As part of the collaboration between The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts‘ School of Dance and the Akram Khan Company in the 2021/22 academic year, eight final year students from the School of Dance were selected after three rounds of rigorous online auditions to participate in a seven-week internship in London. The internship started in late January, as the fifth wave of the pandemic swept through Hong Kong.
Coping with much uncertainty arising from Hong Kong’s Covid restrictions and constant changes in travelling regulations, the students began their internship online before travelling to London for the remaining five weeks. They were assigned to understudy particular roles in one of the Akram Khan Company’s latest productions, Jungle Book Reimagined. Despite the new environment and intense rehearsals posing many challenges to the students, they all engaged fully in a professional company environment, made swift progress and equipped themselves to be ready as professional dance artists.
Two of the students, Yam Wing-nam and Jan Mikaela Bautista Villanueva, were selected to attend the three-week production residency and the world premiere in Leicester. Mikaela’s excellent performance earned her a place as a guest artist at the world premiere and a contract with the Akram Khan Company as a professional dancer.