Today was the first competition day: the Japan Ballet Competition 2017, in Fukuoka. We planned to leave the hotel at 9:30am, so we had to get up a bit earlier to do Aina’s hair and make up.
Honestly though, it was a bad make-up day for Aina. I don’t know why, I kept making mistakes on her. Crooked eyeliner, messy eyebrows, weird eyeshadows… even her eye lashes weren’t pasted properly. Ugh. I think I’m out of practice… I’m so sorry, Aina!
Aina didn’t sleep well last night. She kept talking in her sleep, and sometimes, got off the bed and walked around in her sleep. I think she was nervous, especially with the bleeding toe nail and the blisters that showed up yesterday.
For the blisters, we were lucky to have bought Spenco’s 2nd Skin Dressing Kit when we were in Chacott on the first day. Mrs. Cheng had recommended this from the first day Aina was en-pointe. It was perfect for blisters. She didn’t feel anything at all once the dressing was put on. She started to wear it last night when we went for the tonkatsu dinner.
And now for the bleeding toe nail, the one that Aina worried about the most. She taped the toe with her regular tape, and tried it on with her other pointe shoes.
You see, she brought 2 pointe shoes on this trip: One was the harder one, used for classes, and was Aina’s favorite because the box fits her the best. Another one was reserved only for the stage, because it was very soft: easy to dance with, but we think it’s going to die soon.
The one that caused the bleeding toe was the harder one, her favorite (I guess, it’s no longer her favorite…). Once she tried her softer shoe with the taped pinky, there was no pain. She went up en-pointe, tried a few arabesque and stuff… and there was a big relief on her face. Yep, no pain. At least for now.
Please let the taping work, at least until she finishes her dance.
Anyways, after breakfast, the kids left in the minivans, while the moms took cabs. There were already a long line to get in to the venue, consisted mostly of competitor parents (moms, mostly). The door opened exactly at 9am. JBC’s timing was very exact. They never missed the schedule at all…
As soon as we got in, we were greeted by shops. Ballet shops. There were leotards, keychains, etc. I ended up buying a packet of u-pins. I know that would be too basic to buy in Japan, but I have never found the stiff and good quality ones in Singapore. So, u-pins it was…
Since this was my first time watching ballet competition live (YBC 2016 doesn’t count, because it was an internal competition), I learned so much from it.
Apparently, before each category started, there was a blocking session, where all the contestant from that particular category were allowed to take the stage — all at the same time — to “try out” the stage. And at this time, the curtain was opened, so the audience could see them and were allowed to take pictures. So, of course I did.
The front part of the hall was taken by the jury, so we — the spectators — got the seat at the back, behind the jury. So, pardon my photo quality. I only had my iPhone, and i had to zoom in almost all the way…
The blocking session lasted from 10-20 minutes, depending on the number of contestants in that particular category. If there were a lot of dancers, they divided the session into two, or sometimes three, so that the stage was not too crowded. Once the blocking session was done, we were no longer allowed to take pictures, and the competition started.
I was amazed by the quality of the contestants, though. Aina’s cetegory (if not all categories) were packed with amazing and super talented dancers. They were sooooo good! They danced very clean and very precisely. This was definitely an eye-opener for us to see the talents outside of Singapore. I thought, it was amazing to think that most of the studios in Japan are tiny (our rented one was much smaller compared to the one in Singapore) and they could produce so many beautiful ballet dancers.
Aina was the 5th contestant in her category. She looked very nervous and almost didn’t smile at all during her dance. But I think she got less nervous midway.
And they took pretty nice pictures, too 🙂
She said, she didn’t feel anything on her blisters, but her left pinky started to throb a little during warm up and before going on stage. But she said, it wasn’t too bad and was still manageable during the dance.
Anyway, there were about 15 minutes break between each category. And once the contestant were done with their routines, they were allowed to go and watch the other categories. The competition lasted the whole day, from 10:30 when the door opened to around 8pm when the award ceremony was done.
We, the parents, stayed the whole day, because our kids were spread in almost all the categories. Aina didn’t win any prizes. But some Cheng Ballet students won the prizes and their ensembles also got the 3rd place, so we all stayed for the award ceremony.
After the ceremony was done and everyone was finished with their picture-taking session, some of us went for yakiniku dinner. I actually had no idea what restaurant it was, because I just followed everyone into the cab. But apparently, they also went to this same restaurant after the JBC competition 2 years ago.
Sooooo much meat! Aina was in heaven!