Combining the arts of photography and dance, Ballet in Sarawak explores the history of ballet in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. Through photographs by Brendan Goh and narratives by Chan LayNa, this visual history tells the story of how ballet first emerged on the Sarawakian scene and how it took root in the small town of Kuching. LayNa shares the story of how she started her own dance academy in Kuching. The subsequent chapters offer a concise reference book and teaching guide for students and teachers alike on the history of ballet, technical details of dance movement and expression, what goes on backstage before curtain call, and the art of the performance. Ballet in Sarawak also details the difficulties of pursing dance, the challenges of insufficient funding and infrastructure, and lack of support from parents or institutions. Yet despite these difficulties, those associated with ballet continue to have hope conductive to the growth of this enduring dance form. It is a story of the strength of a people and culture told through photographs and words.
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Brendan Goh earned a degree in photography from Deakin University in 1995. In 2003, he headed the arts and design faculty at Limkokwing University. He currently has his own studio, Photo Gallery, and also teaches university courses in photography. This is his first published collection of photographs. Chan LayNa began studying ballet from Madam Tan Wan Lee at Kuching Ballet Academy when she was nine. She later became the first recipient for the MLNG Scholarship for Fine Arts in 1991, which enabled her to pursue the three-year teacher training course (TTC) at the College of the Royal Academy of Dancing, London. She later returned to Kuching and started the LayNa Ballet Academy. She is currently an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance, London, and conducts ballet examinations throughout the world on behalf of the academy.
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