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Jottings from Contestants


Erica Liew, 12 years- Junior A (via SMS)

Teacher Suraya, everyone reached Malaysia safely today. Thank you very much for your guidance and hard work, so that I can clinch the scholarship. I appreciate the effort you made from the start of the year. It was a lot of fun; we enjoyed ourselves while working hard in competition. I had a runny nose during the finals. The mucus dripped out when I did the last 3 pose turns before the chaines at the end of the variation. I guess it happened because I pushed so hard in order to present the best ending I could possibly give the judges and audience.  I hope none of the other dancers slipped on my account.

The Asian Grand Prix has been a great experience for me. I suffered my first bruised toe nail, ooh painful, but the show must go on.  Anyway, once again thanks a lot, Teacher Suraya.

See you when you return home from Las Vegas.   Erica


Cheryl Soh (Chiao Shean), 12 years- Junior A (via e mail)

I didn't sleep very much the night before the finals because my roommate Erica had screaming nightmares. However when I woke her from her nightmares, she happily answered she was fine. Urgh!!  Both of us were finalist in the competition.

I was very nervous at first but was consoled by Teacher JinLi that I could do it, and do it well. Just before my name was called in the semi final round my left pointe shoe broke. I then heard Teacher Suraya's voice in my head , ' the show must go on" and then I went on and dance my heart away. I danced very well.

There were 4 days between the semi final round and finals and we trained every morning for 2 hours going through our routines tirelessly at a very 'cool'  hip hop dance studio near our hotel at North Point. We as a team enjoyed our stay in Hong Kong
I would like to thank my parents for their support and faith in me giving my very best in Hong Kong and Teacher Suraya who worked me like I have never worked before. Classical ballet is truly difficult but is the most beautiful form of dance. I will always be a classical dancer first. 


Chan Fei Bi, 14 years- Junior B (Via e mail)

Dear Teacher Suraya,

After months of hardcore training, it finally came down to this, our journey to Hong Kong to premier at the 2nd Asian Grand Prix. It is an international classical ballet event bringing young dancers and performers together from all over the world to compete for top placings and scholarships. I was filled with excitement as it was my first trip overseas and my very first solo ballet competition.

In Hong Kong, we faced small challenges, one being to locate a dance studio or fitness centre for our daily training. We finally secured a studio at about 10 p.m., not too far from our hotel. So they say, so near yet so far! The scenery from the studio was just so gorgeous; I admit I got a little distracted during my daily training.

My competition started on day 2 with 70 dancers aged between 13 to 15 years mostly from the Philippines, China, Japan and Malaysia. 

Before competing, we had a 10 minutes stage rehearsal. Backstage, I befriended a few ballerinas from the Philippines. They were beautiful dancers. At the time, my nerves were starting to bother me.  Melissa our team member told me to think of something hilarious and keep me happy and forget about the tension.  I did just that. I was the fourth contestant to perform. As I walked under the spotlight to centre stage, I felt a slight shiver running down my spine.  When the music played my nervousness vanished. I wanted to dance for everyone and nothing would get in the way.

8pm - the moment of truth, and to my surprise, I was on the semis list. I was overjoyed and confused at the same time when Jill's number was not called out. It was a heart wrenching seeing my roommate so crushed.

Melissa, who is most senior amongst us, was the competitor in the Junior C category the following day. She danced most gracefully and emerged as a semi-finalist too. We were over the moon. Every participant at her level was simply fabulous. 

Day 4.  It was my turn again at the semi-finals.  I wasn’t nervous anymore, rather calm and composed the whole time. It wasn't so terrifying this time around.  Each semi-finalist had their own special style, beautiful posture and strength. I had mine. Teacher Jin Li told me I danced better in this round. Even though I didn’t get into the finals, I was glad to have had the opportunity, and I gave my very best. Later that night I treated myself to some delicious mango pudding.

The Asian Grand Prix experience opened my eyes to the true meaning of serious dancing. I now know I have to get more classes into my dance schedule, focus on strengthening my core centre and work on building stamina. I now fully understand why Teacher Suraya gets absolutely infuriated when I miss my training sessions, hence breaking the momentum.

Day 6. Prize Presentation. We were anxious and excited for our team mates Junior A finalists, Cheryl and Erica.

Erica, the baby in our team won a scholarship to attend a ballet summer camp and sponsorship to participate in next year's competition. We were all so happy for Erica and that her hard work had paid off. Soon after, we did some crazy photo shots. It was really a night to remember!

