BALLET Manila’s (BM) four junior members made the Philippines proud at the recent Dance Open International Ballet Festival.
Held in St. Petersburg, Russia, the event invited top ballet schools to a week of master classes, concerts and professional ballet performances.
At the Young Stars Gala at Hermitage Theatre, the best dancers from various dance schools presented a diverse repertoire that covered classical variations, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop.
Not to be outdone, BM’s talents Nicole Barroso, Marinette Franco, Alvin Dictado and Joshua Enciso performed Gerardo Francisco’s “Tara Let’s,” a fun and frisky contemporary work that showed off the company’s characteristic high-octane energy and strong classical lines.
BM’s co-artistic director Osias Barroso said he chose a piece that was age-appropriate to show off the dancers’ natural exuberance.
After the show, the audience congratulated the dancers and their chaperone, Barroso, for their formidable technique and versatility in the contemporary and classical vocabularies.
During the master classes, BM’s dancers felt at home because the teachers taught the same Russian Vaganova technique imparted by BM’s faculty.
Teachers from other countries were impressed at the high standards of the Filipino dancers.
Barroso said that since January these dancers had been training for the Asian Grand Prix (AGP) this August in Hong Kong. Hence, they were in top shape for the Dance Open.
These dancers were selected not only for their talent but also for their discipline and speed in picking up and remembering choreography.
Nicole, 14, had won the silver medal in her age group at the AGP 2015. In that same competition, the lyrical Marinette, 16, was a finalist. Alvin and Joshua, both 15, exuded powerful stage presence and made good partners.
A highlight of their Russian trip was a visit to the Vaganova Academy and an exclusive tour of the museum led by Tatiana Alexandrovna Udalenkova, 81. She mentored BM’s artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde in her youth. She visited Manila several times to teach and coach BM.
Barroso said the festival affirmed that BM’s faculty was teaching the right things to its dancers.