BM soloists in Melbourne shows, Singapore classes

BM soloists in Melbourne shows, Singapore classes

Teacher Abigail (front, seventh from left) with one of her classes at an intensive dance workshop she conducted for The School of Dance, Singapore.

Ballet Manila soloists Abigail Oliveiro and Mark Sumaylo participated in a sold-out benefit concert in Melbourne, Australia that raised funds for Frontline Foundation.

On vacation last May in Melbourne where Abigail is from, the two dancers were invited earlier on to perform in the event by director Venchito “Chito” Javier.

They agreed as they believe in supporting worthy causes while also sharing their talents. The pair performed two pieces which they collaborated on, dancing to Say You Won't Let Go by James Arthur and Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.

Mark leads one of the Lyrical classes at the Singapore workshop.

The concert, titled Acts of Love, also featured three singers – Herbert Fangon (former member of the Meralco Choir), Claudette Centeno Calixto (ABS-CBN Davao personality) and Michelle Padua (currently enrolled at the Young Australian Broadway Chorus, Stage School Australia).

Frontline Foundation is a non-profit international aid organization dedicated to empowering less-privileged people in regions of the world that need support, one community at a time, to achieve sustainable livelihood. 

The Acts of Love artists promoted the concert during a guesting on Hoy Pinoy, a one-hour radio program, geared mainly for the Filipino community in Melbourne.

“Because of Acts of Love, another set of people offered us to participate in a bigger show next year, for the celebration of Philippine Independence Day there,” shares Abigail.

While in Melbourne, she and Mark also performed at the St. Catherine's Aged Care Facility where Abigail’s father, Cedric Oliveiro, works. They had visited the senior facility last year and also danced for the residents.

“This year, they were asked if they wanted to do physical activity or watch ballet on a certain day and they all voted for the latter. We were so happy to do it,” says Abigail.

Abigail gets a surprise birthday cake from aunt June Lee, director of The School of Dance, Singapore, and her husband Jeff Macpherson.

She and Mark danced to Amazing Grace, which they also choreographed. They were subsequently featured in the facility’s newsletter. “Abigail and Mark danced for us last year for the first time and every­one agreed that we are fortunate indeed to be offered an opportuni­ty to see first class ballet at such close quarters,” the report reads.

After their trip to Australia, the two headed to Singapore where Abigail had been invited by The School of Dance director, June Lee, to conduct a four-day intensive dance workshop. Abigail taught classes in Classical Ballet, Conditioning, Repertoire and Jazz.

Mark was enlisted to lead some of the sessions as well, joining Abigail for Classical Ballet and holding Lyrical classes for girls of various ages.

The response to the workshop was reportedly so good that the pair had a packed schedule from Wednesday to Saturday, with the day starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m. On Sunday, they still had a half-day schedule before flying back to Manila.

Both Abigail and Mark also choreographed for the various classes, with the former finishing three classical solos and a jazz solo and the latter doing four lyrical solos and a lyrical duo for competition.

“It was very challenging, but also quite fulfilling,” notes Abigail, who also had one of her most memorable birthdays when her students surprised her with a cake and singing to her.

“What a fruitful week! A big thank you to TSOD for such a wonderful experience,” Mark posted on Facebook after their Singapore teaching stint.

Both dancers also expressed gratitude that Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde had given them permission to undertake their dance-related activities in Melbourne and in Singapore.

Invited by director Chito Javier onstage after their performance in Acts of Love, Mark Sumaylo and Abigail Oliveiro take the chance to talk about Ballet Manila.

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