The trip taught me many things, learning to be independent and being more responsible and accountable to name a few, while developing a strong camaraderie amongst us.It has opened a whole new world for me and I came home a different Fei Bi.  Would I be a better dancer 12 months from today? Would I do it again next year? The answer is a definite" Yes ".

Jill Chew, 15 years - Junior B  via e mail

It was challenging to have participated in a competition as grand as Hong Kong's Asian Grand Prix 2012. As we all know, Hong Kong is very supportive of the performing arts and has their own dance company and performing schools. This goes to prove that they take the performing arts seriously. AGP is an international competition and they expect a high standard from the participants. I was lucky to be able to join this competition and would never forget the bitter sweet experience.

Training was grueling but I knew that this was what I wanted. Studies and dance were the only things I had to focus on. There was no time for other social activities. There were times when I felt like giving up when my mind was distracted and lost focus.  However, my mum advised me, “The moment you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you held on for so long." I did ask myself the question, why I did not toss my shoes out and called it a day. The answer was plain to see. Dance is my passion.

As the Asian Grand Prix was my first ballet competition, I had no idea what to expect. As I walked into the warm up room on my competition day, I was at awe and overwhelmed by the sight of strong bodies executing triple pirouettes on pointe and perfect 180 degree grand jetes.   Luckily for me, I had my friend Fei Bi with me and we did our own warm up in one corner of the room.  We sense the competitors judging us. I then remembered Teacher Suraya's advice: "I'm not in a competition with anyone else but myself." those few words plain, but calming and comforting.

The night before, my friends wished me luck and told me that failure would never overcome me if my determination to succeed was stronger. That was the last thing that went through my mind before I smiled and ran onto the stage. It was a sigh of relief as my job here was done and the rest was up to the judges. After my final reverence it took what seemed like eternity to get over the fact that my time on that stage was up. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through to the next round but roommate Fei Bi got did better. I was understandably shaken and devastated.

I have many people to thank for taking me this far. Teacher Suraya, for those long hours of drilling and coaching, Teacher Jin Li, Teacher Amellia, Teacher Kristen and Teacher May Jean for giving out pointers and of course my parents for giving me the strength and support to make this journey.


Melissa Lim, 16 Years- Junior  C  (via email)

To be participating in a competition as great as Hong Kong's Asian Grand Prix, I needed a lot of preparation. It was an international Competition and I knew it was going to be difficult as the standard of dance would be extremely high. I was lucky to be able to take part in this competition it as it is so close to my Year 11 trial examinations. I have been in competition training since the end of last year with All Stars Road to Hollywood in April, TDS solo ballet competition in May and culminating to this prestigious event. Juggling studies and dance training everyday was tough and there were times when I doubted my own capabilities and will power to battle on, what with little sleep and a very tired body.  Training and dance classes took about 3-5 hours daily while school took 7 hours of my day. To be honest,  it has been tough and I needed motivation almost everyday in order to plough on.  There were fun times and also emotional moments too when every ounce of energy in me has been sapped and drained. Sometimes I looked up motivational quotes or watched short YouTube video clips of other great dancers just to keep afloat for another day.

As I entered the warm up studio on the day of my elimination round, I saw fabulous dancers everywhere. Many were extremely flexible, with great turn out, lean bodies and beautifully costumed.  I did not feel nervous nor threatened but instead I just thought of them as people just like me, who share the love for dance. I didn't need to feel scared either as I was well prepared. With a focused mind, I zoned myself out of the other distractions and finished my variation. That night, it was announced that I will dance in the next round; It was the greatest gift of all. Although I did not make it to the finals it was not a loss. I have experienced so much and progressed so far this past year and would definitely love to participate in another competition like this in the near future.   I am glad I never gave up because the only failure one can do is to not do it. It is a long road to success but it is far worse to not have tried at all.  I am now a much stronger dancer, mentally and physically. I have already set my next goal and I am prepared for the obstacles ahead. Bring it on!

Lastly I would like to thank teacher Suraya for those intensive training sessions and support and help from Teacher Jin Li , Teacher Kristen, Teacher Amellia and Teacher May Jean."  Finally, not forgetting my dear parents, for their support and for emptying their wallets towards making this dream a reality.

Find us:

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No 23, 2nd Floor,
Jalan USJ 10/1F,
Subang Jaya 47620
+6 03 56346984
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Jalan PJU 5/9
Dataran Sunway,
Kota Damansara 47810

+6 03 74961913
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Uptown 47400
Damansara Utama 
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Aurora School of Dance - Malaysia's premier dance school located in Subang Jaya and Kota Damansara