BM junior dancers triumph at CCP Ballet Competition 2016
By Susan A. De Guzman
Ballet Manila made a near-sweep of the CCP Ballet Competition’s Junior Category Thursday night, with Nicole Barroso bagging the first prize and Brian Sevilla the third prize and Joshua Enciso, Marinette Franco, Barroso and Sevilla also being awarded ballet scholarship grants abroad.
BM principal artist Gerardo Francisco also received the Trudl Dubsky Zipper Award for Choreography for his contemporary piece Ili-Ili which was interpreted by Enciso.
The second prize went to Michaella Carreon of Philippine Ballet Theater who, incidentally, enrolled in two summer intensive programs under BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.
“The quality of the training that we give our students truly prepares them to meet the exacting standards of local and international jurors,” said a jubilant Macuja-Elizalde after the competition that had 35 finalists from all over the company vying for the top honors.
BM co-artistic director Osias Barroso added, “I am truly proud of the Ballet Manila culture, mindset, Vaganova schooling and training.”
Interviewed just before the competition started, Barroso said, “The dancers are ready. Their training has prepared them for this.”
The victory, however, had a sobering undertone as earlier in the competition, BM dancer Abiegail Bonifacio was injured during her classical variation performance, to the shock of the audience at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of CCP. She was immediately rushed to the hospital and was found to have suffered a broken tibia.
“I am feeling mixed emotions right now,” said Macuja-Elizalde. “My heart aches for Abby Bonifacio. And it soars for Nicole, Brian, Joshua, Marinette and Gerardo and of course Osias Barroso and the entire organization that is Ballet Manila.”
Nicole Barroso expressed surprise when she was announced as the top winner by Mr. Jae Keun Park, head of the jury.
Nicole said backstage after the awards rites, “Hindi na po ako nag-expect talaga dahil hindi ko rin po na-nail ang classical variation ko, ‘Yung mabigyan lang po ako ng scholarship napakasaya ko na po. Pero lalo pong masaya siyempre nu’ng nanalo kasi lahat ng hirap may kinalabasan. (I didn’t expect to win anymore because I didn’t nail my classical variation. I was already so happy to get the scholarship, but I was happier of course when I won because all the hard work has paid off.)”
The young ballerina was referring to a slight fumble towards the end of her well-executed classical routine from Paquita. She went on to give a solid performance for her contemporary piece, Broken Wings, another choreography by Gerardo Francisco.
Nicole just won a silver medal at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong last August, her second such win at the annual international ballet competition. She was also awarded scholarship grants then from the Elmhurst School for Dance Summer School and the Shanghai Dance School.
Francisco, who was won several awards for choreography, said he was happy with his win for Ili-Ili. Using an Ilonggo lullaby sung by the folk group Asin, his piece is meant to convey a son’s longing for the love of his mother.
“I dedicate this piece to my mother. Siya ang inspirasyon ko kaya ko nagawa ang concept na ito. (She was my inspiration in doing this concept),” said Francisco.
Special prizes at the CCP Ballet Competition were announced by Mr. Park who is the president of the Korea Ballet Foundation and president of the Korea International Ballet Competition.
Nicole Barroso and Marinette Franco received one-month ballet scholarships in Korea and will be sponsored to compete in the Shanghai International Ballet Competition.
Brian Sevilla and Joshua Enciso received scholarships in Korea as well, and will be sponsored to compete in the Seoul International Ballet Competition.
Ballet Manila’s finalists in the competition’s Junior Category also included Ana Katharina Andes, Elyssabeth Apilado, Precious Bacolod, Shaira May Comeros, John Carl Concepcion, Kayla Ann Coseteng, Natasha Danielle De Guzman, Alvin Dictado and Monique Valera.
Meanwhile, eight other BM dancers are set to compete in the Senior Category on Saturday, November 19. They are: Rodney Catubay, Jayrald Magat, Jim Carlo Magat, Godwin Merano, Chriz Nouelle Nebril and Raymond Salcedo in the Male Division and Faith Nicolette Calingo and Jillian Christina Villanueva in the Female Division.
The CCP Ballet Competition 2016 jury is composed of Jae Keun Park, Jeng Halili, Mia Monica Mañosa, Melanie Motus and Raul Leopoldo Sauz.