News & Blogs

7 February 2020
Author: Tania Chua

"Don’t be ‘pai-seh’!" - LCDS student Tania speaks about her experience of moving from Singapore to London to study dance

"Growing up, my parents wanted my brother and me to have a holistic education and exposed us to a wide range of enrichments and so I was enrolled in various classes such as swimming, tennis, badminton, piano, Chinese calligraphy painting, and ballet. But out of everything, I felt the most devoted to ballet and hence have stuck with it ever since. At the age of 12, my strong passion for ballet made me decide to apply for the School of The Arts, Singapore (SOTA). I eventually got accepted and studied classical ballet, modern and contemporary dance extensively while taking the standard academic subjects. After four years at SOTA, I had the desire to do a full-time Diploma in Dance course at LASALLE College of The Arts, Singapore. Through my time in LASALLE, I came to realize that I wanted to pursue higher education and specialize in contemporary dance, so I started looking at various options where I ultimately came across London Contemporary Dance School. 

It was not the first I’ve heard about the school as I knew a few seniors and lecturers from my past institutions who are LCDS graduates, so it was a good way to get in touch with them and find out about their experiences while studying at LCDS. After hearing their advice and where they are in their careers now, I felt assured that the school was a great place to study and train; but what really convinced me was viewing one of the filmed student interviews of a graduate, Venetia, who gave loads of insightful information on why she chose to go to LCDS, her audition process, the transition of moving to London, highlights of the training and advice to aspiring students. That got me interested in wanting to further my studies and training at LCDS as it is like a haven for exploring and experimenting with new, avant-garde ideas whilst experiencing the diversity of people from different cultures and backgrounds.

So, after not much deliberation, I decided to give it a shot. My application process was via a virtual audition as I was unable to attend the live auditions held in London due to my hectic school schedule. It was not the most desirable way to audition and I found it a challenge to showcase all my training, choreography skills, ideas and personality condensed into one short video. To me, completing the video submission was already an accomplishment but nevertheless, it was certainly satisfying when you have documentation to look back on too.

My recall audition was slightly different as I was still studying in Singapore, so I had the option of getting my physical assessment done and sending the results back to LCDS. That process did not take long, and I received the offer into the first year soon after. At this point, there was lots to consider especially as an international student financing a three-year degree course. In the end, I was able to work out with the school that the diploma training I had in LASALLE was equivalent to their first year of study at LCDS. Thus, I was accepted as a direct-entry student into the second year, which lifted a fair bit of worries off from me and my parents’ shoulders.

Moving to London was quite a vast change for me because I had never studied abroad or been so far away from home before, so the first few months of living by myself in a new environment were quite tough but regardless of that, I felt that I have grown to be more independent throughout my first year here. Being one of the few direct entry students and the only Singaporean at that time, I felt quite isolated from the rest as I did not know anyone. Coming from a more conservative culture, it was also a challenge for me to have the confidence to approach others and start conversations first. But as time went on, I got more familiar with my year group and started to open up to them. I’ve realized that they are a very friendly and fun bunch of people and many of them have been a great inspiration to me both in classes and shows, which really drove me to work harder and improve. The teachers and student support team have also helped a lot in encouraging, supporting, and inspiring me. That made my journey in LCDS the most pleasant and memorable.

If you ask me, of course, I do still miss the comforts of home and especially Singapore’s yummy hawker food - fellow Singaporeans will know that we are very proud of our local dishes! But despite that, there is still a wide array of cuisines and foods here in London. British Afternoon Tea is one of my favorites! The best thing about London is that it is a vibrant city, rich in arts and culture. There are so many historic museums and art galleries that are free admission, and accessible from our school. As an LCDS student, you can also get discounted tickets to watch evening shows at The Place theatre or other performances elsewhere.

My advice for people auditioning in Singapore will be to come and have fun! You are there to audition for the school but also to audition the school, so treat it as an open workshop where you are not just showing what you already know but be curious to discover something that you do not know! Also, don’t be ‘pai-seh’ to ask questions in the class! It is important that you understand what they are looking for rather than staying silent and following along.
 

If you have further questions you want to ask, feel free to get in touch with me, I will be glad to help!

 

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