Amanda Leong, dancer, at the Châteauroux festival
Amanda Leong, Singaporean dancer who is presently studying in NUS, has been invited by the French Embassy to attend the “Festival International de Danse-Chant-Comédie” (International Festival for dance, singing and comedy in Châteauroux) from 8 to 22 August, within the context of the “Rencontres Internationales des Jeunes” (Youth International Meetings) organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France (MAEE). Back to Singapore, she narrates her experience (originally in French, translated into English here) :
“This festival has been a fantastic experience for me. Not only was it a very well organised programme : the vast choice of dance and the convenience to go from one course to another but also a very good opportunity to immerse myself in French culture through the people we see everyday, the food at the canteen and the lifestyle in Châteauroux. I am grateful for this experience which has opened my eyes to a very unique and beautiful culture.
What has captivated me the most during this internship was not only the fact that I was dancing on a foreign land, but also living this experience together with international participants. It was very touching to see the group effort of the whole town of Châteauroux who was dedicated into making sure that the festival was a success. Everybody, from the Mayor of Châteauroux, the festival organisers and even inhabitants has helped enthusiastically with the meals and the infrastructures. This co-operation shows the friendliness and cosiness that this town, though small, can be proud of.
Apart from the courses, I have enjoyed the performance “Jazzing Flamenco” which took place on 16 August. It was a very nice mixture of different styles and a perfect blend of Flamenco and modern classic. The dancers’ excellent techniques and their passion were a source of inspiration and learning for me.
Though the internship lasted only for 2 weeks, I have learned significantly. Not only was I able to improve classical dance, which is my speciality, but also widen my skills in other dance styles, while at the same time, enrich myself in different cultures. The Flamenco has enabled me to discover the Spanish culture, the African dance has opened my eyes on the different cultures in Africa and the Hip Hop and the tap-dancing have made look at USA in a completely different way.
This internship has also encouraged me to master the French language in a friendly atmosphere. The interaction with other participants has enabled me to improve my interpersonal skills and my cultural knowledge, which will be very useful as I aim to start a career in international relations. I have spent a very nice time with very friendly French people who came from different regions like Provence and Paris. I would like to thank Mrs Maud Toledano for recommending me to this stage, the French Embassy in Singapore and the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs in France (MAEE) for choosing me and for financing this stage, the DARC association, the dance teachers, and also all my international friends who made this experience such a memorable one.”