I discovered South-African born Val Delys-Stein on a television programme as Val Cheung-Chak. Married to a Mauritian, she was taking part on an Adult Education Course forwarded by the British Council to offer “anybody” the opportunity to dance.
A cross between Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda I was mesmerised by her performance. It was, at the time, the most important day of my young life.
At seventeen I had devoted my time to my studies, followed by lessons in accountancy and a job in the office at the Savannah Sugar Estate. I had passion for reading and cinema and my sport activities limited themselves to volleyball and table-tennis.
All that changed when I became a member of the Mauritius Production Club and discovered dance with West Side Story.
In very little time Val, had gathered local artists and was surrounded by Serge Constantin, for the décor, Philippe Ohsan for the music, Philippe Houbert for the acting, Philippe Lim photographer etc…for her productions of local themes Paul et Virginie or the last Dodo and numerous televised live programmes for the newly born M.B.C.
Mary David was at the time the “other” dance teacher in Mauritius teaching classical ballet. She offered me to partner her daughter Jane in her productions of Coppélia and the Sleeping Beauty. I then discovered a different style of dance.
Knowing that one is supposed to start dance at an early age this passion stayed a dream… until I was given a scholarship by the Ballet de la Jeunesse Romande in Lausanne, Switzerland.I was then 21 and did not need any more to ask for my father’s signature for a passport.