Elaine Heng & Min Yi: Dancers for Ballet Under The Stars

At Shiok! We have an exclusive interview with the dancers behind ‘Ballet Under The Stars’ (BUTS) coming to you in July.Conceived in 1995, Ballet Under the Stars is one of Singapore’s favourite outdoor events.

SDT Artistic Director Janek Schergen comments,

For Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballet Under the Stars remains an iconic, signature event in our annual performance calendar. Now, with two consecutive weekends of performances, we can offer a more diverse range of repertoire to our audiences. Certain pieces lend themselves better in an outdoor setting and this year’s choice of seven ballets comprises the finest of both our classical and contemporary repertoire. Of special interest will be a new pas de deux created by Natalie Weir, especially for the park performances. Our audience will remember her from last year’s haunting 4Seasons and 2012’s performances of Jabula. Ballet Under the Stars is a time stamp – it is one of those events that lasts in memory long beyond the experience itself!

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Elaine & Min yi with our very own Shiok! stickers 

1) Tell me more about yourself & when did your inspiration for dance begin?

Elaine : Hi, Im Elaine, Im 25 this year, I trained with the Singapore Ballet Academy (SBA) when I was younger and am currently with the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) I started ballet since I was 6 years old and ever since the love for ballet grew over the years. I had the exposure to join contemporary dance when I was in Methodist Girls School (MGS) and I attempted hip hop dancing, and I would admit I did not have the flair for it compared to my feel for ballet. I had the opportunity to pick up gymnastics and piano when I was young as well.  Looking back, I am thankful for the many opportunities that have shaped me up to pursue ballet full time. In my free time, I love to hang out with close friends, we often have sleep overs (girls night out) and chat the night away. Im a coffee lover, my favourite cup of coffee would undoubtedly be cappuccino. There are many cafes that I love, to name a few, Strangers Reunion, Kith Cafe.

Min Yi: Hi, Im Min Yi, Im 22 this year, I trained at the English National Ballet School in UK!  I love shopping and watching movies. I love to watch TV drama series during my free time as it helps me to unwind and recharge from my intense rehearsals. I studied ballet in London at the School for dance in central london. During that 3 years, I had a great time learning from professionals and soaking in the atmosphere of like minded individuals. I started ballet when I was 4. I still remember waiting outside for my sisters during ballet classes. I did not join them initially but I was slowly introduced to the class, the teachers were very encouraging, they welcomed me in and gave me the chance to explore ballet in that class, that started my interest as a young child.

2) What do you miss about Singapore when you were studying ballet in London?

Elaine Heng & Min Yi : We miss the heat when we were in London, it was cold and gloomy most days. Local Singapore delights were on our mind, Char Keow Teow, Fried Prawn Mee, Satay! Asian Food! We can get them in London, but they definitely do not taste as good as being back in Singapore

3) What is your favourite drink at the Kopitiam?

Elaine: I love to order Kopi C Kosong!

Min Yi: Ice Milo!

4) What comes to your mind when you think of Shiok!?

Elaine: FOOD & Massage

Min Yi: Food!

BUTS Opus 25 by Edwaard Liang 02 - Photo Credit  VOUX photography
Opus 25 : Danced to a dynamic composition by American composer Michael Torke, this piece showcases the development of the organisation over the past 26 years. The ballet is a grand spectacle, featuring 32 dancers, and brings out the unique attributes and personalities of the dancers in SDT. Elaine will be featuring in Opus 25. 

5) Coming closer to BUTS, Do you have a performance ritual?

Elaine: My performance ritual would usually be that of having adequate carbohydrates in my body, bananas are my best bets, they are easily digestible and it calms me down!  (to know that I wont go hungry during the performance) I try not to think once I go on stage, you would have usually prepared enough by then and there’s nothing more you can do.

Min Yi: I like to be early, to make sure I have everything all ready, my hair, my make up would be done in advance. It would be detrimental if I were to rush through the process and it would increase my chance to forget something

Theme and Variations 02 - photo credit nicolethen studio Theme & Variations : The legendary George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, a company premiere, is a grand masterpiece of ballet. This breath- taking ballet showcases the intensive development of the classic ballet lexicon, featuring a cast of 26 dancers. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score, “the moment” for the ballet is found in the grand polonaise which exudes drama and excitement. This ballet is a crowd pleaser, offering the audience any number of favourite moments, with dazzling choreography, gorgeous music, spectacular costumes and the remarkable culmination of all these elements on stage in performance. Min Yi will be featuring in Theme & Variations

Do Come over to Fort Canning Park to catch the spectaculars of ballet under the stars with your family and loved ones. To find out more about BUTS, you can visit https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/buts0714

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