Onward and Upward|”I have three people in my School of American Ballet class getting to Harvard”


章先生的觀點讓我想到,前紐約市芭蕾舞團的Soloist Kathryn Morgan也曾指出,”dancers do so well even when they stop. I mean, I have three people in my School of American Ballet class getting to Harvard.” School of American Ballet是美國頂尖舞蹈學府,能考進去的都是high achievers, 所以即使畢業後不從事舞蹈,“it’s, you know, so yeah, I felt like I had to still achieve something.”


美國高中counselor Dr Boone Benton 引用一位Dartmouth(常春藤大學之一)counselor的話去解釋,為甚麼分數高不是一切。“He said he’s never run into a dean’s office and said oh my gosh look at this score.” Instead, “what matters is who is behind that application.” 所以,Benton鼓勵他的學生為申請大學寫 personal statement時,要問自己這個問題:“There are so many who are coming out with SAT scores and AP classes and good grades, so what is different about you?”

我做一個 personal statement writing演示吧。假設我是神韻舞蹈員,假設我現在想在頂尖學府攻讀生物學,我可以這樣介紹 what is different about me:

In all my ten years of doing traditional Chinese dance – including two summers spent touring with the dance troupe Shen Yun in a total of five cities in North America –  I’ve never felt more misunderstood than when I overhear relatives telling my parents “she’s so talented.”

They only need to walk a mile in my shoes, and they will immediately see my dancing is the product of perspiration rather than inspiration.

For one thing, even the basic “walk” in Chinese dance takes years to perfect. Some steps have to be executed with the knees bent at a precise angle, and some landings of feet involve rolling from heel to toe so rapidly that all the audience sees are ethereal beings floating across the stage.

Then there is the matter of dance shoes. Because my kicks have so much force in them, when my colleagues and I are on tour and we have to practise swinging our legs up to our ears on a carpeted floor, a coarsely textured rug might immediately rip the sole of a descending shoe.

My lower spine is another object that bears the brunt of my dancing. It gives me a dull ache constantly. When I’m in the middle of a performing season, the discomfort can intensify into a pain so searing that when I shower at night, I have to seek relief by sitting in the stall. I also like to joke with friends that my spine is a weather forecast of sorts: when it bothers me more than usual, i know it’s likely to rain.

If so much sacrifice is hidden behind the onstage display of “talent,” why do it? I could never answer this question quite adequately myself, until I read the dancer and educator Jacques d’Amboise’s account of him helping a small boy master a dance sequence: ““He was,” d’Amboise recounts with satisfaction, “on the way to discovering he could take control of his body, and from that he can learn to take control of his life.”

My desire to dance is a manifestation of my deep-seated desire for order in the mist of the chaos that is life.

This love for order has now been channelled to another outlet – my urge to gain a sense of mastery over nature through the study of biology. It’s part of my nature that I will bring to this new venture the same seriousness of purpose I brought to dancing. I should also add that though on a  program as prestigious as yours, I have no doubt I will be studying alongside with students whose minds are more excellent than mine, I’m confident that I’ll be able to hold my own. After all, Shen Yun has taught me performing right next to stronger dancers is simply yet another chance to observe closely and improve.

Michelle Ng

聯絡方式: michelleng.coach@proton.me
個人網站: https://michellengwritings.com




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