Meet Elaine Margaret Reyes Lisondra and Giles Earvin Santos—they’re just two of more than 80 Filipino performers in HK Disneyland.
Lisondra, 25, has been with Disney for seven years. She performs the principal role of Spirit Bird in the “Festival of The Lion King” show in HKDL’s Adventureland.
“I grew up here,” said Lisondra, who started her dance career at 18 with HKDL as parade dancer.
Lisondra had formal jazz dance training when she was 16, and was exposed to ballet only when she enrolled in dance at the University of the Philippines College of Music.
Since she started dancing for Disney, Lisondra has taken on different roles, and even got the chance to work in Disneyland Paris for two and a half years. She moved back to HKDL to be closer to home.
As Spirit Bird, she appears in the scene when Simba and Nala sing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” performing a variety of aerial moves. Dressed in an angelic white costume, she appears to “fly” over the circular stage, adding to the scene’s romantic ambience.
Santos has also been with HKDL for seven years. His expertise? Stilts and bungee-cord dancing.
The former coach of the Mapua Pep Squad performs stunts on 2-ft jumping stilts, 3-ft still stilts or with a bungee cord as part of the park’s different parades. As Stilts Captain, Santos, 30, guards the safety of other dancers and has a say in the how the performance will be staged.
“My job is all about performing and making people happy,” he said.
“It’s the Disney culture,” added Lisondra. “They’re very friendly, they care about you and your career growth. Once they see your potential, they give you a chance.” Annelle S. Tayao