The onstage theater for the performing arts at Ayala Center Cebu overflowed with appreciative audiences on Nov. 7 and 8, when Balletcenter presented a full-length production of “Cinderella.”
The music is by Prokofiev with a special choreography devised by Nicolas Pacaña, coartistic director, with Gregory Aaron of Balletcenter, to suit the production design and accommodate as many young students as possible.
On opening night, welcoming guests at the entrance was Greg Aaron himself, with company director Josh Romayla, Baby Declaro, who handles the Balletcenter office at the 3rd level of Ayala Center, and Mariz Rallos, executive director of the Arts Council.
Filing in and finding their seats in the VIP section were Maia Franco with Sony Alonso, Amelia La O with Cielito Elliott, Tina Ebrada, Heidrun Graham, Monette Aliño and her sister Sony, the Marco Polo’s Tess Catipay and Lara Constantino who had a daughter in the cast, Chinggay Utzurrum with Terry Manguerra, and Cookie Newman with three grandchildren.
Before the curtain rose Greg Aaron addressed the audience to thank everyone for their presence and support. Also to mention the sponsors among which were the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, Julie’s Bakeshop, KEG Travel & Tours, Pacific Videco and more.
He also announced that Balletcenter will continue its outreach scholarship program teaching classical dance in various schools like the One World Montessori, and in barangay halls in and around Metro Cebu like Pasil, Subangdaku, Cambaro, Labangon and Lapu lapu.
They are gearing for the annual Summer Ballet Spectacle in May 2015. By then they will start casting and rehearsing for a full-length production of “Giselle” for November 2015.
Meanwhile here were “Cinderella” with Genette Terez in the title role and Mhynard Etis as Prince Charming. They were superb. At the end of the evening’s performance there was a rush to congratulate them and pose for photographs.
In special roles as the wicked step sisters were Nicolas Pacaña as Anastasia and Benjie Diola as Drusilla, names taken from the Walt Disney cartoon version. Stella Monteño was the step mother.
All three hammed it up in the spirit of camp, and registered enthusiastic applause. Delightful in the role of the fairy godmother was Maria Christine Borden. Just as exquisite were summer fairies Gisella Gandionco and Eliza Sumbi, winter fairies Ana Michelle Kesner and Rexcheld de los Santos, spring fairy Alyssa Laico, and autumn fairy Jamyma Aragon.
Carlo Padoga was great in the role of the court jester, while Darwin Evardo and Clinton Dignos alternated as the dance master.
“Cinderella” will be presented once more on Dec. 5 and 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the same venue, with what is expected to be larger audiences, the word of its excellence having spread all over town by now.
On Dec. 5 Alyssa Laico and Carlo Padoga will take the lead roles, while on Dec. 6 it will be the extremely beautiful Gisella Gandionco and dashingly handsome Ian Rocamora.
Stella, Nicolas and Benjie will repeat their step family roles, no doubt attracting a large segment of the audience.
‘Flower Drum Song,’ Steps’ Christmas concert
By then Benjie Diola will be in the thick of rehearsals for the Dec. 12-14 presentation of the Broadway hit “Flower Drum Song” as the annual dramatic offering of Colegio de la Inmaculada Conception.
On Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu is the Ayala Mall’s gala Christmas Concert. Featured are the Steps Dance Studio of Sofia Zobel Elizalde who is expected to come, and Omar Edwards, an international tap dancer from New York.
A matinee will be held at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, and two more shows on Dec. 7 at 4 and 7 p.m., we learn from Jaja Chiongbian Rama of Big Seed, involved in the promotion of this cultural event.