How old were you when you started ballet, and did you like it?
I started ballet when I was 5 years old in the USA, I moved there because my father had to work in the states. My sister started taking ballet classes and I was watching her dance, the male Russian teacher said to me that he would give me a candy every time I took his class… so I started taking ballet classes just to get the candy from every class. The question of liking ballet or not at that age? I definitely liked the candy. (laughs)

What was the first ballet you ever saw?

The first ballet I saw was my first ballet teachers’ performance. They were both from Russia and I remember watching them dance the Pas de Duex from Swan Lake Act 2.
When did you decide to pursue a professional career?

I decided that I wanted to really focus on ballet when I went to high school. Before that, I had learned piano for 12 years, swimming for 11 years, and basketball for three years. I liked to move around.

Did you enjoy your training at your school?

I enjoyed my training wherever I was because I was exposed to different styles in different places, and teachers teach very different things as well.
My two years in The Washington School of Ballet was difficult, but it was during that two years that I learned the most. Upon graduation, I became a professional ballet dancer at The Washington Ballet.

When and how did you join SDT?
I auditioned for SDT in August 2010 and I started working from September the same year.

What was your first role in SDT as a professional dancer?

My first role in SDT was for Passages 2010. One of the dancers could not perform because of his injury, so I had to learn the choreography from the video, and went on stage with only a couple of rehearsals.

How do you learn a new ballet?

Learning a classical ballet is not as difficult because there are names for every step we do. While for contemporary ballets, you need to copy the same movement as what the choreographer is showing, so it needs to be seen from a different angle. Making the unnatural movements look natural is probably the difficult part for a contemporary ballet.

What is a typical rehearsal day like for you?

I reach the studio at around 9.20am, change to rehearsal clothes and get ready for class. Rehearsals are in two sessions having a 1hour break for lunch in the middle.
During breaks, I talk with others or have a short nap before the second half of the rehearsal.
After rehearsal I will ice my muscles; not because there is pain or injury, but if you want to dance longer, you need to take care of your body now or you will regret.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I do not do anything special. When the stage is open before performances, I will go on stage to do some turns and warm up.

What do you eat on a big rehearsal/performance day?

I eat whatever I want to eat before the show, but one thing I have learned is not to eat KFC before a big dancing section because it really makes my body heavy.

What is your dream role?
Hilarion and Albrecht from Giselle. These two roles are familiar but different, being able to express both meanings of love on stage will be something great to do.

What is your favourite costume so far?

Nothing specific but the heaviest costume I have worn in my whole career was a monster from Where the Wild Things Are. It was bigger than 2 metres with the whole set!

Who is your favourite choreographer in the works you’ve danced?

They all have different style of works, so for me I don’t have a favorite choreographer.

Do you watch ballets from the wings during performance days?

It would depend, I do not watch every show but I like to see how others perform on stage sometimes.

How do you feel after a performance?
Hungry. (laughs) When the show is done I focus on what is next. It’s not about the feeling, its what you need to do to make the next performance better, you know for yourself that what should have been better or could be better for the next show so you just work for that.

What is your most prized possession?

My friends.

What do you like to do outside of SDT?

I like to play basketball and have lunch and dinner with friends. I also like cooking, cleaning the house, and sleeping.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure”?

Nothing. I believe that if you feel guilty about it, don’t do it. So I do whatever I want to do, whenever.

Are most of your friends dancers?
I have a lot of friends outside from dance in Singapore, and many of them are my basketball friends.

How does your family feel about your career?

My parents are happy with what I am doing, they enjoy watching me perform.
It is also good that all four of my sisters did ballet so they know what ballet is about. It is really great to have a family who knows ballet well because they are able to give me their opinions.

What do you want to do after dancing?

Start my own ballet school, and to teach ballet with my wife.
So step by step, but I think I should start with finding a girlfriend first. (laughs)