Serene Seah teaches all of our ballet classes here at UWCSEA East. She has been with us for many years and always looks for ways to improve our ballet programme. Read her interview below, conducted by Jessica Pigram and Jilyn Seah, Activities Department, East Campus.
How long have you been involved in your sport/activity?
I have been doing ballet since I was seven years old and went on to complete my dance diploma at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts with a Major in ballet. I would say I have been involved with dance for 22 years now.
Did you play or represent in your sport/activity? To what level?
When I was in secondary school, I represented my school at the International Dance Festival in Malaysia. I also took part in the National Day Parade and the Chingay Street Festival. When I was studying in Hong Kong, I performed in the Don Q (dream scene). In addition, I took park in a public performance exam which consisted of three different styles: ballet, demi-character and national. I achieved Honors in all three styles of dance.
What was your training schedule like? Did you practise every day?
When I was younger I only danced once a week, however during my exam period I did extra work. When I got older and was completing my Major in ballet, I was dancing three to four times a week for around two hours each session.
What is your fondest memory of playing/being involved in this activity?
My best memories is not just being able to perform, put being able to put on a pretty costume and makeup. I loved performing with my friends and also enjoyed getting to make new friends at any holiday programmes I attended.
What unexpected obstacles have you had to overcome this in your sport/activity?
I’ve had to continue to dance despite any injuries I’ve had and have had to find various ways to deal with the pain i.e. pre-planned performances and exams.
Why are you interested in this activity?
It is a platform for me to share my experiences and knowledge as a dance instructor.
What is your current title and how long have you held this title?
I am currently a dance instructor and have been teaching dance since 2007. I went overseas to pursue my dance Diploma from 2010-2011 and got my teaching certificate with the Commonwealth of Society of Dancing in 2012. I am currently in
my 2nd year of completing a Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies with the Royal Academy of Dancing.
What are your 3 greatest successes to date?
Being a full time ballet teacher, getting accepted into the Hong Kong Academy of
Performing Arts, and my marriage.
What is most satisfying about your work right now?
Doing what I love for a living.
What is the greatest challenge you have ever had to overcome in your career?
It was making a choice between financial stability and my passion.
What is the best advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to our students?
The best advice is the same advice I would give to my students - be humble there’s always something to learn from everyone.
Can you give us three words that best describe how you feel about your profession?
A love-hate relationship.
Who is the icon that has influenced you the most?
I don’t personally have an icon that has influenced me but I feel that everyone I’ve crossed paths with has something for me to learn from them.