Interview with Chermaine – Dance & DSA

YBA has rich experience in helping our students DSA into top secondary schools in Singapore, such as Methodist Girls’ School, River Valley High School, SOTA, St. Margaret’s Secondary School and many more.

“Direct School Admission (DSA) for secondary schools allows students to apply to some schools before taking the PSLE. Students apply based on their talent in sports, performing arts, CCAs and specific academic areas.”

Our student Chermaine Teo was this year accepted to River Valley High School, through Dance DSA. What follows is an interview with her about her dance and DSA journey. Chermaine joined YBA in 2018 through our annual Elite Programme auditions. She also started taking private lessons with our teacher Ms. Emily, in order to improve her dance and also to prepare for the DSA application and interview.

– October 2020

1. Why did you choose to learn ballet? Have you faced any difficulties?

I chose to learn ballet because dancing makes me happy. I enjoy dancing with my friends and we always have a great time playing hard and working hard together during ballet classes.

And of course, I have faced many difficulties as well. When I first started doing the core muscle exercises and stretching my splits, I found them very difficult. The trainings that I undergo really push me to my limits and constantly challenge my mental strength. I have to admit that I had cried countless times. However, when I manage to overcome the challenge, it gives me great satisfaction and also makes me more determined to become a better dancer.

2. How did you join YBA?

Ms. Yan taught me and choreographed my very first ballet performance when I was five. I still remember the music for the dance was “Don’t worry. Be happy”. Ms. Yan is a very caring teacher and I always look forward to her class. So in 2018, when I heard that she is starting her own ballet school, I was very excited and decided to audition for the YBA’s Elite Program. Not only was I delighted when I received the great news that I was selected, I was also surprised to receive a reply from Ms. Yan that she still remembers me!

3. How is the training and teaching style at YBA?

In general, YBA teachers are caring and passionate in helping the dancers to challenge themselves in order to achieve better results. They also taught us a variety of exercises that we can practice at home to improve ourselves. I really like that the teachers are very encouraging. They patiently point out my flaws and guide me to address my weak spots. They also make sure that I understand what they meant and had never give up on me despite me being slow to appreciate certain dance moves at times.

As I progressed through the YBA training programs, I became more and more confident and my passion for ballet grew. I understand that ballet dancing requires both a high fitness level as well as mental discipline. As such, I try my best to jog regularly and work on the stretching exercises in between my school work, enrichment classes and dance classes.

A Message From Ms. Emily: Ms. Yan told me a lot about Chermaine before I met her for the first time. Ms. Yan shared with me about her, including her strengths, weaknesses and what she is looking for in her dance journey…

And then I see Chermaine and we had the first lesson, she is a little girl who loves dancing and enjoys dance lessons. I see lights shine in her eyes when she is talking about dance. That makes me really want to help her achieve her dreams no matter how hard the journey is going to be!

Starting with us Chermaine had sickle feet when doing pointing, weak muscles and not very good coordination, but she is very positive when receiving feedback and corrections from teacher and her musicality is good. Based on all of this Ms. Yan and I discussed how to help Chermaine overall. As a dance educator, our teaching team in YBA always believes that everyone can dance. Chermaine is also in our Elite program, we accepted her because of her passion for dance and positive attitude and we believe this is the key to success. In the end Chermaine managed to DSA into her preferred school which is a huge achievement!

4. Can you share your experience with the DSA interview and process?

The DSA Audition comprised of a few segments. It started with a self introduction followed by a dance segment which I had prepared. Thereafter, I was asked to dance in different genres of music. This is followed by an interview. In terms of preparation, I’m glad I started the personal coaching classes under Ms Emily about one and a half years back. Through the many hours of training under her, she helped me improve my dance piece and also encouraged me to push beyond my limits.

I also did my research to understand the school better, especially their dance CCA. On the actual day of audition, I was actually very nervous but I kept reminding myself to enjoy the entire process and to stay calm.

5. What advice do you have for other dancers to enjoy and get the most out of ballet learning?

Always comes to class with a positive, ready to learn attitude and be receptive towards your teachers’ feedback. And, be humble to recognize your own flaws and be determined to work hard to strengthen your cores and improve your flexibility. Most importantly, you have to keep telling yourself to enjoy the journey of becoming a better dancer even though there are many tough times that make you cry and want to give up. I would always remind myself of what I want to achieve and that I can do it. This motivates me to keep on going and not give up easily.

Finally, the key to getting the most out of ballet is to simply enjoy yourself. Have fun during practice and make friends. – Chermaine Teo

Interested in preparing for DSA? Contact us by calling/WhatsApp to +65 65145175 or email (!