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Interview: Rosa Park and Natalie Debono of Singapore Dance Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty

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This festive season, Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) presents the world’s favorite fairytale, Sleeping Beauty.

 

 

The magical kingdom of castles, fairies, forests and spells comes alive in a visual spectacle of beauty and dance. One of the most famous ballets in the world, Sleeping Beauty will be performed by a troupe that includes dancers Rosa Park and Natalie Debono, who answer some questions here about this production.

 

 

ROSA PARK

When and how did you start dancing?

I began dancing when I was about four years old, when my family lived in Canada. My mom sent me [to] a local kids’ ballet to spend time with other kids and learn ballet at the same time. I guess my love for ballet started then. But, things became more serious when I was accepted to Sunwha Arts School, a renowned arts school in Korea.

 

 

How did you come to be in Singapore Dance Theatre?

I was with the Korean National Ballet as a soloist, when my husband moved to Singapore for his job. I tagged along and decided to take a break from my long years of ballet. During my time off from ballet, I gave birth to my two beautiful daughters, and it was then that I started missing the stage. I went for SDT’s adult class just to loosen up a little bit, and I guess the instructors saw something in me and I got lucky to get picked a few months afterwards.

How has it been rehearsing for Sleeping Beauty?

Compared to other classical ballet pieces, Sleeping Beauty does not involve fancy techniques such as 32 fouettes or huge jumps, but very clean and correct vocabularies. It can be quite draining both mentally and physically, because the level of perfection required for this piece is overwhelming [so] that there is not much room for error in the vocabulary.

Can you tell us what to expect with SDT’s Sleeping Beauty?

Sleeping Beauty is one of the biggest productions a company can stage. It requires many classically well-trained dancers and extravagant stage sets, costumes, and headsets. The story itself is quite well known to us, so it is very easy to understand and brings back our childhood memories.

What attracted you to this role/piece?

As I mentioned earlier, Sleeping Beauty does not involve a high level of fancy techniques but clean and correct vocabularies. It is the latter that has challenged me for this piece.

Since it’s December, do you have any plans after Sleeping Beauty, for the festive period?

Nothing much other than recuperating and preparing for next year, which will be SDT’s 25th anniversary.

If you could describe how 2012 has been to you, what would you say?

As a Senior Artist for SDT, I have been fortunate to work with Janek Schergen, Mohamed Noor Sarman, and the rest of the dancers. This year was especially great, as I got to work with many renowned world-class choreographers.

 

NATALIE DEBONO

When and how did you start dancing?

I  started dancing at the age of three. My mum took me to ballet class but at the same time I was doing gymnastics. Eventually I had to choose between the two and I chose to continue with ballet.

How did you come to be in Singapore Dance Theatre?

I came to audition in October 2011 and became really interested in the company and loved Singapore. There were no contracts available at the time, but I kept in contact with Artistic Director Janek Schergen and luckily within eight months I was offered an apprentice contract with SDT. 

Can you tell us what to expect with SDT’s Sleeping Beauty?

You can expect to see beautiful costumes, wonderful sets and a variety of characters. 

What attracted you to this role/piece?

I like that for every act I have a different role, which is fun because I get to portray a different character every time. 

Since it’s December, do you have any plans after Sleeping Beauty, for the festive season?

I’ll be spending time with my family and friends in my home town of Sydney, Australia. 

If you could describe how 2012 has been to you, what would you say?

It was an amazing year for me because I wasn’t expecting a contract from SDT but luckily I was offered my first job with them!

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.