BM dancer tops CCP Ballet Competition's senior category

BM dancer tops CCP Ballet Competition's senior category

Godwin Merano (center) receives his finalist certificate in the CCP Ballet Competition from Cultural Center of the Philippines VP and artistic director Chris Millado (right) and dance mentor and critic Basilio Esteban Villaruz. Photo by Osias Barroso

Ballet Manila newcomer Godwin Merano bagged the first prize in the Senior Category (Male) of the CCP Ballet Competition 2016 Saturday night, winning for his performance of Albrecht's variation from Giselle as his classical piece and Ernest Mandap's Bella Vita as his modern entry.

“I couldn't believe it. It was really a shock,” said Merano of the moment when his name was called as the first placer. “As cliché as it sounds, I couldn't believe it. Of course when competing, you want more than anything to win, but you also just want to do your best.”

Like the rest of the BM dancers who participated in the competition, Merano had been reminded by his mentors to concentrate on showcasing the training they have undergone with Ballet Manila.

“Teacher Shaz (Osias Barroso) told all of us competitors, it's not just about the prize and winning, it's about the experience and what you take out of the competition. It's about doing your absolute best and knowing that you danced well,” Merano said.

Originally from Canada, Merano had been on vacation in Manila almost a year ago and took class with Ballet Manila. He was a student at Canada's National Ballet School and previously, at the Nationale Balletacademie (The Dutch National Ballet Academy).

“His potential and promise was evident and he was willing to transfer to train exclusively with Ballet Manila, so we took him in as a trainee,” Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila artistic director, related.

A photo of Godwin's certificates from the CCP competition which he posted on Facebook, a day after his victory. Photo from Godwin Merano's Facebook page

“Godwin needed strengthening and performance experience and I believe that in less than a year, he has definitely improved so much, and this first place in the CCP Ballet Competition certainly validates it,” said Macuja-Elizalde.

When BM was preparing its video entries for the CCP competition earlier this year, Barroso said he decided to have Merano filmed as the dancer showed talent.

“He had several injuries in the course of his training and in preparing for this competition. But he has sincerity and dedication and was very willing to learn,” described Barroso.

Merano was eventually chosen as one of eleven finalists in the male division of the Senior Category.

Barroso said the Albrecht variation was a good choice for Merano as it highlighted his strengths. Ernest Mandap's choreography was said to be also well-suited to the dancer's long limbs and physique.

Having already performed in various BM productions, Merano will be seen next as the imposing Dancing Master in Lisa Macuja-Elizalde's Cinderella.

Merano's victory complements the awards won by Ballet Manila in the competition's Junior Category held Thursday night, with Nicole Barroso winning first prize and Brian Sevilla third prize.

AL Frederick Abraham of UP Dance Company placed second to Merano, and Matthew Davo of Philippine Ballet Third.  Abraham also won for best choreography.

In the female division, Irene Kim Abrogena of Philippine Ballet Theater was awarded second prize and Aisha Josephine Polestico of UP Dance Company placed third. No first prize winner was named.

Seven other BM dancers competed in the Senior Category: Rodney Catubay, Jayrald Magat, Jim Carlo Magat, Chriz Nouelle Nebril, Raymond Salcedo, Faith Nicolette Calingo and Jillian Christina Villanueva.

The CCP Ballet Competition 2016 jury was composed of Jae Keun Park, Jeng Halili, Mia Monica Mañosa, Melanie Motus and Raul Leopoldo Sauz.

Godwin (standing at the back, third from left) joins his Ballet Manila colleagues in this group picture with jury head Jae Keun Park. Flanking Mr. Park are Junior Category winners Brian Sevilla (third prize) and Nicole Barroso (first prize). Photo by Osias Barroso

Shoe talk with Ballet Manila's Cinderellas (Third of three parts)

Shoe talk with Ballet Manila's Cinderellas (Third of three parts)

BM junior dancers triumph at CCP Ballet Competition 2016

BM junior dancers triumph at CCP Ballet Competition 2016