional to contemporary whether in the car, no matter how short the journey or at home thanks to my ‘mad about music and the arts’ Dad. My mom was more quiet about her artistic abilities. My grandfather would give my sister and I very thick Ballet books when we were kids. I got the opportunity to study at the Yamaha School of Music at the age of 3 first before dance came. Then at the age of 5 came the first Ballet and piano lessons. I got an Honours award in Ballet Grade 5. I didn’t think much of it. After finishing my Ballet at the Federal Academy of Ballet PJ as all girls do, I emersed myself in musicals, plays and theatre while studying my degree in Art and Design in London under partial scholarship. I had also been offered a job in my second year Degree. But I didn’t pursue that crazily. I decided to pursue Latin and Ballroom dancing, competing in London winning bronze and silver medals. All influenced by my Australian cousins who themselves were Ballroom and Latin champions in Australia from a very young age. I would beg my grandfather for their video tapes after my uncle sent them across via the post. After the ‘dark ages’, reworking my Body to Dance again with only once a week class I finally found the Dance I would eventually end up doing for the next 10 years and hopefully for the years to come bringing me to perform in Europe, United States, India, Australia, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Like many other Odissi dancers, I too fell in love with this unique art. The only difference I can say about my Odissi/Dance is I put who I am into the Dance. I rarely dance the same way twice.
As they say, “when you dance, you bear your soul for all to see.”
Dance is discovery, discovery, discovery – Martha Graham
So how did I do it? And why did I do it?
I had no choice!
It was what people call it…your calling.
I was trying to find my way to dance and to get out of my own personal entrapment. I knew that I was going down the wrong path and on the brink of total self-destruction and then I broke down 3 times and I snapped. God made me go over the edge in order to wake-up. I did not do it out of randomness as people think and see. I was struggling quietly within myself to find a way out TO Dance. That was always the goal. I got trapped in what I hated most – conformity, society and conventionality. NOTHING of what I am. I was always different even as a child and it all made sense why I was always on my own or different and always had very few close friends. I am not the norm if you would put it that way. I still am not. And most people that know me may not totally understand me. But most do definitely think I am quirky and bubbly.
So it goes back to my above question. You MUST only do something because you NEED to do it not because of random moods and decisions. You have one life only. Live to be happy everyday with a POSITIVE PURPOSE. Why was I born?
2013 was the start of myself as an independent dancer pursuing to do my solo performance initiated by Ramli Ibrahim in 2012 which never happened due to much politics and financial impossibilities for fees so I did it on my own and have been creating my own performances ever since. I have gone on to perform as a soloist and on a creative personal level collaborated with dancers, artists and theatre practitioners from all walks of life.
I grew up with Dance, I grow old with my first Love – Dance.