Meet the first Malaysian teen to win a silver medal at an international ballet competition!
17-year-old Julian Wen-Sheng took home the silver medal at the Genee International Ballet Competition 2019 held in Canada last month.
This competition which was first held in 1931 is a prestigious event that celebrates the world’s most gifted young performers. Founded by the Royal Academy of Dance, its patron is none other than Queen Elizabeth II.
Julian who hails from Selangor was also awarded the Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award. Although this kind of an accomplishment typically calls for a celebration, it is Julian’s heartbreaking story that has touched the hearts of citizens online.
“I felt very sad, lost and emotional. It’s a feeling that is really hard to describe,” said the national ballet dancer regarding his late father who succumbed to his battle against pancreatic cancer just a month before the competition.
Despite his tragic loss, Julian managed to pull through and remained focused in his efforts and time in working towards achieving his goal.
“Winning the silver was a pleasant surprise considering that the competition was very tough. To be able to win such a prestigious competition was more of an honour rather than a merit,” Julian told The Star.
No stranger to personal struggles, Julian was often bullied for his interest in ballet – “I was bullied because I did ballet, wore tights and looked like a ‘sissy’. At times, I felt really lonely.”
On hindsight, Julian is proud to have overcome the challenges life has thrown at him. “How I overcame these challenges is what I consider a triumph,” shared the Harid Conservatory student.
As for his advice to aspiring ballet dancers, he notes that it is important to block out the voice of naysayers to succeed. He is quick to point out that passion is also instrumental in achieving a fulfilling career.
“If you love it, go for it. But if there is a time when you know that you don’t want to do it anymore, don’t keep doing it. Dance requires you to love the art form. If you don’t love it, you won’t be happy.”
Very wise words, indeed. Well done on this remarkable achievement, Julian!
We wish you success in your future endeavours!
*Featured image sourced from The Star Online