Ballet Manila bags silver and best dance artist awards from Vietnam festival
Ballet Manila received a silver prize for Gerardo Francisco’s Muro-Ami and the Best Dance Artist award for Nicole Barroso in the International Dance Festival 2017 held in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam.
The awards, given during the event’s closing program on September 22, came as a pleasant surprise to the Ballet Manila delegation whose members were unaware that the festival was also a competition among the participating groups and performers.
Delegation head and BM rehearsal master Jonathan Janolo told Vietnamese media he was happy about the awards. “Because these kids worked hard for the dance pieces we brought to the festival,” he said.
The BM contingent was composed of dancers Elyssabeth Apilado, Nicole Barroso, Shaira Comeros, Marinette Franco, Monique Valera, John Ralph Balagot, Rodney Catubay, John Carl Concepcion, Alvin Dictado, Joshua Enciso, Rafael Perez and Raymond Salcedo, and lighting director Jimmy Villanueva.
Back home, Muro-Ami choreographer Gerardo Francisco expressed shock over the news as he also did not know the festival doubled as a competition. “I’m so proud because it was danced by Ballet Manila’s junior company,” he said, adding in jest, “Kung alam ko lang na competition, sana mas ginandahan ko pa (If I had known it was a competition, I would have enhanced it more).”
BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and co-artistic director Osias Barroso congratulated Janolo and the team for a job “well done.”
“BM 2 did a very good job representing BM and our country!” enthused Barroso.
Janolo said he was satisfied that the dancers had given good performances in the week-long festival as they always got animated applause after each number.
“The festival was a bit informal. Even if it was held in a theater, people could just come and go. But during our performances, the audience would stay and watch us,” Janolo related.
Aside from Muro-Ami, the group’s two other numbers were Sayaw sa Pamlang by Agnes Locsin and the Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux for which Nicole Barroso got her award. She was partnered by Joshua Enciso.
“Unexpected things are the best. I am very blessed and grateful to be awarded as The Best Dance Artist in the International Dance Festival here in Vietnam,” Barroso posted on her Facebook account.
The young ballerina has been reaping honors in competitions, winning back-to-back silver medals in the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong in 2015 and 2016 and the gold in the CCP Ballet Competition’s junior category in 2016. Last August, she attended a workshop at the Elmhurst School for Dance Summer School in England, one of her scholarship prizes from the AGP last year.
Aside from Barroso, two other performers received the Best Dance Artist award – Nguyen Van Nam of Vietnam and Lu Peng of China.
The International Dance Festival 2017 was jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Department of Performing Arts and the Vietnam Dancing Artists’ Association to provide a venue for dance artists to show off their talents and learn from their colleagues while also introducing their cultural values to international peers.
The festival drew the participation of more than 500 dance artists and 25 dance troupes from 15 countries including China, Egypt, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the host Vietnam.
Nearly 100 numbers were performed during the event, comprised of folk dance, traditional dance, contemporary dance and ballet.
From among those numbers, the organizers handed out ten gold and twenty silver awards to outstanding dance performances.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts coordinated the participation of Ballet Manila in the International Dance Festival in Vietnam and also in the Days of Philippine Culture in Russia later this month.