Jin is grateful to the Hong Kong Ballet for giving her the freedom and space to grow and discover herself. She says there were times in the National Ballet when she felt desperate. “I stayed at the National Ballet of China for seven years dancing the same routine day after day.” She adds: “The Hong Kong Ballet has given me a second life. . .In Hong Kong, I feel like I am really doing art.”
After being immersed in ballet for more than twenty years, Jin finds the most difficult part of ballet is persistence.
Success in ballet takes a lot of time and hard work, says Jin, but it also requires a measure of good fortune. Most ballet dancers do not even have the chance to be recognized. Once she started to practice ballet for real, she quickly learned the art form was not what she used to think it was.
“Ballet very much depends on technique, therefore regular basic training is needed every day,” she says. Ballet students in the Beijing Dance Academy are required to learn only the fundamental techniques in their first three years of study. Before they can learn how to dance they must first master the basic positions and moves and how to control their muscles.
But even for an accomplished ballerina like Jin, training is regular and rigorous. “You either improve or you fall back,” she says.
It is her desire for continuous improvement that drives her on. What Jin fears most is losing her ability to dance. She recalls the dark days she experienced a few years ago. “I suffered from a ligament tear which stopped me from dancing for half a year. The only thing I could do was stay in bed with my eyes open,” she says.“I felt like my life was being taken away.”
When she recovered, she was even more thankful for her gift and her opportunity to use it. Jin says there is a famous saying in ballet: “You love ballet, but ballet may not love you.” In order to be an outstanding ballet dancer, you need to have both talent and put in hard work. Sadly, not all those who love ballet and wish to pursue a career in it are blessed with talent.
Jin has seen many strive to succeed in ballet but fail to accomplish what they want. “I have to be worthy of the talent I have been given,” she says, adding this is one of her responsibilities to herself and her parents.
Making a living as a ballerina is a dream come true for Jin. Ballet brings her happiness and a sense of satisfaction, “I feel [my life] is very substantial. I never feel lost” she says.