The Claravall School of Dance recital at the Cultural Center of the Philippines recently was an unexpected treat to the parents and guests who came.
It was unlike the regular recitals one goes to where the numbers show one or a group by levels, or where parents are barely able to find their children in the sea of dancers rendering the same number. From dance performance, quality, choreography, stage sets, music editing, lights, costumes.
It was a production! “We had a wonderful time awed by the backdrop and sets …so creative,” said Sr. Lydia Lascano, ICM, head of Queen of Peace Convent.
The theater was filled from orchestra to the balcony sections. The audience capacity was filled up to Balcony 2 just like “Cats.” “It was not an ordinary recital,” said Sylvia Lichauco, director of Lola Grande Foundation.
The first part presented dances inspired by various countries, including Argentina Tango, Flamenco, French and Character Dancing, Neo Classical and Modern. It opened with an impressive Argentina Tango suite in ballet where the dancers expressively moved in harmony with their partners.
In the next suite of dances, younger children gleefully showed off their newly learned ballet steps expressed in Broadway-inspired music.
Students from pre-primary to the highest levels wowed their parents and theater-goers with their rendition of the different dances they participated in. They were part of the fabric of the “Magic Carpet” story (Marilinda Claravall’s creation and choice of music) presented in Part II of the recital.
“The Magic Carpet,” a full-length ballet suite, is about a typical pampered girl’s dream of happiness that she thought she would find in other places other than at home with her parents.
No less than Miguel Faustmann played the role of genie to Abby (Abby Evans), a ballet student from the British School Manila. He took her from one “land of happiness to another” on the magic carpet where she met so many people and would be friends she thought she could live with.
Alas! They were not meant for her. Home was where she would find all these.
In each of these places, her students of various levels included her advanced students and company-level dance protégés like Joanna Galeste (Queen of Angels), who is now a soloist at the Philippine Ballet Theater; Kim Abrogena (lead star angel), the only Filipina invited to participate in the recent RAD Genee International Ballet Competition in Auckland where she made it to semifinals; Stella Acuin (Middle Earth’s Queen Bird); Kazumi Shimabara (Sea Queen of Blue Atlantis); and Bianca de Guzman (Queen Flower).
The production also brought in the Cavite ballet scholars trained by Breshnev Larlar’s Teatro Baile de Cavite; and the Philippine Ballet Theater’s Bianca Trocino and Stephen Canete, who played Abby’s parents.
The show would not have gone the way it did with brilliant lighting and sets if she did not have the support of her regular production team—Lito Borromeo (lights director); Larry Salomia (stage manager); Mico Gregorio (technical assistant and assistant stage manager), who all did a wonderful job in the sets and lights.
Claravall managed to put in her students from the Parañaque studio and British School Manila and practically wove them seamlessly together with 15 guest performers from the Davao ballet school of fellow RAD teacher Irma Aguado.
Marilinda Claravall’s student recitals had left the ordinary student-recital concept behind and pleasantly surprised and impressed the audience. Her show was also a testament to both children and parents as it demonstrated how commitment and dedication to the craft could develop not only discipline, stage presence, confidence, and bring out talents, but also produce tomorrow’s ballet soloists.