Ballet Manila welcomes new PBF scholars
Continuing its mission of finding the next generation of dance talents, Ballet Manila welcomes 31 public school children as scholars under its Project Ballet Futures program.
The scholars consist of 17 girls and 14 boys from P. Burgos Elementary School, Gotamco Elementary School, P. Zamora Elementary School and Andres Bonifacio Elementary School.
The four schools are located in Pasay City, in the vicinity of the Ballet Manila studios.
The scholars will have their first formal training on February 13, after regular school hours. They will then undergo evaluation on March 25 and proceed to the BM summer workshop in April and May.
BM rehearsal mistress Eileen Lopez visited the four schools in January to conduct auditions for interested participants.
Aside from body proportions suited to ballet, Lopez checked the students’ flexibility and turnout, the latter referring to the rotation of the leg from the hips that causes the knee and foot to turn outward.
Many of the students who auditioned are said to be members of dance groups or have gymnastics background in their schools.
The selected scholars, along with their parents, were subsequently invited to the BM studio for an orientation about the PBF program.
The 31 scholars are: (P. Burgos Elementary School) Janna Ariguin, Nalla Charmaine Bautista, Alexandra Jelie Cebedo, Micaella Eunice Claro, Robie Cubar, Nicole Grace Dizon, Iris Ferrer, Angelou Gamayon; (P. Zamora Elementary School) Hannah Mae Belleza, Jewelz Clemente, Elaiza Mae Famorcan, Francheska Eunella Nogar, John Stanley Alamer, Marlowe McKenzie Concepcion ; Juan Angelo De Leon, Isaish Rice Paygane, Ian Jace Sunlayan;
(Gotamco Elementary School) Karylle Ann Datu, Melanie Dicdican, John Lester Figueroa, Franco Gelen; (Andres Bonifacio Elementary School) Gian Nathalie Francisco, Althea Galang, Joliah Silva, Gianna Felicity Valondo, Pedro Buenvenida III, Germaine Dawal, John Sixto Dones, Rhayne Gomez, Johyvyll Jacilo and Mark Raine Llamas.
Formally launched in 2008, Project Ballet Futures is a dance scholarship program that provides free ballet education to public elementary and high school students. Scholars undergo training in The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila, the educational arm of Ballet Manila and a respected learning center for classical ballet that aims to develop, nurture and produce highly skilled dance artists.
To help these young dancers master the athletic nature of their training and achieve their full potential, they are provided with meals, a glass of milk and vitamin supplements six days a week.
Under the leadership of BM artistic director and school directress Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and BM co-artistic director Osias Barroso, PBF scholars are introduced to the rigorous Russian Vaganova method which develops the body and the mind.
Among the notable achievers under the PBF program are Jessa Balote and Rissa May Camaclang who are now both BM company artists.
Balote was a 4th placer in the 2015 Asian Grand Prix and a finalist in the 1st CCP National Ballet Competition in 2014. She was named Discovery of the Year in 2013 and Best in Classical Dance in 2015 by the Aliw Awards. She has been featured in international media outlets such as CNN and BBC.
Camaclang was a silver medalist at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong in 2013, a bronze medalist at the 1st CCP National Ballet Competition in 2014 and was the youngest company artist accepted in a professional company in the Philippines.