(1/2) “I am 56 years old and still teach dance to young girls who one day want to conquer the world and I hope that they will do exactly that.

By training I was a lawyer but after finishing my law degree I took off to London to study dance which was a very unusual move for women to undertake back in the early 1980s. I enrolled myself at Laine Theatre Arts and back then, I was the first Malaysian at Laine’s, something that I am proud of even today.

Being at Laine’s was a tough yet wonderful experience. Until then I wasn’t accustomed to dancing rigorously from 9am to 5pm. At Laine’s we did it everyday. 

We did it till our legs felt like jelly and our shins hurts to the point we couldn’t stand. On some days my body would seize up. I remember rolling onto one side and falling on the floor simply so that I could crawl up on all fours and get ready for yet another day of stretching and dance.

But three and half years at Laine’s prepared me for a whole new world of ballet and dance. 

Graduating and ready to take on the world, I returned to Malaysia and worked hard for many years. I started The Dance Company with a partner, and we braved the industry as young aspiring professionals. The company is still around, though I am no longer a part of it.

Once I had kids, it was difficult to balance the two. I wanted to raise my kids myself and to spend my formative years being around them, which was why I left the commercial industry and focused more on teaching, and I don’t regret my decision at all.”

Photo and story by Nafisa Dahodwala

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(This post was first published on March 28th 2018)

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