Growing with Crestar School of Dance

August 11, 2021

Starting young: Celine began ballet lessons with Crestar at the age of 4 years.

Ballet has been known for its many benefits. Apart from honing talents, improving one’s grace and poise, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, ballet is known to have helped many students build confidence, resilience and discipline.

Crestar School of Dance speaks to two of its long-time students, Celine and Ee Ning about their ballet journey with us and how ballet has made a difference in their lives.

Thank you for taking time to share your story with us, girls!

Celine, Founder of Ccmonstersart, 24

Celine and Dance Principal, Ms Cindy Toh.

Crestar: Share with us a little on your ballet journey with Crestar.

Celine: I started learning ballet at the age of four, and have always been with Crestar under the guidance of Ms Cindy Toh till today. I remember being afraid when I first started classes, but I soon began to enjoy ballet classes as Ms Cindy is really nice, patient and inspiring. I also remember going for my ballet examinations with my peers and stressing over things like tying our hair buns and sewing our ballet shoes when we were younger. My friends and I have many great memories at Crestar. It was a place we spent most of our weekend mornings at.

Why did you decide to pick up ballet?

I’ve always admired the gracefulness and poise ballerinas have, and always wanted to be able to dance on stage in a tutu and on pointes. As a child, my mother gave me a choice to pick ballet or piano as a hobby, and it was the beauty and elegance of ballet that made me decide on it.

Share with us 1 – 2 memorable events you had with Crestar.

One of the most memorable events that I had with Crestar was our trip to Hong Kong. It was my very first overseas trip at the age of 20, and it was for a group competition. The trip bonded all of us, fellow ballet peers and teachers. We spent hours at the hotel gym working on our conditioning work, we had meals together, travelled, played and even cried together! The trip made a great impact on all of us and we still reminisce about it when we meet.

Another memorable event was a summer programme with Crestar. I remember going on an excursion at Fort Canning, and also watching the ballet replay on a television after. As it was the first time watching a classical ballet play, I did not really understand the scenes and there was no dialogue. Thankfully, Ms Cindy was there to guide and explain the movements and what the ballerinas were trying to portray in the various scenes. This certainly played a part in growing my interest in ballet.

What are the two main qualities you think you picked up through ballet with Crestar?

Strength and Perseverance. 

What would say to someone who’s considering taking up ballet lessons?

Get rid of your self-doubt and give it a try!

Ee Ning

Share with us a little on your ballet journey with Crestar.

I joined Crestar in 2005, when I was 4 years old. I started out with the Bebe Ballet classes (ballet for young children), and am now on the RAD Advanced 1 syllabus. I have been learning ballet under Ms Cindy Toh’s guidance since the very start of my ballet journey.

Though ballet is now a very beloved and important part of my life, this was not always the case. When I was much younger, there was a period where I was uninterested in ballet and wanted nothing more than to quit. It was only under Ms Cindy’s patience and guidance that I started to enjoy ballet again.

Why did you decide to pick up ballet?

As is the dream of many young girls, I yearned to dance on the tip of my toes, onstage to beautiful music in a pretty tutu.

Share with us 1 – 2 memorable events you had with Crestar.

I participated in a competition a few years ago. It was one of the most gruelling experiences in my life. Over the months of rigorous preparation and private coaching, blood, sweat, tears and many pairs of pointe shoes, I finally learnt a variation to perform onstage. On hindsight, I was not physically ready to compete at such a level with other dancers who were training much more often than I was and had been dancing seriously for much longer than I had been. However, I grew immensely through this experience. I became more resilient and determined to see progress in everything I set my sight on. Competing with Crestar has truly allowed me to broaden my horizons.

What are the two main qualities you think you picked up through ballet with Crestar?

Ballet with Crestar made me braver. Crestar’s environment welcomes experimentation and a positive learning attitude. Throughout my ballet journey, I have always been encouraged to step outside my comfort zone and to try higher-level steps. This bravery and daring to step out of my comfort zone and experiment has influenced my life outside ballet as well.

My ballet journey with Crestar has also made me disciplined. To see improvement, I have to stretch and practice regularly even outside the studio. To get stronger and build better stamina, I need to exercise in my own time. All this requires discipline and a commitment to the art that is ballet. I have brought this discipline into my school and work life, and I’ve learn to remain committed to doing my best in all I do.

What would you say to someone who’s considering taking up ballet lessons?

Go for it! Ballet enriches the mind and the body, and it is a beautiful way to express your feelings. It also improves stamina, both mental and physical strength, as ballet dancers and students need to persevere through difficult sessions and movements. Ballet also serves as an escape from the busy and stressful lives we lead.

Where do you think you will be in terms of ballet progression in 5 years’ time?

I see myself finally completing the RAD syllabus after so many years of hard work. I look forward to the sense of accomplishment and pride that accompanies my completion of the syllabus.

How has your ballet teacher inspired you?

My ballet teacher, Ms Cindy, inspires me every day with her passion for ballet and her students. Her love for ballet shows in the way she teaches us, from movements and dances to music and the emotions they evoke. Having grown up under her guidance in ballet, I have observed and experienced how patient and nurturing she is with her students, wanting to instil in them the same love for learning and ballet that she has. She caters her teaching style to each student, adjusting her explanations based on students’ level of understanding and challenges faced. The specificity in her teaching is telling of her love for ballet and for teaching her students.

Her drive for progress and thirst for knowledge is also incredibly inspiring. Through the years, Ms Cindy has not only taught us ballet, but muscle recovery and different muscle release techniques. She attends courses to deepen her understanding on the workings of the body, and she shares this information with all her students to ensure that their ballet journey is as pain-free and long as possible. Ms Cindy has inspired my classmates and I to never stop seeking new knowledge and broadening our skillset.

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