Born in Singapore |
Having dreamt of a career in dance, Yvonne submitted her university application after a friend persuaded her to at least apply to the program she really wanted. Hotel and Catering Management was what she was planning to study but she got the good news that she was accepted into the dance department at York University. Yvonne explains how she was allowed to come, by herself, to Canada because, according to her parents, it was one of the ‘approved’ countries. Toronto allowed her to “achieve the unlikely” and become who she always thought she could be: a choreographer, presenter, curator, arts educator and artistic director.
Toronto as Home
This is Yvonne’s dance studio on Dovercourt Avenue where many of her dance works are created. Since the age of four she has been dancing and, after initially studying classical ballet under the Royal Academy of Dance’s syllabus, she is now a professional contemporary dance artist.
“Growing up, I was inspired by many of the American musicals, particularly was captivated by Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. I’m drawn to creating works and performing because it makes me feel whole.”
Yvonne is the founder and artistic director of Princess Productions that supports two divisions: “Tiger Princess Dance Projects” is for Yvonne’s activities as a performer, choreographer, arts educator and producer and “Dance Made in Canada / fait au Canada Festival” produces a biennial festival of contemporary Canadian dance works.
Connection with the Past
Yvonne’s aunt suspected that her husband, Yvonne’s uncle (who was very sick at that time), was having an affair with his nurse. In a rage her aunt bought this jade pendant, took it to a Bomoh (Medicine Man) to put a curse on it, and planned on giving the cursed pendant to the nurse as a “gift”. In the end her aunt had a change of heart, and decided to sell it to relatives. Her mother thought it would make a nice gift and, after making sure it had been taken back to the Bomoh to remove the curse, bought it for Yvonne. Just to make sure, she then took it to a Catholic priest to have it blessed. She still wasn’t convinced that even that was enough, so before she would let Yvonne wear it, she soaked it in holy water and stuck in the freezer for a few months!