Ballet Manila dancer takes the silver in 2017 Asian Grand Prix

Ballet Manila dancer takes the silver in 2017 Asian Grand Prix

   Brian Ramos Sevilla won the silver medal in the Junior B category, receiving his award from jury member Ou Lu who is head of Ballet of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Photo by Eileen Lopez

Brian Ramos Sevilla won the silver medal in the Junior B category, receiving his award from jury member Ou Lu who is head of Ballet of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Photo by Eileen Lopez

Despite a sprained left leg, Brian Ramos Sevilla finished the final round of the 2017 Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong and emerged as the silver medalist in the international ballet competition's Junior B category.

Brian, a trainee of Ballet Manila, was also awarded scholarships to the Elmhurst Ballet School and the Houston Ballet Academy. He also received the Harlequin Floor Prize which provides partial financial assistance for travel expenses to all recipients of a scholarship.

"Hindi na po ako umasa na makaka-place ako dahil nga po sa paa ko. Pero sa awa naman po ng Diyos, naka-silver pa rin, kaya nagpapasalamat ako (I didn't expect to place anymore because of what happened to my leg. But with God's grace, I still got silver, so I am very thankful)," Brian said shortly after the awarding ceremony held August 12 at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

   Joshua Enciso placed fifth in the Senior category. Photo by Susan A. De Guzman

Joshua Enciso placed fifth in the Senior category. Photo by Susan A. De Guzman

Brian performed the Franz Variation. 

"Brian has the body for ballet, but more than that, I think it is the technique that made him and our dancers stand out," said Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso.

Ballet Manila 2 member Joshua Encisco meanwhile claimed the fifth place and Sansha Award in the Senior Category. He performed the Solor Variation from La Bayadere.

Sharing this year's top honors as recipients of the Youth Asian Grand Prix Award are Hyeji Kang of South Korea and Rench Isaac Soriano of the Philippines.

Also making it to the Finals round were Ballet Manila scholar Loraine Gaile Jarlega for Pre-Competitive 3, scholar Jos David Andes for Junior A, trainee Elyssabeth Apilado and BM 2 member Alvin Dictado for Junior B, and BM 2 members Shaira Comeros and Marinette Franco for the Senior category.

BM trainees Monique Valera, Fiona Delos Santos and John Carl Concepcion, and scholar Ashley Salonga, completed the Selection Round.

The dancers represented The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila.

Ballet Manila artistic director and CEO Lisa Macuja-Elizalde also participated as a member of the jury in the Pre-Competitive 2 category.

The prima ballerina said she was humbled by all the positive energy and comments she received from co-jury members about the quality, technique and style of Ballet Manila competitors.

“They said that our dancers knew everything about taking class properly, epaulment and proper ports de bras, holding turn out and highly held extensions with strong backs all with proper alignment. It is really heartwarming to hear this coming from the experts! Sticking to our principles of the Vaganova schooling is really paying off in these next generations of dancers!”

In the Asian Grand Prix, now on its seventh year, the dancers perform in competition but are also observed by jury members during classical and contemporary dance classes held throughout the week, from August 8 to 11, at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

"We want them to learn from new mentors and see how they also perform in class, not just in competition where they get to prepare for their variations for a long time. We are also looking at their attitude and their ability to learn from the teachers, which we believe are also important," said So Hon Wah, AGP chairperson, at a press conference.

At the awarding program, president of jury Garry Trinder offered valuable advice to the competitors. The director of the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington urged the dancers to give more focus to musicality particularly when taking classical classes, pay more attention to the basics in both classes and performances, and adhere to a "simple is better" guideline when it comes to make up. 

This year's Asian Grand Prix drew 340 participants, representing various ballet schools in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Russian Federation and the United States.

The week-long event also included a Winners' Gala with two shows on August 12 which featured Ballet Manila principal dancer and AGP 2015 Grand Prix winner Katherine Barkman and BM guest artist Joseph Phillips among the performers.

   Brian Ramos Sevilla, Silver Medalist, Junior B: Franz Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Brian Ramos Sevilla, Silver Medalist, Junior B: Franz Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Joshua Enciso, Fifth Place and Sansha Awardee, Senior: Solor Variation. Photo by MarBI Photography

Joshua Enciso, Fifth Place and Sansha Awardee, Senior: Solor Variation. Photo by MarBI Photography

   Loraine Gaile Jarlega, Finalist, Pre-Competitive 3: The Fairy Doll Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Loraine Gaile Jarlega, Finalist, Pre-Competitive 3: The Fairy Doll Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Jos David Andes, Finalist, Junior A: Franz Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Jos David Andes, Finalist, Junior A: Franz Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Elyssabeth Apilado, Finalist, Junior B: 3rd Shades Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Elyssabeth Apilado, Finalist, Junior B: 3rd Shades Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Alvin Dictado, Finalist, Junior B: La Fille Male Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Alvin Dictado, Finalist, Junior B: La Fille Male Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Shaira Comeros, Finalist, Senior: Sleeping Beauty Act 3 Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Shaira Comeros, Finalist, Senior: Sleeping Beauty Act 3 Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Marinette Franco, Finalist, Senior: Raymonda Tableau Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Marinette Franco, Finalist, Senior: Raymonda Tableau Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Monique Valera, Competitor, Junior A: Princess Florine Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Monique Valera, Competitor, Junior A: Princess Florine Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Fiona Delos Santos, Competitor, Junior B: Odalisque 2nd Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Fiona Delos Santos, Competitor, Junior B: Odalisque 2nd Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Ashley Salonga, Competitor, Junior B: 2nd Shades Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

Ashley Salonga, Competitor, Junior B: 2nd Shades Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   John Carl Concepcion, Competitor, Senior:     Prince Desiré Variation .      Photo by MarBi Photography

John Carl Concepcion, Competitor, Senior: Prince Desiré Variation. Photo by MarBi Photography

   Team Ballet Manila with co-artistic director Osias Barroso and ballet mistress Eileen Lopez at the send-off concert for Asian Grand Prix participants held August 5 at Star Theater. Photo by Giselle P. Kasilag

Team Ballet Manila with co-artistic director Osias Barroso and ballet mistress Eileen Lopez at the send-off concert for Asian Grand Prix participants held August 5 at Star Theater. Photo by Giselle P. Kasilag

Rudolph Capongcol: Prince of tights

Rudolph Capongcol: Prince of tights

Grace and strength: Katherine Barkman as Ibong Adarna

Grace and strength: Katherine Barkman as Ibong Adarna