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Asia Ballet Academy – Dancing through Life with Discipline, Elegance, and Poise

The International Business Review is honoured to have Asia Ballet Academy be part of the International Business Review ASEAN Awards 2022 as the opening performance. The Asia Ballet Academy, joined by the Kenny Shim Collective, bring to life the theme of the evening, Masquerade – The Best is Yet to Be Seen. Asia Ballet Academy prepares students to become the next generation of professionally trained ballet dancers through the principles of the Vaganova Method of classical ballet. It acts as a bridge between academic learning and the dance profession, allowing students in training to perform on local and international stages,
helping to familiarise them with their future profession. Since its formation in 2019, the academy has grown from 20 students to close to 300 students. Additionally, Asia Ballet Academy was selected as the Top 1 Ballet Studio in KL & Selangor by TallyPress (2020) and The Fun Empire (2022).

Its founder, Ivy Chung, began her dance career at the Universal Ballet Company in Seoul, South Korea – one of Asia’s foremost ballet companies – where she learned everything about the Vaganova method of ballet. The Vaganova method is a professional ballet technique and training system developed by the Russian dancer and teacher Agrippina Vaganova in the late nineteenth century. The training system was designed with the whole body in mind for each movement, with equal attention paid to the upper body, legs and feet. Vaganova believed that this approach increases consciousness of the body, thus creating a harmony of movement and greater expression range.

The discipline, focus, and motivation that ballet demands proved to be life-changing
for Ivy Chung. Not only was she afforded the chance to tour and perform worldwide, as one of the first Asian ballet dancers to dance internationally, but she was also given the opportunity to learn more styles of ballet and operate her ballet school in Hong Kong.

In 2018, Ivy conducted her first workshop in Kuala Lumpur, followed by a full production show of The Fairy Doll at the Istana Budaya Malaysia. The response was overwhelming and she came to fall in love with the students here who she found to be talented and passionate.

Her efforts to share her professional experience in nurturing the next generation of professional dancers in Malaysia while expanding to Asia were recognised by the British Publishing House where she received The Certificate of Successful People in Malaysia (2021). Her motto, ‘Fulfilling my students’ dreams is to fulfil my dream as well!’ is in line with her teaching principal comprising of nine core values – Kindness, Gentleness, Peace, Joy, Self-Control, Patient, Love & Goodness, and Faithfulness, that she has had since 2002 in Hong Kong.

Tan Qian Hui performing the principal role of Giselle in “Giselle & Isabella” production 2022.

Beyond a Career in Dance

“If they already have a career as a dancer – what’s after that?” a thought that pushed Ivy to explore different possibilities beyond a career in dance. While the natural progression is to be a ballet teacher, many may not have that capability nor desire to teach. As such, Ivy sees their potential in other areas like fashion design.

Thus, Ballet Life, a ballet supplies and fashion boutique came to be – integrating
ballet as a lifestyle and fashion trend. Through this, her students have the chance to try their hand at fashion design whether it be making leotards, ballet-inspired
street clothes or partnering with renowned designers. The success of this idea was evident in their first collection which was featured in the recent Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW) held in August this year.

Community Scholarship for Ballet

Asia Ballet Academy plans to establish a community scholarship programme to reach out to the underprivileged children and provide the chance for those interested to learn ballet. The Academy hopes to reach out to more people through this programme, to inspire them, make a difference in their development while providing them with a possible career in dance.

Kenny Shim, Contemporary Dance Teacher at Asia Ballet Academy
Ivy Chung (middle), President & Artistic Director of Asia Ballet Academy

Meet the Choreographer

Malaysian Kenny Shim is the Contemporary Dance Teacher at Asia Ballet Academy with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from two of the best contemporary dance schools in the UK. Although he started professional training relatively late at the age
of 15, first with modern jazz and then eventually diving into ballet simultaneously with contemporary ballet at 18, his genuine passion in dancing threw him into the dance profession.

Kenny crossed paths with Ivy when he attended her first show in Malaysia, The Fairy Doll, at the Istana Budaya Centre and he was introduced to her by a parent of their mutual student. They started working together with Kenny conducting intensive workshops at the Academy until it gradually evolved into their partnership.

Guest dancer Motoi Mifune from Japan and our advanced dancer, Jaime Teoh Jia Qi are performing the principal roles of “La Fille Mal Gardée” production 2022.
From left: Alene Tan E-Thong, Larissa Chee Shuen Yuin, Jaime Teoh Jia Qi, Chong Shu Yin (Tiffany), Yap Yi Ki – students from the Asia Ballet Academy posing for International Business Review

The Best is Yet to Be Seen

As mentioned, the theme for the International Business Review ASEAN Awards Night is ‘Masquerade: The Best is Yet to Be Seen’. It is a night of celebration, honouring the best of the best in corporation. Back in its heydays, masquerade balls were extravagant affairs – an indulgence of glamour and mystery. The masquerade aspect of the theme for the Awards night is meant to portray a celebration of excellence while looking sophisticated and fabulous.

The second half of the theme,
‘The Best is Yet to Be Seen’, implies that the celebrated accomplishments are only the tip of the iceberg. The Award winners who still have plenty more to offer in their respective industry, just waiting to come to the surface. The act of wearing a mask is not to deceive, but to show that there’s more to this than meets the eye.

The epitome of grandeur with its legacy of opulence is what the International Business Review ASEAN Awards is all about, celebrating corporate excellence in style. This is where ballet comes in, a performance by well-trained, exceptional talents to illuminate human emotion and endeavour.

When asked about his choreography sets, Kenny explains that the choreography creative process involves collaboration. He starts by working with a mood board involving pictures, random inspiration, and colours with researched information regarding the particular event, in this case, the ASEAN Awards Night, which is then distilled to create a clearer picture.

With that picture in mind, he worked with the dancers from Asia Academy Ballet as well as the dancers in the Kenny Shim Collective to begin exploring the different moves or steps they can incorporate. The performance is to be a mix of contemporary dance – a blend of classical, modern, and jazz dance styles, classical ballet with a fusion of hip-hop.

As this edition of International Business Review will be available
during the Awards night, we hope you enjoy the performance and for
those who are reading this afterwards, follow us, The IBR Asia Group, on
our social network platforms to catch a glimpse of this magical night.

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