Ballet Zaida Affinity Jeanette Kakareka competed in the English National Ballet Emerging Dancer competition this last week. It is a huge deal to be a finalist, and this is her second year to reach that point! We are so proud of her! Below you can see photos from the performance and an interview with her.
When English National Ballet is on tour, I always make an effort to go out and experience things any time that I'm free--even when I'm tired. While that does mean that our month-long tour in Asia was exhausting, it was also one of my most memorable trips!
The first night in Singapore, we arrived at our hotel very late at night after a long, but particularly enjoyable, flight from Beijing. The next day was a day off so we made our way to Sentosa, a small island with an assortment of activities to keep you busy.
The small group of us headed straight for Universal Studios, which is one of the first attractions you find on the island. It's certainly manageable to fit everything in one day, including more than one go on your favourite rides. Our favourites were the Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride.
Later that night, even though we were tired from walking in the heat all day long, we grabbed a taxi and drove to the Night Safari. It's the world's first safari park built for nocturnal animals, separate from their daytime park. This was probably my favourite outing the whole month! Not only can you get amazingly (sometimes uncomfortably,) close to the animals, but they are also passionate about education and conservation.
Our last show in Singapore was a 3pm matinee of Le Corsaire, so afterwards, we had a filling dinner of Singapore chilli crab and lots more seafood! The next day we ignored the predictions of rain and headed towards Sentosa again--this time for the Zipline! Here is a photo of us right after we were unlatched from the top!
And we couldn't leave without a small dip.
TIP: We realised this a little too late, but there is actually a train that you can take from the VivoCity tube stop (Level 3, Lobby L) to different stops inside of Sentosa. This is much easier (and cooler) than trying to walk the whole way across the boardwalk.
I can only hope that there will be an excuse for me to go back to Singapore one day!
I was always that kid that loved reading. Staying up at night until my eyes were bloodshot because I had to finish the next chapter of the Harry Potter book. My passion for being transported into a whole different reality and seeing life through someone else’s eyes has not wavered (also why I love ballet). Here is a list of some books that have stayed with me. I’ve read them all an uncountable amount of times. If you haven’t read them before, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
1. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
I’m not entirely sure why this is my absolute favourite, but I guess I’m a bit jealous of Anne’s beautifully naive look at her world. She has all sorts of reasons to be pessimistic or unhappy but she tries so hard to be good and see the beauty in life. My copy’s spine is creased to the point that it’s hard to read the title.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
I am a deeply sentimental person. Also a deeply sarcastic person. That may seem contradictory, but I find I can satisfy these feelings by reading Jane Austen’s book over and over again.
“Till this moment I never knew myself.”
3. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
This is probably one of my favourite books more-so because it is also one of my favourite movies. (Yes, I watched the movie first.) I enjoy the unconventional timeline that happens in the book, and there are several quotes that have really stuck with me. But mostly, I love it for the love stories (not just with his wife).
“But don't you think that it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
For me, this book is all about the humour. I find Oscar absolutely hilarious, but with pieces of truth hidden underneath it all. As his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is extra special to me. One of my best friends and I just went to go and see a play of it at the St James Theatre in London, just before the 125th anniversary of the novel’s publication.
“Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.”
This spring, my company (English National Ballet) went on a 4 week tour to China and Singapore. Sometimes, I forgot how far away from home I was. But usually there were all sorts of communication errors making even take away lunch a real challenge. That being said, most of the food was definitely worth any trouble it was to get.
In our first city, Tianjin, we dove right in and I experienced a few bites of some street food. (Be careful, and it’s advisable to never drink the tap water!)
We also went to a hot pot place called Hai di Lao, which is a chain in China. This is a really nice option for anyone less adventurous--if you didn't know, hot pot is where you get the raw ingredients (veggies, seafood, meat,) and add them into boiling broth at your own table.
TIP: If you order the shoo si la mian noodles, you'll get a fun little dance by one of the waiters to stretch the noodles out for you!
Our next city was Guangzhou, which is a lot further south, and very hot and humid. This was my favourite location. There, we stayed in the most amazing hotel and had daily, buffet-style breakfasts with a gorgeous view.
Our last week in China was spent in Beijing. With an urban population of around 19 million, it is second in size only to Shanghai.
TIP: It's a big city, but taxis aren't expensive in China. So, if you're not clear on how to get somewhere on the tube, don't be afraid to be driven there instead.
One day, we taxied to a restaurant that is a top rated restaurant in Beijing, Yin Xiang Xian Guan. Here, we had a very interesting assortment of food that you might not expect. That included (but was not limited to,) glutinous lotus root, cold mashed potatoes with a blueberry sauce, veggie coated tofu, and yellow curry inside of a loaf of bread.
This trip only increased my love of Chinese food, and I cannot wait for my next opportunity to visit in China again.