Ballet Manila boys sweep junior honors in CCP competition
By Susan A. De Guzman
Photos by Giselle P. Kasilag
Three young danseurs of Ballet Manila claimed the top three spots in the junior male category of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Ballet Competition 2018.
Brian Sevilla, Rafael Perez and Alvin Dictado – members of Ballet Manila’s junior company – claimed first prize, second prize and third prize, respectively, in awarding ceremonies held after the competition at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino Thursday night.
The sweep confirms Ballet Manila’s reputation as the home and breeding ground of strong, classically trained danseurs under the main tutelage of BM co-artistic director Osias Barroso, acclaimed during his dancing years as the “Ballerina’s Prince”.
An emotional Barroso congratulated the winning trio backstage, saying it was the best outcome that could have resulted from months of intensive preparation for the competition.
“Competitions are very subjective, but we always tell our dancers to perform like they are not competing but to show what they can do based on their training,” Barroso said.
The three dancers, who received cash prizes and certificates, each performed a classical variation and a contemporary piece as follows: Sevilla – Siegfried variation, Swan Lake Act 3, and Takwil; Perez – Basilio variation, Don Quixote wedding scene, and Ka Andres; Dictado – Albrecht variation, Giselle Act 2, and Pi-Ang.
The contemporary pieces were all choreographed by BM principal dancer and resident choreographer Gerardo Francisco.
In a Facebook post, Sevilla expressed his gratitude “to the people who supported and believed in me,” citing BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and mentors Barroso, Eileen Lopez, Jonathan Janolo and Sofia Peralta. He also thanked Francisco for the contemporary piece that he performed.
Because he admittedly felt wobbly in his classical variation, Sevilla said in an interview that he determined to do better in the contemporary round. “I told myself I’d dance my very, very best in my modern piece.”
In Takwil, as the boy thrown out of the house – bag, shoes and all – Sevilla performed with such anguished energy that some members of the audience couldn’t help but clap even if it was forbidden to do so.
For Sevilla and Perez, the CCP honors follow an already significant showing at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong last August where the former won the gold and the latter the silver in their respective categories.
Shortly after returning from the AGP, both admitted they were feeling the pressure to do well in the CCP Competition.
It has been a winning year for Sevilla who also landed third place in pas de deux (with fellow BM 2 dancer Shaira Comeros) at the Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD) International Dance Competition in Bangkok, Thailand last February.
Sevilla also won silver at the Asian Grand Prix in 2017 and bronze at the CCP Ballet Competition 2016.
Dictado, meanwhile, had been cited as honorable mention in the ATOD competition, along with Elyssabeth Apilado who competed Thursday night in the female category.
He was also a finalist in AGP 2017.
In the junior female category, the winners were: Pia Angela Custodio, first prize; Sabine Nicole Burket, second prize; and Lormaigne Hannelore Bockmuhl, third prize.
The Trudl Dubsky Zipper Award for Choreography was awarded to John Abando for Happy Thoughts which was interpreted by Jos David Andes.
Ballet Manila was represented by nine male dancers and six female dancers in the CCP competition’s junior category.
Aside from Sevilla, Perez and Dictado, BM’s male competitors were: John Carl Concepcion, Ian Gabriel Delos Reyes, Carl Daniel Doromal, Eduardson Evangelio, Emmerson Evangelio and Florante Joshue Oliva.
The female competitors were: Elyssabeth Apilado, Precious Jem Bacolod, Fiona Belle Delos Santos, Loraine Gaile Jarlega, Ysabelle Ashley Salonga and Monique Valera.
The CCP Ballet Competition, first staged in November 2014 and held every two years, showcases the country’s best dance talents in junior and seniors categories.
This year’s senior category will be presented on November 17, with four Ballet Manila dancers competing: Pia Carmina Romo, Angelika Joie Tagupa, Jefferson Balute and Joshua Rey Enciso.
The competition’s jury is composed of: Qi Huan, ballet tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance; Myra Beltran, independent Philippine contemporary dance pioneer; Mia Monica Mañosa, formerly with the Atlanta Ballet; Melanie Motus, former principal dancer of Philippine Ballet Theater and former soloist of Ballet Manila; and Raul Leopoldo Sauz, formerly with Dance Concert Company and Dance Theatre Philippines.