Take two with Nicole Barroso

Take two with Nicole Barroso

Then and now: Nicole Barroso celebrates her AGP silver-medal win with her Teacher Shaz (Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso) in 2015 (left) and in 2016 (right). Both pictures were taken outside the Y-Theater in Hong Kong.

She did it again! Duplicating her win in the 2015 Asian Grand Prix, Ballet Manila second company member Nicole Barroso took home another silver medal this year from the international ballet competition, this time in the Junior A Division. Not only that, she romped off with two scholarships – one from the Elmhurst School for Dance Summer School and the other from the Shanghai Dance School.

The excitement and giddiness over her recent big night in Hong Kong have subsided and now, it’s back to work in the studio for Nicole. To mark this fourteener’s back-to-back AGP win, we sought her out for an interview where we asked her questions requiring not just one but two answers.

What two things did you pray for in joining this year’s competition?

Nicole Barroso dances the Harlequinade variation in the finals of the 2016 Asian Grand Prix’s Junior A Division. Photo courtesy of Asian Grand Prix

Una ko pong pinagdasal na sana bigyan Niya po kami ng mga co-dancers ko ng strength and grace, na sana gabayan po Niya ako at ilayo Niya po ako sa injury. Pangalawa po, sana po maging successful ang AGP ngayong year. (First, I prayed that He give us dancers strength and grace, that He would guide me and keep me away from injury. Second, that this year’s AGP would be successful.)

Did you do any of the dancer’s “rituals” before taking the stage, for good luck?

Nagma-mark po ako ng steps sa wings mula simula hanggang end ng sayaw ko. Mahilig din po ako mag-shake ng hands kasi parang nawawala po ‘yung kaba sa dulo ng fingers ko. (While in the wings, I marked my steps from the start to the end of my dance. Then I like shaking my hands because it seems like I’m able to get rid of the nervousness at the tip of my fingers.)

What were your scariest moments onstage at the AGP?

‘Yung lahat po sila nanood sa gilid at ‘yung pagkakita ko po ulit kay Sato Aoi – siya po ‘yung nag-gold medalist last year. (Knowing that everyone was watching from the sidelines and seeing Sato Aoi, last year’s gold medalist.)

What were the two most important reminders your Teacher Shaz (Osias Barroso) told you before competing?

Lagi niya po sinasabi na be accurate lang po; ‘wag naming isipin na porke’t nakaka-apat na pirouettes ‘yung isa eh hihigitan mo na. At ‘wag po manood sa mga naunang contestants. (He would always tell us to be accurate; for us not to think because others are doing four pirouettes, we should do more than that. And to not watch contestants who are ahead of us.)

What did you treat yourself to after winning in AGP?

Ang treat ko po sa sarili ko ay food. Kumain lang po ako nang kumain nu’ng binigyan po kami ng one-week break. At pag-uwi po ng Philippines, natulog po ako hanggang sa kaya ko po. (I treated myself to food. I just ate and ate when we were given a one-week break. When we went home to the Philippines, I also slept as much as I could.)

Who are your idols in Philippine ballet and why do you look up to them?

Of course, first, Ma’am Lisa Macuja-Elizalde (BM artistic director) because she’s super unselfish. She shares with Filipino dancers what she learned in Russia and supports the art of dancing here. Second, siyempre, si Sir Osias Barroso because he also shares the art of dancing with us and his many experiences in ballet and in his life. Very hands-on po siya sa aming lahat. Hindi siya nagsasawang mag-correct at ipaintindi ang ballet sa amin. (He’s very hands-on with all of us. He doesn’t get tired of correcting us and making us understand ballet.)

Among international ballet stars, who are your top two favorites?

Nicole rewarded herself for her AGP victory with two things: food and sleep. Photo by Jimmy Villanueva

Una po si Natalia Osipova. Napanood ko po ‘yung Kitri variation niya po sa YouTube, sobrang na-amaze po ako talaga dahil sa energy, artistry and technique. Kahit po sa Giselle niya, talagang nadala niya po ako. Second po ay si Mikhail Baryshnikov kasi siya po ‘yung dancer na hindi puro tricks kundi ‘yung whole performance po talaga ang ginagawa niya. (First is Natalia Osipova. I watched her Kitri variation on YouTube; I was really so amazed because of her energy, artistry and technique. Even with her performance as Giselle, she really touched me. Second is Mikhail Baryshnikov because he’s a dancer who’s not all tricks but excels in the whole performance.)

What two ballet steps do you like doing?

Pirouette from fourth position – it’s turning on one foot, with the other foot raised, touching the supporting knee. Tendu – extending and lengthening the leg on the floor.

What roles have you danced so far in a BM production that you enjoyed most?

Little Masha because that was my first lead role in a BM production and Little Red Riding Hood nu’ng Gold (anniversary concert) po ni Ma’am Lise.

What are your dream full-length roles and why would you like to dance these parts?

Kitri (Don Quixote) and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet). Kitri, kasi po gustong-gusto ko po ang energy niya, ang “YOLO” (you only live once) character niya po na parang wala nang bukas. At Juliet po dahil una po na-inspire ako sa Juliet nila Ate Joan (Emery Sia), Ate Katherine (Barkman) at Ate Abigail (Oliveiro) dahil sobrang bata po ng character at realistic po ang pag-portray nila. Full of love lang po ang role ni Juliet. (Kitri, because I enjoy her energy, her “YOLO” (you only live once) character that for her, it seems like there is no tomorrow. And Juliet because I was so inspired by the Juliet of (BM dancers) Joan Emery Sia, Katherine Barkman and Abigail Oliveiro because their portrayal of such a young character was so realistic. Juliet is just so full of love.)

Two Filipinos received summer school scholarships from the Elmhurst School of Dance in Birmingham, United Kingdom: Nicole Barroso of Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila (right) and John Edmar Sumera of Academy One Music and Dance Center (left). Photo courtesy of Asian Grand Prix

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