Tapestry of the Heart & The Launch of Ellie Zhou Performing Arts (EZPA)
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - January 27, 2005 Posted: 5:13:22 PM EDT

Some weeks ago, there was an article in The Star about Ellie Lai and her husband Zhou Gui Xin. Ellie Zhou Ballet Studio will be holding a show to raise awareness of their EZPA.

The article was very generous with its praises for Ellie Lai. Ellie, a Malaysian who did well in the international ballet scene, had returned home with hubby Zhou, to set up a ballet school.  Ellie went to the 'Harvard of Ballet', the paper said. Ellie will bring light into our lives with her dances. The paper didn't say that, but I caught the slant in their words. Before this, all was bad. FAB is bad. Aurora is bad. Jean Gan is bad. Now, Ellie Lai is back...and we are going to celebrate the rise of the glorious culture of professional ballet right here, in Petaling Jaya.

I was keen to see her dance. I was also looking forward to see some great folk Chinese dances choreographed by Zhou.

Li-ann, my 8 years old daughter who is taking up ballet and modern dance was practically begging us to go for performance. So we went on Sunday 23rd Jan, to the Securities Commision, Sri Hartamas.  The event was held in the auditorium.

It was a crowd of perhaps 300, 98% middle-class Chinese. A few expats. No Malays. No Indians.


I bought 3 tickets for RM105 and bought the Program Booklet for RM5.00.

Puan Sri Ena Ling is their patron. I also saw a whole list of Datins, Datin Sris, etc, on the acknowledgement page. I figured. Now it made sense.  

Then the show started.

The first item, I forgot the name, was OK.

And I was thinking, 'Alright...this is going to get better and better! I am going to just sit back and enjoy myself. Hit me! I am ready for a night of exquisite dances.'

But then the show turned from a dance performance into a tragi-comedy.

All the folk dances (about 8, I think) were performed by old folks except the first one. That's right, I think it should've been called 'An evening of Chinese Folk Dances performed by Zesty Old Folks'.

To be fair to them, the old ladies all danced with much gusto. The choreography, from what I can see, was very good.

But watching old ladies dancing wasn't what I was expecting. I would be very happy for my mom if she picked up those steps from an instructor in a badminton court of some schools on weekends. And I was very happy for those old folks on stage. They really enjoyed their workout.

But this was to be the center of excellence for Performing Arts. This event was supposed to show how they will 'raise the bar' for the Malaysian dance scene.

Professional dancers were supposed to be up on stage.

We felt misled.


I felt misled.

You see, it's a little odd but the crowd that night was most appreciative. There were loud thunderous claps and cheers after each dance item. Our folksy ladies were given the honor of being sent off the stage with ear-splitting wolf-whistles.

Did someone shout 'Encore'!??

Picture this.

8 old ladies (in 45-65 range) in tight fitting red samfoos, shaking their heads with red ribbons and hopping around to chirpy Chinese folk music, to '...welcome the return of Spring'.

Music speeds up. They swayed their heads and hopped faster.

Music chirped to a crescendo. They raced around with fearsome speed. Smiles flashing.

Music stopped.

They froze, all in cutsie poses. Head sideways, wide smiles, perfect dentures showing. Heart-felt excitement were written on all their faces. Visible heaving shimmered their silk sam-foos.

Loud wolf whistles from the crowd.

Louder cheerings.

Thunderous claps.

Loud cheering and wolf-whistling from backstage. (!!?)


Did I walk into unreality?

Was this a set up?

Those thoughts played in my head all through the show.

Raising the bar? Professional Dancers? Center of Excellence for Performing Arts? 

Between the words and the dances, somethings didn't quite add up. Ellie didn't dance. Zhou came on for less than 2 minutes. He looked overweight...

'Papa, why so many old 'poh-poh' dancing one?'


'Li-ann, good question, go ask Ellie Zhou...'



Some Notes:

5 Comment(s) Link to this blog

alexa said...

They didn't mean the old ladies are professional dancers. Besides the old ladies (who didn't dance well honestly :P), how were the ballet performances by the young dancers? I am an ex-student of the studio. I also felt disappointed that there were too much of the traditional dances by non-professional dancers. Too bad. :( But individually, the young dancers are really good. Just accidentally found this blog. Just some comments. :)


Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin said...

Alexa, I saw flashes of brilliance that night. So yes, I agree with you that some of the ballet dancers were very promising, individually. But don't get me wrong. All said, I know EZPA has a lot to offer. I only hope it will keep its promises like a real pro. 



bubu chacha ballerina said...

juz passin thru... i like ur style of writing but... hey! FAB is NOT bad! did u see their performance on 20th n 21st august? they were amazing... the rave reviews in the star were not exaggerated! they were really good... n fyi, jean gan is expensive but they DO do a good job of teaching....

juz wonderin... maybe the audience that day were the families of the old people? n that's y the audience gave a loud applause?


The Alchemist said...

I really think FAB (Ramli Ibrahim called them the 7Eleven of Ballet), Jean Gan, Ellie Zhou, Aurora have something to offer.

I guess I was at the wrong place with a wrong set of expectations that night.


shoba said...

Can you suggest a good place to learn ballet for my 5 year old daughter... ( not too expensive place, but a good place)


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Wiley Chin
Chief Alchemist
XiMnet Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

An alchemist of the Internet and marketing strategies, leading the charge to put our creative and software talents into serving companies who are out to slay the global giants. Also known as Chief of Caffeine Consumption and hallucinates between projects. Yes, that accounts for his “giant slaying” stuff.

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